Sustainable Health Activities Research Program


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Michelle Segar, Associate Research Scientist, IRWG
Steering Committee : 
  • Alison Miller, Professor of Health Behavior and Health Education in
  • Dina Hafez Griauzde, Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine


  • Mark Fendrick, Director of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design and Professor of Internal Medicine
  • Kendrin Sonneville, Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences

While improvements in healthy behaviors, such as regular physical activity, eating in healthy ways, and getting sufficient sleep, improve physical and mental health and greater well-being there is little evidence about how to promote healthy behaviors in ways that are sustainable. Yet without sustainable behavior change, any improvements that are achieved cannot be maintained. One reason that achieving lasting changes in healthy behavior has remained elusive might be that many theories and the majority of research treat healthy behaviors as if they exited in a vacuum, absent of gender role pressures cultural norms, such as weightism, stigma and structural barriers that inhibit self-care more generally.

The Sustainable Health Activities Research Program aims to create an interdisciplinary community of scholars whose work on behavior change pertains to boosting the health and well- being of individuals, communities, organizations, and our greater society in sustainable ways. This program aims to feature speakers and cultivate new programs of research that explore emerging science from across disciplines relevant for cultivating sustainable health-related behavior change across diverse populations and settings. Of specific interest to our program is how this science can be translated into interventions in ways that can strategically and effectively address barriers related to gender norms and pressures.

This faculty-led program seeks to become the UM hub for developing ideas and research that can be translated into innovative and meaningful tools, strategies, and interventions that address the unique barriers different populations face across the lifespan in creative, comprehensive, and positive ways. Because behavior change is a focus across numerous different research areas, our translational focus and programming targeting sustainable health-related activities and behaviors is novel and should attract diverse faculty from across campus.

Proposed program area activities include hosting discussion panels and expert speakers, and hands-on ‘translation workshops’ where our group discusses how to translate research to create novel intervention strategies. New research projects and proposals are expected to germinate from this multidisciplinary community.