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Yvonne Michael, ScD, SM

Yvonne Michael

Associate Professor
Epidemiology and Biostatistics
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BA, Government, College of William and Mary; SM, Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health; ScD, Epidemiology and Health and Social Behavior, Harvard School of Public Health


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

  • Aging
  • Cancer
  • Community Engaged Research
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Health and Place or Built Environment
  • Health commuincation
  • Health Disparities
  • Occupational Health
  • Urban Health


Palumbo A, Michael YL, Hyslop T. Latent class model characterization of neighborhood socioeconomic status. Cancer Causes and Control (in press)

Missikpode C, Michael YL, Wallace R. Midlife Occupational Physical Activity and Risk of Disability Later in Life: National Health and Aging Trends Study (NHATS). Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (in press)

Chaudhury H, Campo M, Michael YL, Mahmood A. Neighbourhood environment and physical activity in older adults. Social Science & Medicine. 2016 Jan 31;149:104-13.

Palumbo AJ, Michael YL, Burstyn I, Lee BK, Wallace R. Occupational physical demand and risk of hip fracture in older women. Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 2015;72:567-572

Donovan GH, Michael YL, Gatziolis, D, Prestemon, JP, Whitsel EA. Is tree loss associated with cardiovascular-disease risk in the Women's Health Initiative? A natural experiment. Health & place 2015; 36: 1-7.

Mayne SL, Auchincloss AH, Michael YL. Impact of policy and built environment changes on obesityrelated outcomes: a systematic review of naturally occurring experiments. Obesity Reviews 2015;16(5), 362-375

Rosso AL, Lee BK, Stefanick ML, Kroenke CH, Coker LH, Woods NF, Michael YL. Caregiving Frequency and Physical Function: The Women’s Health Initiative. The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences 2015;70(2): 210-215.

Michael YL, Nagel CL, Gold R, Hillier TA. Does change in the neighborhood environment prevent obesity in older women? Social Science and Medicine 2014;102:129-137.

Rosso AL, Tabb LP, Grubesic A, Taylor JT, Michael YL. Neighborhood Social Capital and Achieved Mobility of Older Adults. J Aging Health December 2014; 26: 1301-1319, doi:10.1177/0898264314523447

Rosso AL, Auchincloss A, Grubesic A, Tabb LP, Michael YL. Neighborhood amenities and mobility in older adults. American Journal of Epidemiology 2013; doi: 10.1093/aje/kwt032

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.