Michael Yonas, DrPH

Adjunct Assistant Professor
Department of Health Behavior
Assistant Professor
University of Pittsburgh
The Pittsburgh Foundation Five PPG Place, Suite 250, Pittsburgh PA., 15222


Michael Yonas, DrPH, MPH, serves as vice president of public health, research and learning for The Pittsburgh Foundation and is responsible for the developing and managing of the Foundation's public health research, prevention and intervention initiatives. Michael joined the Foundation in 2014 and has served in multiple roles of increasing responsibility, accountability and service including senior program officer for research and evaluation and director of research and evaluation. Michael's team uses participatory approaches to understanding and addressing social determinants of health and factors influencing community violence, housing/eviction, chronic diseases and persistent racial disparities impacting the health and well-being of families and communities. Currently, Michael manages internal and external evaluation activities, the public health and medical research grantmaking portfolios and is responsible for implementing multiple mixed-methods participatory research initiatives to inform the Foundation's grantmaking, policy, convening and research agenda. Michael earned his master’s (1999) and doctorate degrees of public health (2004) from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, his bachelor’s of arts degree in fine arts from Dickinson College, and post-doctoral training in participatory research and engagement as a W. K. Kellogg Foundation Post-Doctorate Community Health Fellow at the University of North Carolina (2004-2006). Michael is an active adjunct faculty member of the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health where he co-instructs a course on Harm Reduction. He is also a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician in Allegheny County, and lives in O’Hara Township with his wife, Alison, and two children, Zachary and Annie, and their beloved dogs, Bailey and Teddy.

Teaching Interests

- Qualitative research
- Participatory research approaches
- Social determinants of health

Research Activities

- Cancer
- Injury prevention
- Public health practice
- Violence prevention

- Research utilizes innovative traditional and non-traditional qualitative, community-based and partnered research methodologies to identify and address the social and environmental factors, such as violence, that affect disparities in the health and well-being of vulnerable populations
- Interests, research and community work primarily focus upon the health and well-being of children and adolescents, with a primary research commitment to study and intervention to moderate the impact of neighborhood-level stressors on childhood asthma

Eviction in Allegheny County: A Mixed-Methods Study By The Pittsburgh Foundation

- Youth and the Juvenile Court System: A Community Foundation’s Commitment to Integrating Voice and Community Expertise

- Community Partnered Research Ethics Training in Practice – A Collaborative Approach to Certification

- A Qualitative Study of Youth and The Juvenile Justice System: A 100 Percent Pittsburgh Pilot Project

Using Concept Mapping to Explore and Engage Parent and Youth Residents of an Economically Underserved Minority Community around Children's Asthma

Staff/Administrative Duties

For the Department of Health Behavior:
- Adviser on special projects
- Faculty research collaboration
- Student research supervision
- Informal research advice and technical assistance


  • DrPH, Child Health and Development/Public Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 2004
  • MPH, Maternal and Child Health, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, 1999