Ross Brownson, PhD

  • Institution: Washington University
  • Title: Professor, Brown School and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center


Ross C. Brownson, PhD, is a professor at Washington University in St. Louis, with appointments in the Brown School and the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center. A leading expert in chronic disease prevention and applied epidemiology, Dr. Brownson is involved in numerous community-level studies designed to understand and reduce modifiable risk factors such as physical inactivity, obesity, and tobacco use. In particular, he is interested in the impacts of environmental and policy interventions on health behaviors, and he conducts research on dissemination of evidence-based interventions--with a focus on policy settings and health departments. Dr. Brownson’s research is supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

The author of more than 350 peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Brownson has written seven books, including Chronic Disease Epidemiology and Control; Applied Epidemiology; Communicating Public Health Information Effectively: A Guide for Practitioners; Evidence-Based Public Health; and Dissemination and Implementation Research in Health: Translating Science to Practice. In addition, he is associate editor of the Annual Review of Public Health and previously served on the editorial board of five other journals.

Dr. Brownson is a former and founding member of the 15-person CDC task force that developed the Guide to Community Preventive Services. He is a recipient of the CDC’s Award for Excellence in Prevention Research and Research Translation in Chronic Disease, and the American Public Health Association’s Abraham Lilienfeld Award for outstanding contributions in teaching and mentoring.

Prior to joining Washington University in 1994, Dr. Brownson was a division director with the Missouri Department of Health, where he wrote or co-wrote bills on tobacco access to minors, state clean indoor air, and private insurance coverage of screening mammography/Pap testing. Dr. Brownson is active in numerous professional associations, including the American Public Health Association and the Missouri Public Health Association. He is the current President of the American College of Epidemiology.