Sarah Elizabeth Gollust
Assistant Professor of Public Health, Division of Health Policy and Management, University of Minnesota School of Public Health
420 Delaware Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455
Areas of Expertise & Civic InvolvementsGollust is a social scientist studying the intersections of communication, politics, and health policy. Her work examines the processes through which health information gets translated into the media, shapes public attitudes and opinions, and influences the health policy process. By describing the political, social, ethical, and psychological factors that moderate this process – and often pose as barriers – her research yields insight into how communication to the public and policymakers can be more effective. She has applied this research approach to several important public health challenges, including policies to address obesity, health disparities, the Affordable Care Act, and cancer screening and prevention. She weaves this expertise into her teaching in public health ethics and health policy analysis. Since 2010, she has shared her work with several advocacy groups and policymakers in Minnesota and has presented for two national Institute of Medicine working groups.
SSN Key Findings, February 2016
SSN Key Findings, February 2015
"The Content and Effect of Politicized Health Controversies" (with Erika Franklin Fowler). The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 658, no. 1 (2015): 155-171.
Describes the implications of two public health cases for which significant political controversy has emerged in recent years: mammography screening and the HPV vaccine.
"First Impressions: Geographic Variation in Media Messages During the First Phase of ACA Implementation" (with Colleen L. Barry, Jeff Niederdeppe, Laura Baum, and Erika Franklin Fowler). Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law 39, no. 6 (2014): 1253-1262.
Presents the results of a comprehensive content analysis of local televised media (news and advertisements) during the first phase of Affordable Care Act implementation.
"Understanding Public Resistance to Messages about Health Disparities" (with Joseph N. Cappella). Journal of Health Communication 104, no. 5 (2014): 847-853.
Investigates the mechanisms through which people filter messages about health disparities through their partisan and ideological inclinations.
"Framing the Consequences of Childhood Obesity to Increase Public Support for Obesity Prevention Policy" (with Jeff Niederdeppe and Colleen L. Barry). American Journal of Public Health 103, no. 11 (2013): 96-102.
Presents evidence for how messages about the consequences of childhood obesity, particularly the consequences on the U.S. military workforce, affects public attitudes about the problem of obesity and how to address it.
"Who Deserves Health Care? Effects of Causal Attributions and Group Cues on Public Attitudes about Responsibility for Health Care Costs" (with Julia Lynch). Journal of Health Politics, Policy, and Law 36, no. 6 (2011): 1061-1095.
Evaluates how signals about racial- and class-group membership as well as causal attributes for disease shape public attitudes about deservingness for financial support of health care.
"The Polarizing Effect of News Media Messages about the Social Determinants of Health" (with Paula M. Lantz and Peter A. Ubel). American Journal of Public Health 99, no. 12 (2009): 2160-2167.
Describes how messages about the social determinants of health – focusing on type 2 diabetes –lead to divergent responses among political partisans.
Sarah Elizabeth Gollust quoted on the media’s role in stigmatizing health conditions in John-Manuel Andriote, "Curing Diabetes: How Type 2 Became an Expected Lifestyle" The Atlantic, February 8, 2012.
Talks and Briefings
"Evidence-Based Communication Strategies to Improve Social Determinants of Health: Opportunities and Challenges," (with Jeff Niederdeppe), Communicating to Advance the Public’s Health, Irvine, CA, September 2014.