Michael Long

Research Fellow

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

677 Huntington Ave., SPH 3, Floor 7
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 384-8732


Dr. Michael W. Long is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences and works at the Harvard School of Public Health Prevention Research Center.

Dr. Long conducts research at the intersection of obesity epidemiology and quantitative policy analysis, with the goal of identifying cost-effective and politically feasible policy solutions to the obesity epidemic. Dr. Long’s research is focused on three core issues:

Social Epidemiology of Obesity
Taking a systems approach to obesity epidemiology, Dr. Long’s research has addressed a range of biological, social, economic, and political factors influencing the obesity epidemic in the United States.  Most recently, Dr. Long and colleagues published research showing that higher levels of physical activity among youth during school hours were associated with higher levels of activity throughout the day, providing evidence to support efforts to increase physical education and other opportunities for physical activity during school.

Quantitative Analysis of Nutrition Policy Change
Using a natural experiment design to improve causal inference, Dr. Long and colleagues evaluated the impact of Connecticut’s Healthy Food Certification (HFC), which since 2006 has offered school districts in the state a monetary incentive to comply with stringent competitive food nutrition standards.  They found that districts participating in the program reduced the availability of unhealthy competitive foods and increased participation in the National School Lunch Program.  Dr. Long was a co-author on projects evaluating the impact of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) food package changes on the neighborhood availability of healthy food as well as on a project evaluating the strength of local school district wellness policies.

Modeling Cost-Effectiveness of Obesity Prevention Policies
As a member of a trans-disciplinary team on the CHOICES (CHildhood Obesity Intervention Cost Effectiveness Study) project, Dr. Long and colleagues are working to generate cost-effectiveness estimates for 40 promising obesity prevention policies in the United States.   Dr. Long’s efforts have focused on evaluating the cost-effectiveness of a proposed excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages and on developing the disease epidemiology and underlying simulation modeling methodology.

While a doctoral student, Dr. Long received awards from the Barry R. and Irene Tilenius Bloom Fellowship, the Bernard and Gloria Salick Fellowship, the Stephen B. Kay Family Fellowship, and the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston Policy Fellowship. As a Rappaport Fellow, he worked with Boston Public Schools Department of Food and Nutrition Services to increase access to the School Breakfast Program.

Dr. Long earned his bachelor’s degree in Politics at Princeton University and his Master of Public Health degree at the Yale School of Public Health, where he worked at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.


ScD, 2013, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard School of Public Health
MPH, 2008, Social and Behavioral Sciences, Yale School of Public Health
AB, 2002, Politics, Princeton University