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Yvonne Michael, ScD, SM

Yvonne Michael

Professor of Epidemiology and Interim Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
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ScD, Epidemiology and Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health
SM, Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health
BA, Government, College of William and Mary


Dr. Michael received her ScD in Epidemiology and Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard School of Public Health, SM in Health and Social Behavior from the Harvard School of Public Health and BA in Government from the College of William and Mary.

Dr. Michael’s research is focused on three primary areas: Active Aging, Women’s Health, and Health Disparities. The unifying theme across these research areas is the use of epidemiology as a method of inquiry to identify social characteristics of communities and individuals and describe the impact of these factors on population health.

Research Interests

  • Social Epidemiology
  • Epidemiology of Aging
  • Women’s Health
  • Neighborhoods and Health
  • Health Disparities


Recent publications:

Michael, Y.L., Nicholas, D.S., Ruben, D., Epstein, N., Dickinson, S.T. and Hirsch, J.A., 2023. Places for Healthy Play: A Multi-Pronged Evaluation of Context, Design, and Perceptions for Play Space Improvements. Journal of Healthy Eating and Active Living, 3(2), p.100.

Youngbloom, A.J., Thierry, B., Fuller, D., Kestens, Y., Winters, M., Hirsch, J.A., Michael, Y.L. and Firth, C., 2023. Gentrification, perceptions of neighborhood change, and mental health in Montréal, Québec. SSM-Population Health, 22, p.101406.

Michael, Y.L., Smiley, K.T., Clay, L., Hirsch, J.A. and Lovasi, G.S., 2023. Uneven Growth in Social Capital Organizations After Disasters by Pre-Disaster Conditions in the United States 2000–2014. Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, 17, p.e278.

Godina, S.L., Rosso, A.L., Hirsch, J.A., Besser, L.M., Lovasi, G.S., Donovan, G.H., Garg, P.K., Platt, J.M., Fitzpatrick, A.L., Lopez, O.L. Carlson, M.C. and Michael, Y.L., 2023. Neighborhood greenspace and cognition: The cardiovascular health study. Health & Place, 79, p.102960.

See Dr. Michael's full list of publications on Google Scholar

Systemic Observation Research: Overview, Protocols, & Links

SWEAT: Senior Walking Environment Assessment Tool


To objectively evaluate the walkability of the neighborhood built environment for older adults. The SWEAT instrument was organized into four broad topic areas: (1) Functionality reflects structural aspects of the environment, including types of buildings, sidewalks, and buffer zone (or verge); (2) Safety reflects personal (e.g., adequate lighting) and traffic safety (e.g., speed); (3) Aesthetics items reflect the quality and visual appeal of the surroundings; and (4) Destination refers to the availability of services, transportation, and parking in the neighborhood. This tool was revised as SWEAT-R in 2009

Original papers

Cunningham GO, Michael YL, Farquhar SA, Lapidus J. "Developing a reliable senior walking environmental assessment tool." American journal of preventive medicine 29.3 (2005): 215-217.

Michael YL, Keast EM, Chaudhury H, Day K, Mahmood A, Sarte AFI. Revising the senior walking environmental assessment tool. Preventive medicine 48.3 (2009): 247-249.

Observation Form and Protocol

Observation Form: Senior Walking Environmental Assessment Tool (SWEAT-R)

Training Manual/Protocol available via email request.