Michael D. Barnes

Department Chair

Office: 221F RB
Phone: 422-3327
Email: michael_barnes@byu.edu
Vita: Download PDF

Michael D. Barnes is a professor of health science and up to his appointment as chair, was the program director for the master of public health program in the Department of Health Science.

He has received numerous scholastic honors and is the author or co-author of more than 40 original peer-reviewed publications and numerous funded research proposals totaling in excess of $900,000. He actively contributes to the public health profession through service on international, national, and local boards including the profession’s accrediting body, and the Council on Public Health Education. His research is focused primarily on health communication issues. His forte is policy advocacy, and studying the household production of health through social capital.

Michael Barnes was raised in Downey, Idaho. He received his bachelor’s degree in health promotion and management and his master’s degree in community health from Brigham Young University. He recieved his Ph.D. degree in public health education from Southern Illinois University. During his doctorate, he worked part-time at the Jackson County Health Department in injury control and as a research associate in the CORE alcohol project, where he received the outstanding graduate student award. Dr. Barnes taught at New Mexico State University as an assistant professor in public health for 5 years, where he received the university Donald Roush Teaching Excellence Award.

He and his wife, Stephanie Morrison Barnes, are the parents of four children. He served in the Pennsylvania Harrisburg Mission from 1983 to 1985 and has served in the Church as bishop, Young Men president, Scoutmaster, stake high councilor, and teacher. He currently serves in a stake presidency in his family stake. Dr. Barnes’ hobbies include gardening, pie making, four-wheeling, and hiking.


  • PhD, Public Health Education, Southern Illinois University, 1993
  • MS, Community Health, Brigham Young University, 1990
  • BS, Health Promotion and Management, Brigham Young University, 1989
  • AA, Ricks College, 1986

Courses Taught

  • HLTH 437 Methods in Health Promotion
  • HLTH 625 Population-Based Health Promotion Interventions

Research Interests

  • Social media and digital technology
  • Health Communication
  • Family health

Recent Publications

Hanson, C. L., West, J. H., Neiger, B. L., Thackeray, R., Barnes, M. D. (2011). Use and acceptance of social media among health educators. American Journal of Health Education.

West, J. H., Hall, P. C., Hanson, C. L., Thackeray, R., Barnes, M. D., Neiger, B. L., McIntyre, E. (2011). Breastfeeding and Blogging: Exploring the Utility of Blogs to Promote Breastfeeding. American Journal of Health Education, 42(2).

Madanat, H, Barnes, M, Cole, E, & Njord. R. (2010). Determining responsibility for smoking in society: Accountability continuum for Jordanian college students and its implication on FCTC implementation, International Quarterly of Community Health Education, 30(2), 239-255.

Why did you choose public health as a career?

I wanted to work toward improving people's health and well being, and wanted a career that would be fulfilling. I wanted to learn how to run health promotion programs in a community setting. Public health and health promotion provided very enjoyable courses. I enjoyed receiving solid training in program planning and evaluation, plus I enjoyed learning about statistics, health policy, and epi. Now, more than twenty years ago, I enjoy public health and health promotion even more.

What do you like about teaching here at BYU?

Without hesitation, the high quality and strong drive of BYU students constitutes what I love most about teaching and researching at BYU. In addition to exceptional student quality, I love "the spirit of the Y." Part of that spirit is the privilege to work with students one-on-one. Mentoring students is part of the job description and one of the most enjoyable and important things I do.