Vic Strecher

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Vic Strecher
Vic Strecher.jpg
Victor J. Strecher

(1955-11-01) November 1, 1955 (age 68)
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Ph.D. in Health Behavior & Health Education
  • M.P.H.
Alma materUniversity of Michigan
  • Educator
  • Author

Vic Strecher also known as Victor J. Strecher (born November 1, 1955) is an American public health figure, professor, author, researcher, entrepreneur and visionary leader.[1] He is best known for his web-based digital health coaching platform “Health Media”, acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2008.[2] His interests span both the public and academic research in private and venture capital arenas. Stretcher gained recognition for his book “On Purpose: Lessons in Life and Health From the Frog, the Dung Beetle, and Julia” and has been covered in all major news outlets including Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, WIRED, Chicago Tribune, TEDMED, and TEDx.[3][4][5]

Strecher’s main areas of research are in psychology of healthy personal change, improved health and emotional wellbeing. He is a fellow of the SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre. Strecher has authored over 85 journals and has presented both nationally and internationally at leading conferences related to psychology and healthy personal change.[6]

Early life and education

Vic Strecher was born on 1 Nov 1955 and spent his early days in Ann Arbor, Michigan. In 1983, Strecher completed his Ph.D. in Health Behavior from the University of Michigan.

Academic Research

Rick Snyder and Vic Strecher

The flagship public health research initiative that launched Strecher’s tenure at the U-M was the Michigan Interactive Health Kiosk Demonstration Project or Health-o-Vision. Described as the 'brainchild' of Strecher, it consisted of over 90 dial-up networked public kiosks distributed throughout the state of Michigan and presented various health 'channels', such as bike safety, smoking cessation, immunization, and cancer.[7] This demonstration project was funded in its entirety through 'tobacco tax dollars' from the Michigan Department of Community Health within the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. The total amount of state-funded appropriations for this demonstration project over a period of 6 years, as chaired by Sen. Joe Schwarz, vice chairman of the senate appropriations sub-committee on community health, was 6 million dollars. Usage statistics on the project were summarized but no formative or summative evaluations on the efficacy of this demonstration project were ever published.[8][9]


Vic Strecher, cover--Crain's Detroit Business (Dec 7, 2014)

Strecher began his career as an associate professor in the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for a period of 10 years from Sep 1985 to Aug 1995. since 1995 Dr. Strecher has been a Professor[1] in the University of Michigan School of Public Health (U-M) since 1995 where he also began serving as Associate Director for Cancer Prevention and Control at the now Rogel Cancer Center.[10] Within the Cancer Center and in the spring of 1996 he set up the Health Media Research Laboratory[11][12] which is now the Center for Health Communications Research[13]with the original purpose of developing grant funded Computer-tailored Smoking Cessation programs[14] which expanded into over $45 million in a wide variety of grant-funded studies that "rivaled" other established interventions (p189[15]). In 2010, he was selected as the U-M Distinguished University Innovator.[16]

Based on his grant funded research in which Strecher stated to the Regents of the University of Michigan that he had "discovered something simple but revolutionary" as documented in the U-M 1999 Financial Report (page xxv[17]), the University of Michigan Office of Technology Transfer[18] and with angel funding (and soon after, rescue funding) by then venture capitalist Rick Snyder.[19][20] Strecher founded the privately held HealthMedia Inc.[21] in 1998, an Ann Arbor-based company that, when licensed exclusively from his publicly funded research, developed and applied personalized tailored health tracking/intervention tools to millions of users. In 2008 and though having never announced an annual fiscal profit since its inception HealthMedia Inc. was purchased by Johnson & Johnson, Inc. (J&J) for reported approximations of up to 200 million dollars[22], although exact figures have never been publicly available. At the time of the sale, U-M president Mary Sue Coleman was serving on the J&J board of directors.[6] Following Snyder's election as Michigan governor, J&J then folded HealthMedia into a subsidiary (Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions) and is no longer operating in the state of Michigan.[23][2]

Strecher's 19-year-old daughter, Julia, a two-time heart-transplant recipient, died suddenly on March 2, 2010 while vacationing in the Dominican Republic. Based on this personal tragedy he began exploring the philosophical and practical aspects of purpose and began widely promoting himself as an author,[24][25]and motivational speaker. In many interviews, Strecher presented his vision, "To help over one billion people find greater purpose and meaning in their lives".[4][5]Also borne out of this tragedy and from his significant earnings from the sale of HealthMedia, Strecher was able to form the privately held company,[26]named from his daughter's eponym (JOOL = Julia)[27]and that continued his interest in venture capital financed personalized tailored health interventions and is listed as the firm's Chief Purpose Officer and largest stock holder[28][3][29].

In May of 2016, Strecher hired the Akropolis Reed Quintet[30] as a part of a "collaborative performance" in the U-M's Rackham Auditorium to showcase and sign his newly released 2nd autobiographical book.[31]

In March of 2018, the company abruptly changed its domain to[29] with a complete redesign and executive/operational overhaul.[32][33][34][35][36] Kumanu products are made only available to employees of corporations that have special partnerships with Kumanu, Inc. and are not available to individuals.

Political activism

Strecher was an active supporter of the Michigan gubernatorial candidacy of Rick Snyder. He created the Wolverines for Snyder political campaign group at the U-M. As a "personal friend of Snyder", Strecher said his role up was to increase campus voter turnout in favor of Snyder and help students within the group develop campaign strategies. The group worked with neighboring universities, like Michigan State University, to increase support for Snyder's candidacies.[37]

Selected publications

In the media



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Victor Strecher, PhD | Faculty Profiles | U-M School of Public Health".
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Johnson & Johnson renames HealthMedia unit after mix of Ann Arbor layoffs, hiring".
  3. 3.0 3.1
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Life on Purpose - Victor J. Strecher - Hardcover". HarperCollins Publishers: World-Leading Book Publisher.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Strecher, Victor. "Life on Purpose: How Living for What Matters Changes Everything" – via
  6. 6.0 6.1 "Mary Sue Coleman defends Johnson & Johnson board membership after conflict of interest questions".
  7. "To Good Health!: A Guide to Providing Health Care at Neighborhood Networks Centers". U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Housing-Multifamily, Neighborhood Networks. June 5, 1999 – via Google Books.
  8. To good health! A guide to providing health care at Neighborhood Networks Centers. ISBN 9781428985308.
  9. "Center for Health Communications Research".
  13. "Center for Health Communications Research".
  16. "Victor Strecher named 2010 Distinguished University Innovator".
  18. "HealthMedia, Inc. – Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan".
  19. ,
  20. "'How far we've come' : Governor reflects on pioneering VC in Michigan". Crain's Detroit Business. March 10, 2013.
  23. writer, Guest (July 4, 2010). "Profile: Rick Snyder brings successful private-sector experience to gubernatorial race". mlive.
  24. "Julia Strecher Obituary - Ann Arbor, Michigan |".
  25. "Julia Strecher | On Purpose: The Graphic Novel".
  26. "Vic Strecher". TEDMED.
  27. "JOOL | Welcome". thejoolapp.
  28. "JOOL | Performance Through Purpose". JOOL Health.
  32. "JOOL Health Is Now Kumanu: The Purpose Company".
  33. "Kumanu - Purpose in Action | Amplify Your Strategy With Purpose". Kumanu.
  34. "Paul Meister Joins Kumanu Board of Directors". Kumanu. March 19, 2019.
  35. "Kumanu Names Industry Veteran Eric Zimmerman Chief Innovation and Commercialization Officer". Kumanu. March 12, 2019.
  37. "University political groups rally support in lead-up to November election". The Michigan Daily. Retrieved 2020-08-23.

External links