Brian Martinson, PhD

Senior Research Investigator; Research scientist at the Minneapolis VA Center for Chronic Disease Outcomes Research; Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Minnesota

Joined the Institute



PhD, sociology and demography, University of Wisconsin at Madison; postdoctoral training in cardiovascular behavioral health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.

Research highlights

Since 1996, Brian has conducted health behavior-related research (both interventional and observational), serving on federally funded projects as PI of a large behavioral intervention trial of physical activity maintenance (RO1-AG023410), site PI on studies of stroke epidemiology (RO1-NS39028), the etiology of childhood obesity (RO1-HL085978), work-family balance, diet and physical activity (RO1-HD056360), smoking cession (RO3-CA78183) and as a coinvestigator on multiple other studies.

Starting in 2001, Brian has led a series of NIH-funded research projects on research integrity (RO1-NR08090; RO1-NS052885). As co-PI with Dr. Carol Thrush (R21-RR025279), he co-led a study developing and assessing the validity and reliability of a survey instrument to evaluate research integrity climates in academic research organizations. That work resulted in a tool called the Survey of Organizational Climate (SOuRCe).

In 2009-2010, he served on an invited expert panel on research integrity convened by the Council of Canadian Academies at the request of Industry Canada, leading to the report, "Honesty, Accountability and Trust: Fostering Research Integrity in Canada." He is currently serving as a member of the U.S. National Research Council panel charged with drafting a report on responsible science, anticipated to be published some time in 2016.

Research interests/expertise 

  • Health-related behavior and social determinants of health
  • Systems science and simulation
  • Research integrity and its relationship to the structural organization of science
  • Psychosocial issues and bounded rationality in human decision-making as it relates to health and health-related behavior, as well as to research ethics and integrity

Current projects

Brian is currently PI of a two-year project in the VA (in a no-cost extension year, FY2016), with funding from VA HSR&D (I01-HX001120), conducting a randomized controlled trial using the SOuRCe tool to test the efficacy of a reporting and feedback intervention to improve research integrity climates in VA research settings.

As a coinvestigator to Bjorn Westgard, Brian is serving on an NHLBI-funded study (RO1-HL118282, PI: Dr. Bjorn Westgard) employing systems science methods (including respondent-driven sampling, social network analysis and agent-based modeling) to study cardiometabolic risks in the Somali Community in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

He is also serving as a coinvestigator to PI Erin Krebs on a four-year project funded by VA HSR&D (IO1-HX001752) assessing the effects of VHA opioid policy on prescribing and patient-centered outcomes.

Under a Professional Services Contract to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he is also currently involved in the development and testing of Asian language versions of the SOuRCe tool as a component of the Nanyang Technical University Leadership Academy Project, a collaborative between UIUC and NTU.

Mentoring activities

For the past several years, Brian has been engaged in informal mentoring of a junior colleague, Dr. Zubin Master, whom he met when he chaired a grant review panel on which he served as a reviewer. Since that time, Brian and Dr. Master have submitted as Co-PIs several grant proposals, one of which (an R21) is pending review as of January 2016. They also worked together on an international presentation that he delivered in Sweden in Summer 2015, out of which they are working on a manuscript together.

In addition, over roughly this same time period, Brian has served in a somewhat more formal mentoring capacity to Dr. Bjorn Westgard, an Emergency Medicine physician and medical anthropologist. Within the context of an NHLBI-funded project being led by Dr. Westgard (RO1-HL118282), we submitted for and have received a diversity supplement to bring onto our study team Ms. Farhiya Farah, a local Somali scholar who is working on completing her PhD in Environmental Health at the University of Minnesota. Both Brian and Dr. Westgard are serving as Ms. Farah's primary mentors on this supplemental grant in 2015 and 2016.



Contact information

Office: 952-967-5021

Curriculum vitae