Deborah J. Oakley

Deborah J. Oakley, PhD, MPH

Professor Emerita
Room 2160 400 NIB
5200 South Lake Drive
Chelsea, MI 48118-9481
Telephone: (734) 475-1276

Scholarly Expertise / Activity


  • Contraceptive use
  • Reproductive healthcare
  • Breast cancer prevention
  • China’s health system
  • Asian American health

Professor Oakley’s main academic contributions to the field of nursing include behavioral research showing the multiple contraceptive methods used over women’s reproductive lives; electronically-measured completeness of contraceptive pill-taking among women in both the U.S. and China; and comparisons of maternity care by Certified Nurse Midwives and Obstetricians. Due to the international nature of these projects, she has facilitated work with or by nursing and public health colleagues in China and Iran.

Current Research Grants and Programs:

  • Contraceptive use behaviors in Iran
  • Breast cancer prevention in China
  • Health programs for Asian Americans


During Professor Oakley’s more than twenty years on the School of Nursing faculty, she has had a great impact on many different areas of the school. For example, she taught research utilization and methods at both the master’s and undergraduate levels as well as developed and taught policy and women’s health seminars at the doctoral level. She also mentored many SoN master’s and doctoral students, was a member of UM dissertation committees in Anthropology, Education, Psychology, Public Health, and Sociology and Public Health in the I.R. of Iran.  In addition, she helped influence a number of Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) students, many of whom subsequently entered a health profession field.

Affiliations / Service

  • Member, Midwest Nursing Research Society, 1982-present (Chairperson, Special Committee on Funding for Nursing Research, 1982-1989)
  • Member, American Public Health Association, 1970-present (Chairperson, Standing Committee on Women’s Rights, 1974-1976; Chairperson, Population and Family Planning Section, 1982-1983)

Notable Awards / Honors

  • Honorary Member, Sigma Theta Tau, 1993
  • Recipient, Mae Edna Doyle Teacher of the Year Award, University of Michigan School of Nursing, 1992
  • Recipient, Distinguished Faculty, Michigan Association of Governing Boards, 1992
  • Recipient, Family Planning Service Award, Michigan Department of Public Health, 1988
  • Recipient, Margaret Sanger Award, Washtenaw County Planned Parenthood, 1978
  • Member, Delta Omega (Public Health Honorary), 1970


  • PhD, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1977
  • MPH, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI, 1969
  • MA, Brown University, Providence, RI, 1960
  • BA, Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, PA, 1958

Publication Highlights

  • Liu, C.Y., Xia, H.O., Isaman, D., Deng, W., & Oakley, D. Nursing clinical trial of breast self-examination education in China. International Nursing Review. 2010. 57,128-134.
  • Wu, T.Y., Kao, J.Y., Hsieh, H.F., Tang, Y.Y., Chen, J. Lee, J., & Oakley, D. Effective colorectal cancer education for Asian Americans: A Michigan program. Journal of Cancer Education, 2010. 25,146-152.
  • Peyman, N. & Oakley, D. Effective contraceptive use: An exploration of theory-based influences. Health Education Research. 2009. 24, 575-595.
  • Peyman, N. Hidarnia, A., Ghofranipour, F., Kazemnezhad, A., Oakley, D. Khodaee, G.H., & Aminshokravi, F. Self-efficacy: Does it predict the effectiveness of contraceptive use in Iranian women? Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal. 2009. 15, 1254-1263.
  • Yu, MY, Song, LX, Seetoo, A., Cai, C.J., Smith, G., & Oakley, D. Culturally competent training program-A key to training Lay Health Advisors for promoting breast cancer screening. Health Behavior & Health Education. 2007, 34:928-941.
  • Oakley, D., Yu, M.Y., Lu, H., Shang, S.M., McIntosh, E., Pang, D. & VanDoren, E. Communication channels to help build an international community of education and practice. Journal of Professional Nursing, 20, 381-389.
  • Zheng, X.X., Hinshaw, A.S., Yu, M.Y., Guo, G.F., & Oakley, D. Building international partnerships. International Nursing Review. 2001, 48, 101-106.
  • Vincent, D., Oakley, D., Pohl, J., & Walker, D.S. Cost-effectiveness analysis: An essential tool for practice management. Nurse Practitioner: American Journal of Primary Health Care, 2001, 25, 95-96.
  • Oakley, D., Yu, M.Y., Zhu, X.L., Zhang, Y.M., Chen, W.H., Yao, L. Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches to the study of contraceptive pill use. Journal of Women’s Health. 199, 8, 249-257.
  • Oakley, D., Potter, L., De Leon-Wong, E., Visness, C. 1997. Oral contraceptive use and protective behavior after pills. Family Planning Perspectives. 1997. 20, 277-279, 287.
  • Potter, L., Oakley, D., de Leon-Wong, E., Canamar, R. Measuring compliance among oral contraceptive users. Family Planning Perspectives. 1996. 28, 154-158.
  • Oakley, D. Murray, M.E., Murtland, T., Hayashi, R., Anderson, H.F., Mayes, F. & Rooks, J. Comparisons of outcomes of maternity care by obstetricians and certified nurse-midwives. Obstetrics & Gynecology. 1996. 88, 823-829.
  • Oakley, D. & Bogue, E-L. Quality of condom use as reported by women family planning clinic clients. American Journal of Public Health. 1995. 85, 1526-1530.
  • Murtland, T.L., Crane, P.A., Oakley, D., Bogue, E-L., Mayes, F., Hayashi, R., & Anderson, F. Certified nurse-midwives and obstetricians: Choice of a childbirth provider. Journal of Women’s Health. 1994, 3, 415-426.
  • Oakley, D., Sereika, S. & Bogue, E-L. Oral contraceptive pill use after the initial visit to a family planning clinic. Family Planning Perspectives. 1991. 23, 150-154.