Gary G. Bennett, PhD

Professor in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience
Research Professor of Global Health
Associate Professor in Medicine
Professor in the School of Nursing
Associate of the Duke Initiative for Science & Society
Core Faculty Member, Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy
Member of the Duke Cancer Institute
Campus mail 222 Soc Psy, Durham, NC 27708
Phone (919) 808-7821
Email address

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Gary G. Bennett, Ph.D. is vice provost for undergraduate education and professor of psychology & neuroscience, global health, and medicine at Duke University.

As vice provost, Dr. Bennett drives Duke's undergraduate education strategy, leads curricular and co-curricular programs, and serves as the university's primary spokesperson for undergraduate concerns. 

He directs Duke's Office of Undergraduate Education, which is comprised of 15 units (including academic advising, academic support, nationally competitive scholarships, merit scholar programs, financial aid, study abroad, as well as vibrant co-curricular programs like Duke Engage and Duke Immerse) that enrich Duke's undergraduate academic experience. 

Dr. Bennett’s research program designs, tests, and disseminates digital obesity treatments. He is the founding director of the Duke Digital Health Science Center and Past-President of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the nation's largest organization of behavioral change scientists.

Dr. Bennett is especially interested in integrating digital health treatments into the primary care setting, particularly those that serve medically vulnerable patients. Dr. Bennett developed the interactive obesity treatment approach (iOTA); his recent work demonstrates the effectiveness of digital strategies in treating obesity and improving cardiometabolic functioning. He has authored more than 150 scientific papers, and his research program has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health

Dr. Bennett’s research has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Time, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, and many other media outlets. Dr. Bennett has served on numerous NIH panels, editorial boards, guidelines committees, and advises several health care, and health technology organizations. Bennett was a member of the American Psychological Association’s obesity treatment guidelines panel and has worked with committees at Girl Trek, the Institute of Medicine, American Heart Association, and American Council on Exercise to reduce Americans’ high rates of obesity and physical inactivity.

Dr. Bennett also co-founded three digital health startups. Crimson Health Solutions developed digital disease management interventions and was acquired by Health Dialog in 2007. In 2014, he co-founded Scale Down, a digital obesity treatment startup based on the science of daily self-weighing. Scale Down was acquired by Anthem in 2017. He is a co-founder of Coeus Health, a leading provider of health APIs. He advises leading digital health and consumer electronic organizations on the science of health behavior change.

At Duke, Dr. Bennett is a member of Duke’s Bass Society of Fellows, is the founding director of Duke’s undergraduate major in global health, has served on committees to examine Duke's undergraduate curriculum and develop the university's strategic plan. His students' course ratings have repeatedly placed Dr. Bennett in the top 5% of Duke’s undergraduate instructors.

Prior to joining Duke in 2009, Dr. Bennett served on the faculties of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Dr. Bennett earned a bachelor's degree at Morehouse College, a PhD in clinical health psychology at Duke University, and was the Alonzo Yerby postdoctoral fellow in social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Education and Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University, 2002
  • M.A., Duke University, 1999
  • B.A., Morehouse College, 1997


Conroy, David E., Gary G. Bennett, Constantino M. Lagoa, and Kathleen Y. Wolin. “Steps towards digital tools for personalised physical activity promotion.” British Journal of Sports Medicine 56, no. 8 (April 2022): 424–25.

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Kay, Melissa C., Nour M. Hammad, Sharon J. Herring, and Gary G. Bennett. “Using Interactive Text Messaging to Improve Diet Quality and Increase Redemption of Foods Approved by the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children: Protocol for a Cohort Feasibility Study.” Jmir Res Protoc 10, no. 12 (December 15, 2021): e32441.

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Koontz, Bridget F., Erica Levine, Frances McSherry, Donna Niedzwiecki, Linda Sutton, Tykeytra Dale, Martin Streicher, et al. “Increasing physical activity in Cancer Survivors through a Text-messaging Exercise motivation Program (ICanSTEP).” Support Care Cancer 29, no. 12 (December 2021): 7339–49.

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Hopkins, Christina M., Hailey N. Miller, Taylor L. Brooks, Lihua Mo-Hunter, Dori M. Steinberg, and Gary G. Bennett. “Designing Ruby: Protocol for a 2-Arm, Brief, Digital Randomized Controlled Trial for Internalized Weight Bias.” Jmir Research Protocols 10, no. 11 (November 25, 2021): e31307.

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Miller, Hailey N., Miriam B. Berger, Sandy Askew, Melissa C. Kay, Christina M. Hopkins, Meghana Sai Iragavarapu, Mia de Leon, et al. “The Nourish Protocol: A digital health randomized controlled trial to promote the DASH eating pattern among adults with hypertension.” Contemp Clin Trials 109 (October 2021): 106539.

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Davidson, Karina W., Simon L. Bacon, Gary G. Bennett, Elizabeth Brondolo, Susan M. Czajkowski, Michael A. Diefenbach, Elissa S. Epel, et al. “Accomplishing breakthroughs in behavioural medicine research.” Nature Human Behaviour 5, no. 7 (July 2021): 813–15.

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Torain, Maya J., Gary G. Bennett, Roland A. Matsouaka, Maren K. Olsen, Hongqiu Yang, Jamiyla H. Bolton, Kimberly S. Johnson, and Laura P. Svetkey. “The Patient's Point of View: Characterizing Patient-Level Factors Associated with Perceptions of Health Care.” Health Equity 5, no. 1 (2021): 457–65.

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Steinberg, Dori M., Melissa C. Kay, Laura P. Svetkey, Sandy Askew, Jacob Christy, Jasmine Burroughs, Hira Ahmed, and Gary G. Bennett. “Feasibility of a Digital Health Intervention to Improve Diet Quality Among Women With High Blood Pressure: Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial.” Jmir Mhealth Uhealth 8, no. 12 (December 7, 2020): e17536.

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Nwosu, Chinemerem, Charis A. Spears, Charles Pate, Deborah T. Gold, Gary Bennett, Michael Haglund, and Anthony Fuller. “Influence of Caretakers' Health Literacy on Delays to Traumatic Brain Injury Care in Uganda.” Ann Glob Health 86, no. 1 (October 6, 2020): 127.

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Patel, Michele L., Taylor L. Brooks, and Gary G. Bennett. “Consistent self-monitoring in a commercial app-based intervention for weight loss: results from a randomized trial.” In Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 43:391–401, 2020.

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