Cheryl L. Robertson, PhD, MPH, RN, FAAN


Cheryl L. Robertson

Contact Info

Office Phone 612-626-6450

Fax 612-625-7091

Office Address:
6-169A Weaver-Densford Hall

Mailing Address:
School of Nursing
University of Minnesota
5-140 Weaver-Densford Hall
308 Harvard Street SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455


PhD, University of Minnesota (Nursing), 2000

MPH, University of Minnesota (Public Health Nursing), 1988

BA, University of Wisconsin (Anthropology and Ibero American Studies), 1980

ADN, Yavapai College, Arizona (Nursing), 1978


Dr. Robertson is a Public Health Nurse, Professor, and Chair, Population Health and Systems Cooperative at the School of Nursing University of Minnesota. Dr. Robertson’s program of scholarship and research relates to conflict, displacement, trauma and recovery. In recent years, she has developed several interdisciplinary research partnerships to study eco-system health and climate driven conflict and displacement in Africa. She uses strengths based approach to investigate and understand refugee displaced persons’ health, trauma, and coping. Based on the findings of her early work, she and her interdisciplinary research team have designed, developed, implemented and evaluated the effectiveness of community-based interventions that support healthy coping and healing. Robertson is currently leading a multidisciplinary team of university scientists and young African scholars to study climate-driven conflict, displacement, and health at the human-animal-environment intersection in the Horn of Africa Arid Lands. This research builds on her scholarship and supports the Grand Challenges priority research agenda of the University of Minnesota.

Professional Associations


Research Summary/Interests

Refugee health; War trauma and torture; Strength-based interventions; Global public health; Eco-health strategies in Central/Eastern Africa

Research Funding Grants

Research and Education Grants:

Title of Project: Human and Animal Health in Protected Ecosystems of Central and Eastern Africa
Role: Co-Investigator
Funding Agency: International Development Research Center (IDRC), Ottawa, Canada
Project Dates: 2014-2018

Title of Project: Socio-economic and Cultural Impacts of Ebola: Focused Ethnography in the Bundibugyo District
Role: Study Lead
Funding Agency: Institute on the Environment, Discovery Grant (UMN)
Project Dates: 2014-2018

Title of Project: Innovation Collaborative: A University-Community Partnership to Sustainably Improve Food Safety and Security in Uganda
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Healthy Foods Healthy Lives: Community UMN Partnership Grant
Project Dates: 2014-2015

Title of Project: Building Knowledge and Networks to Improve Agricultural Resilience and Food Security in Somalia
Role: Co-investigator
Funding Agency: Global Spotlight Grants: GPS Alliance
Project Dates: 2014-2015

Title of Project: Karen Refugees: Physical and Psychological Health Correlates of Trauma Exposure
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: University of Minnesota Graduate School Grant-in-Aid
Project Dates: 2013-2015

Title of Project: Somali Family and Youth Leadership Intervention: Pilot Test
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: CTSI Health Disparities Pilot Funds
Project Dates: 2012-2013

Title of Project: Community Coping Intervention for Somali Refugee Women
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: NINR-R21
Project Dates: 2010-2013

Title of Project: RESPOND Global Program for Outbreaks of Emergent Zoonotic Diseases
Role: West Congo Basin University Lead
Funding Agency: USAID Emerging Pandemic Threat Program
Project Dates: 2009-2014

Title of Project: Liberian Faith Leaders Promoting Healing Among Traumatized Parishioners
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: Office of Refugee Resettlement
Project Dates: 2008-2011

Title of Project: Understanding Somali Refugees' Perceptions of Mental Health Care: A Focused Ethnography
Role: Principal Investigator
Funding Agency: University Medical School, Department of Health Disparities
Project Dates: 10/2008-10/2009

Title of Project: Modeling Psychological Functioning in Refugees
Funding Agency: NIH-NINR-P20 Center for Health Trajectory Research Pilot Program (Wyman)
Role: Principal Investigator
Project Dates: 2006-2007

Title of Project: Innovative Stress Interventions in Refugees: Pilot Test
Funding Agency: NIH (R15)
Role: co-Principa Investigator
Project Dates: 9/1/2004-6/31/2006

Title of Project: Latino-based Multimedia to Prevent Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Funding Agency: NIH (R25)
Role: co-Principal Investigator
Project Dates: 4/1/2004-3/31/2007

Title of Project: West Bank Mother-to-Mother Intervention: Parenting Support for Somali and Oromo Mothers
Funding Agency: UMN President's Faculty Multicultural Research Award
Role: Principal Investigator
Project Dates: 1/1/2004-12/31/2005

Title of Project: Evaluation of Effectiveness of a Community-Based Parenting Support Program for Somali & Oromo Mothers
Funding Agency: Katharine J. Densford International Center for Nursing Leadership
Role: Principal Investigator
Project Dates: 9/03-8/04

Title of Project: Measuring Resilience Among East African Refugee War Trauma Survivors
Funding Agency: Grant-in-Aid, U of Minnesota Graduate School
Role: Principal Investigator
Project Dates: 7/1/2002-2/31/2004

Title of Project: Population-Based Survey of Torture and Violence in Somali and Ethiopian Refugee Community
Funding Agency: Div. of Epidemiology, School of Public Health, U of Minnesota
Role: Co-Investigator
Project Dates: 1998-2003


Selected Publications:

  • Robertson, C. L., Halcon, L., Hoffman, S. J., Osman, N., Mohamed, A., Areba, E. . . . Mathiason, M. A. (2018). Health Realization Community Coping Intervention for Somali Refugee Women. Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. Advance online publication. doi:10.10007/s10903-018-0804-8
  • Halcon, L., Robertson, C., & Monsen, K. (2010). Evaluation of a health realization intervention for Somali and Oromo refugee women. Journal of Loss and Trauma, 15(5), 408-415.
  • Weine, S., Horgan, J., Robertson, C., Loue, S., Mohamed, A., & Noor, S. (2010). Combating the radicalization of U.S. Somali youth: A psychosocial perspective on counterterrorism. Dynamics of Asymmetric Conflict, 2(3), 181-200.
  • McCullagh, M., & Robertson, C. (2009). Too late smart: Farmer's adoption of self-protective behavior in response to exposure to hazardous noise. AAOHN Journal, 57(3), 99-105.
  • Robertson, C., O'Boyle, C., & Conn, S. (2009). The use of qualitative research methods in healthcare epidemiology.APIC Text of Infection Control and Epidemiology, Washington, DC. Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Inc.
  • Robertson, C., & Duckett, L. (2007). Mothering during war and post-war in Bosnia. Journal of Family Nursing, 13(4),461-483.
  • Halcón, L., Robertson, C., Monson, K., Jindahl, B., & Claypatch, C. (2007). A theoretical framework for using health realization to reduce stress and improve coping in refugee communities. Journal of Holistic Nursing, 25(3), 186-194.
  • Robertson, C., Kerr, M.J., Garcia, C., & Halterman, E. (2007). Noise and hearing protection: Latino construction workers’ experiences. AAOHN Journal, 55(4), 1-8.
  • Robertson, C., Halcón, L., Savik, K., Johnson, D., Spring, M., Butcher, J., Westermeyer, J., & Jaranson, J. (2006). Somali and Oromo refugee women: Trauma and associated factors. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 56(6), 577-587.
  • O’Boyle C., Robertson C., Secor-Turner M. (2006). Nurses' beliefs about public health emergencies: Fear of abandonment. American Journal of Infection Control, 34(6), 351-357.
  • O’Boyle C., Robertson C., & Secor-Turner M. (2006). Public health emergencies: Nurses' recommendations for effective actions. AAOHN Journal, 54(8), 347-353.
  • Halcón, L. L., Robertson, C. L., Savik, K., Johnson, D. R., Spring, M. A., Butcher, J. N., Westermeyer, J. J., & Jaranson, J. M. (2004). Trauma and coping in Somali and Oromo refugee youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 35(1), 17-25.
  • Jaranson, J. M., Butcher, J., Halcón, L., Johnson, D. R., Robertson, C., Savik, K., Spring, M., & Westermeyer, J. (2004). Somali and Oromo refugees: Correlates of torture and trauma history. American Journal of Public Health, 94(4), 591-598.
  • Spring, M., Westermeyer, J., Halcon, L., Savik, K., Robertson, C., Johnson, D., Butcher, J., & Jaranson, J. (2003). Sampling in Difficult to Access Refugee and Immigrant Communities. Journal of Nervous and Mental Diseases. 191(12), 813-819.
  • Robertson, C. (2000). Healing the community after torture and repression. In National Alliance for Multicultural Mental Health. Lessons From the Field: Issues and Resources in Refugee Mental Health. Washington, D.C.: Immigration and Refugee Services of America.
  • Robertson, C., Pham, H., Bond, J., Graham, K., & Samuel, S. (1999). Case study: Uganda. In Pham, H., & Arnison, N. (Eds). Global child survival: A human rights priority: Case Studies of Child Mortality in Uganda, Mexico and the United States. Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Advocates for Human Rights.
  • Robertson, C., & Plakeney, P. (1997). Assessment of the Social Service and Health Care System in Sarajevo Canton, United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) and Catholic Relief Services, Sarajevo, Bosnia.
  • Holtan, N., & Robertson, C. (1992). Scarcity among plenty. Torture, 2(1), 11. Copenhagen, International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims.


Academic Interests and Focus

War and Health; Refugee experience; Public health in resource-poor countries; Population-focused assessment; One health strategies