Dean Gary Bennett is Speaker for 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Medicine Grand Rounds

Behavioral scientist, Gary Bennett, PhD, Dean of Duke University Trinity College of Arts & Sciences will deliver the Duke Department of Medicine’s 2024 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Medicine Grand Rounds on Friday, January 12, 2024 at 8 a.m. in the Trent Semans Great Hall, and via Zoom.

He will speak on the topic, “You Have to Keep Moving Forward: Obesity in High-Risk Populations.”

Dr. Bennett is a professor of psychology and neuroscience, global health, medicine (Nephrology), and nursing, and is the founding director of the Duke Digital Health Science Center. He is a global leader in designing, testing, and disseminating digital behavior change interventions. Bennett developed the interactive obesity treatment approach (iOTA); his recent work demonstrates the effectiveness of digital strategies in treating obesity in the primary care setting.

Learning objectives for the MLK lecture include understanding the descriptive and social epidemiology of obesity among U.S. high risk populations, the empirical evidence on obesity interventions deployed among obesity high risk populations, and an appraisal of promising obesity treatment options for these populations.

Dr. Bennett began a five-year term as dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences on Feb. 1, 2023 where he is responsible for defining and articulating the strategic mission of Trinity College, ensuring a world-class liberal arts education in a research environment for all students, and attracting, retaining, and nurturing a diverse community of distinguished faculty. He has authored nearly 200 scientific papers, and his research program has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health with more than $20 million in grant support.

From 2018-2019, Dr. Bennett served as president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the nation’s largest organization of behavior change scientists. He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and an elected member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and Behavioral Medicine Research Council.

Dr. Bennett’s findings have influenced obesity treatment guidelines, and the Surgeon General recommended their widespread implementation. He has served on numerous NIH committees, grant review panels, editorial boards, and guidelines councils. His research has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Time, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, and many other media outlets. To facilitate dissemination of evidence-based strategies, he advises numerous healthcare and health technology organizations.

Prior to assuming his role as dean of Trinity College, Bennett served as vice provost for undergraduate education, where he provided strategic vision and leadership for many facets of Duke’s undergraduate experience. As vice provost, he also oversaw the Office of Undergraduate Education. Under Dr. Bennett’s leadership, Duke introduced a number of advancements to make the undergraduate experience more enriching and equitable for all students, including the DukeLIFE program to support first-generation and low-income students, and QuadEx – Duke’s inclusive living and learning model that integrates undergraduates’ social, residential and intellectual experiences.

Bennett has also co-founded three digital health ventures. Crimson Health Solutions developed digital disease management interventions and was acquired by Health Dialog in 2007. In 2014, he co­founded 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 also a co-founder of Coeus Health, a leading provider of health application programming interfaces (APIs). He advises leading digital health and consumer electronic organizations on the science of health behavior change.

Before joining Duke in 2009, Bennett served on the faculties of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College, an A.M. and Ph.D. in clinical health psychology at Duke, completed an internship in medical clinical psychology at the Duke University Medical Center, and was the Alonzo Smythe Yerby postdoctoral fellow in social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.


About the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Medicine Grand Rounds

Hosted by the Duke Department of Medicine Minority Recruitment and Retention Committee, the Martin Luther King Jr., Memorial Medicine Grand Rounds honors the memory of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and is held on the Friday before the MLK holiday.

Continuing Medical Education Credits

CME: Physician Credit - Duke Continuing Education designates Medicine Grand Rounds and Duke Medicine Learning, Education, and Discussion Series (LEADS) activity for a maximum of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians must attend the CME activity, must have an active ETHOS account, and must text their attendance (with the weekly text code) to 919-213-8033 starting at 8:00am and must do so within 24 hours. GME Trainees are not eligible for CME credit. 

MOC-ABIM: Successful completion of this CME activity, which includes participation in the evaluation component, enables the participant to earn up to one (1) MOC credit in the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. It is the CME activity provider’s responsibility to submit participant completion information to ACCME for the purpose of granting ABIM MOC credit.