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 is the Bishop-MacDermott Family Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, Global Health, and Medicine at Duke University. He directs Duke’s Global Digital Health Science Center (Duke Digital Health), which leverages digital health technologies to improve health outcomes in medically vulnerable populations. Dr. Bennett also leads the Duke Obesity Prevention Program and holds an appointment in the Duke Cancer Institute.

Dr. Bennett’s research program designs, tests, and disseminates digital health obesity treatments for primary care settings that serve medically vulnerable populations.  Dr. Bennett developed the interactive obesity treatment approach (iOTA), which has been evaluated in several trials, both domestically and abroad. His recent work has demonstrated the effectiveness of coach-led, digital health weight loss and hypertension control interventions delivered via web, smartphone, and interactive voice response systems. His recent intervention trials in medically vulnerable communities have been the focus of numerous invited addresses for professional and lay audiences alike. He has authored more than 125 scientific papers in the past decade and his research program has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Bennett has served on numerous NIH committees, grant review panels, editorial boards, and guidelines councils. Dr. Bennett is committed to the dissemination of evidence-based treatments; he serves on science advisory and executive boards of several community, professional, and commercial organizations. He also co-founded two digital health startups: Crimson Health Solutions (acquired by Health Dialog in 2007) and Scale Down. 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, followed by doctoral studies in clinical health psychology at Duke University, a clinical psychology internship at Duke University Medical Center and postdoctoral studies 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


Bennett, Gary G., Dori Steinberg, Sandy Askew, Erica Levine, Perry Foley, Bryan C. Batch, Laura P. Svetkey, et al. “Effectiveness of an App and Provider Counseling for Obesity Treatment in Primary Care.” Am J Prev Med 55, no. 6 (December 2018): 777–86.

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Lin, Pao-Hwa, Steven Grambow, Stephen Intille, John A. Gallis, Tony Lazenka, Hayden Bosworth, Corrine L. Voils, et al. “The Association Between Engagement and Weight Loss Through Personal Coaching and Cell Phone Interventions in Young Adults: Randomized Controlled Trial.” Jmir Mhealth Uhealth 6, no. 10 (October 18, 2018): e10471.

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Hopkins, Christina M., and Gary G. Bennett. “Weight-Related Terms Differentially Affect Self-Efficacy and Perception of Obesity.” Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 26, no. 9 (September 2018): 1405–11.

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McVay, Megan A., William S. Yancy, Gary G. Bennett, Seung-Hye Jung, and Corrine I. Voils. “Perceived barriers and facilitators of initiation of behavioral weight loss interventions among adults with obesity: a qualitative study.” Bmc Public Health 18, no. 1 (July 11, 2018): 854.

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Ayazi, M., K. T. Johnson, M. M. Merritt, M. R. Di Paolo, C. L. Edwards, H. G. Koenig, G. G. Bennett, K. A. Whitfield, and C. S. Barker. “Religiosity, Education, John Henryism Active Coping, and Cardiovascular Responses to Anger Recall for African American Men.” Journal of Black Psychology 44, no. 4 (May 1, 2018): 295–321.

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Azar, Kristen M. J., Gary G. Bennett, Laura A. Nolting, Lisa Goldman Rosas, Lora E. Burke, and Jun Ma. “A framework for examining the function of digital health technologies for weight management.” Translational Behavioral Medicine 8, no. 2 (March 2018): 280–94.

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Voils, Corrine I., Erica Levine, Jennifer M. Gierisch, Jane Pendergast, Sarah L. Hale, Megan A. McVay, Shelby D. Reed, et al. “Study protocol for Log2Lose: A feasibility randomized controlled trial to evaluate financial incentives for dietary self-monitoring and interim weight loss in adults with obesity.” Contemp Clin Trials 65 (February 2018): 116–22.

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Armstrong, Sarah, Alan Mendelsohn, Gary Bennett, Elsie M. Taveras, Amanda Kimberg, and Alex R. Kemper. “Texting Motivational Interviewing: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Motivational Interviewing Text Messages Designed to Augment Childhood Obesity Treatment.” Child Obes 14, no. 1 (January 2018): 4–10.

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Jake-Schoffman, Danielle E., Valerie J. Silfee, Molly E. Waring, Edwin D. Boudreaux, Rajani S. Sadasivam, Sean P. Mullen, Jennifer L. Carey, et al. “Methods for Evaluating the Content, Usability, and Efficacy of Commercial Mobile Health Apps.” Jmir Mhealth and Uhealth 5, no. 12 (December 18, 2017): e190.

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