The Pittsburgh Foundation

Michael Yonas, DrPH Director of Research and Special Initiatives


Michael, in his work and research utilizes traditional and non-traditional approaches to understand social determinants of health and address factors influencing community violence, chronic disease and persistent disparities impacting the well-being of children, youth and families. He is passionate and dedicated to working with and learning from community youth and families. Michael strives to cultivate culturally sensitive opportunities for informing interventions that reflect the priorities of communities, organizations and other stakeholders. His most recent efforts have focused on examining the influence of stress on health, systems for serving the homeless, and strategies for promoting community and school safety. He is influenced by years of community-based practice, service and research, focusing primarily on the role of neighborhood and systems-level factors impacting disparities in health.  Michael has specialized training and experience using the arts to engage youth and communities in research and in the application of principles of community- based participatory research. Prior to the Foundation, he served as director of Research, Evaluation and Engagement at the Allegheny County Department of Human Services and was on faculty at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts from Dickinson College, his Master and Doctoral Degrees of Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. A Pittsburgh native, Michael is married to Alison and has two children, Zachary, age 15, and Annie, age 12.