Dean John Finnegan

Dean Finnegan’s faculty page
Dean Finnegan’s LinkedIn page

John R. Finnegan Jr., has guided the University of Minnesota School of Public Health, one of the leading schools in the nation, since 2005. Working with division heads, associate deans, faculty, staff and alumni, Dean Finnegan has advanced the school as a leader in research, education, e-learning, and community-engaged partnerships, and prepared it to meet the health challenges that will shape the world of 2030 and beyond.

During Dean Finnegan’s tenure, the school’s faculty has increased more than 40 percent and the number of its graduate and professional students has more than doubled. He believes that the school’s impact on the future of health in Minnesota and around the world is anchored both in its research and also in the education of next generation health professionals and scientists. As Dean, he draws on the University’s land-grant tradition emphasizing collaboration, intelligent risk-taking, support and reward of achievement, and effective decision-making.

While working on his PhD in Mass Communication in the 1980s at the University of Minnesota, Dean Finnegan joined the Minnesota Heart Health Program in the School of Public Health to work as a media writer and producer of community health promotion campaigns. In 1985, he joined the faculty in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, where he developed a research focus on health information campaigns and the role of mass media in health behavior and social change.

A true believer in community service, he currently is Chair of the Board of Children’s Heart Link, Minneapolis, MN; and is a board member of HealthPartners Research and Education Institute, Bloomington, MN; the Minnesota Department of Health’s Office of Minority and Multicultural Health, Advisory Committee; the World Federation of Academic Institutions of Global Health (WFAIGH). At the University of Minnesota, he is co-chairing the President’s Initiative to Prevent Sexual Misconduct, a public health issue of national importance.

Leadership initiatives

  • SPH2030: The School of Public Health’s guiding strategy to meet the needs of a changing world.
  • Driven: Shaping a Future of Health, the School of Public Health’s $40 million dollar campaign to secure its sustainability.
John Finnegan


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