Brian J. Zikmund-Fisher, Ph.D.
- Associate Professor, Health Behavior & Health Education
- Research Associate Professor, Internal Medicine (General Medicine)
- 3834 SPH I
- 1415 Washington Heights
- Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-2029
Dr. Zikmund-Fisher uses his interdisciplinary background in decision psychology and behavioral economics to study factors that affect individual decision making about a variety of health and medical issues, with a particular emphasis on health and environmental risk perceptions and the effects of poor numeracy (people's ability to interpret quantitative information) on health and medical decision making. His research in health communications focuses on making risk statistics, test results, and other types of quantitative health information meaningful and useful for decision making by patients and the public.
Dr. Zikmund-Fisher's past projects have included a multi-year award from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to develop and test novel ways of displaying laboratory test results in patient portals of electronic health record systems, a National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) award titled the Community Perceptions of Dioxins (CPOD) Study, the National Survey of Medical Decisions (the DECISIONS study) project, an American Cancer Society award regarding the development and testing of visual displays of risk, and several projects examining how patient testimonials influence risk perceptions and decision making.
Dr. Zikmund-Fisher teaches graduate courses that focus on enabling students to communicate health and science information clearly and memorably. He is also working with several collaborators to explore the use of improvisational theater games as tools for building health and science communication skills. Dr. Zikmund-Fisher is an Associate Director of the UM Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine (CBSSM) and a core faculty member of the UM Health Informatics program. He also serves as an Associate Editor for the journal Medical Decision Making.
- PUBHLTH510: Communication Fundamentals
- HBEHED661: Designing Sticky Communications for Health Advocacy, Education, and Mass Media
- HBEHED662: Risk Communication: Theory, Techniques, and Applications in Health
- Ph.D., Behavioral Decision Theory, Carnegie Mellon University, 2002
- M.A., Behavioral Decision Making and Economics, Carnegie Mellon University, 1997
- B.A., Economics (Minor: Psychology), Swarthmore College, 1991
Research Interests & Projects
- Design of health communication messages
- Medical decision making
- Risk communication (health, medical, and/or environmental)
- Graphical methods for communicating risk and other quantitative data
- Survey research methods (esp. web-based survey experiments)
- Experimental research
- Cancer screening decisions
- Cancer survivorship
- Communications about genetic test results
- Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Scherer AM, Witteman HO, Solomon J, Exe NL, Tarini BA, Fagerlin
A. Graphics help patients distinguish between urgent and non-urgent deviations in laboratory
test results. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association 2017;24(3):520-528
- Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Kullgren JT, Fagerlin A, Klamerus ML, Bernstein SJ, Kerr EA. Perceived barriers to implementing individual Choosing Wisely® recommendations in two national surveys of primary care providers. Journal of General Internal Medicine 2017;32(2):210-7.
- Scherer LD, Caverly TJ, Burke J, Zikmund-Fisher BJ, Kullgren JT, Steinley D, McCarthy
D, Roney M, Fagerlin A. Development of the Medical Maximizer-Minimizer Scale. Health Psychology 2016;35(11):1276-1287.
- Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Exe, N. L., Witteman, H. O. (2014). Numeracy and literacy independently predict patients’ ability to identify out-of-range
test results.Journal of Medical Internet Research 16(8):e187.
- Zikmund-Fisher, B. J. (2013). The right tool is what they need, not what we have: a taxonomy of appropriate levels of precision in patient risk communication.Medical Care Research and Review 70(1 suppl):37S-49S.
- Shaffer, V. A., Zikmund-Fisher, B. J. (2013). All stories are not alike: A purpose-, content-, and valence-based taxonomy of patient narratives in decision aids. Medical Decision Making 33(1):4-13.
- Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Turkelson, A. E., Franzblau, A., Diebol, J. K., Allerton, L.
A., Parker, E. A. (2012). The effect of misunderstanding the chemical properties of environmental contaminants
on exposure beliefs: A case involving dioxins. Science of the Total Environment 447:293-300.
- Fagerlin, A., Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Ubel, P. A. (2011). Helping patients decide: ten steps to better risk communication. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 103(19):1436-1443.
- Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Dickson, M., Witteman, H. O. (2011). Cool but counterproductive: interactive web-based communications can backfire. Journal of Medical Internet Research 13(3):e60.
- Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Couper, M. P., Singer, E., Levin, C., Fowler Jr, F. J., Ziniel, S., Ubel, P. A., Fagerlin, A. (2010). The DECISIONS Study: A nationwide survey of United States adults regarding 9 common medical decisions. Medical Decision Making 30:20S-34S.
- Zikmund-Fisher, B. J., Smith, D. M., Fagerlin, A., Ubel, P. A. (2007). Validation of the subjective numeracy scale (SNS): Effects of low numeracy on comprehension of risk communications and utility elicitations. Medical Decision Making 27(5):663-671.
- Society for Medical Decision Making