The University Record, July 23, 2001


Irwin M. Rosenstock

Irwin M. “Rusty” Rosenstock, professor emeritus of health behavior and health education, passed away June 19.

Rosenstock was appointed associate professor in 1961 and professor in 1965. He was instrumental in developing the School of Public Health’s Health Behavior and Health Education research and teaching programs. In 1975, he helped establish the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE), which he chaired from its inception until 1983. He retired from HBHE in 1987.

Rosenstock was internationally known for helping to develop the Health Belief Model, a theory explaining health-related behavior. This model has prompted thousands of research studies, which in turn have contributed to interventions aimed at altering behavior to improve health.

Rosenstock also chaired the work group on Data, Research and Development, and Health Education for the Michigan Public Health Code project. Under his leadership, many of the project’s findings were incorporated into the Michigan Public Health Code, including a comprehensive definition of health education.

This language was written into law and still defines the interface between public schools and health departments.

Students and colleagues remember Rosenstock best for his sense of humor and drive.

“Rusty joined a traditional department of public health administration,” says Myron Wegman, dean emeritus of the School of Public Health. “But with his enthusiasm and drive, he quickly expanded its teaching and research into a unit focused on understanding personal health attitudes and practices. His dynamism was contagious—effectively so.”

Rosenstock was an inspiration for many of his students, including the School of Public Health’s current dean, Noreen Clark, and other important researchers such as Marshall Becker. Rosenstock will be remembered as a trailblazer, and his work will be admired for years to come.

Rosenstock is survived by his four children, Ruth Gretzinger, a writer in the U-M Marketing Communications Department; Larry (Leslie) Rosenstock of

Royal Oak; David Rosenstock of Ann Arbor; and Robert (Lou) Rosenstock of Paris, France, and grandchildren Elizabeth Gretzinger and Ben and Declan Rosenstock. His wife, Phyllis, passed away May 7.

Submitted by News and Information Services