Gary G. Bennett

Bishop-MacDermott Family Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience

Education & Training

  • Ph.D., Duke University 2002

  • M.A., Duke University 1999

  • B.A., Morehouse College 1997


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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, co-directs the Duke Center for Biobehavioral Health Disparities Research 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.


Obesity, digital health, mHealth, intervention, medically vulnerable populations, population health, dissemination

Steinberg, DM, Christy, J, Batch, BC, Askew, S, Moore, RH, Parker, P, and Bennett, GG. "Preventing Weight Gain Improves Sleep Quality Among Black Women: Results from a RCT." Annals of behavioral medicine : a publication of the Society of Behavioral Medicine (February 17, 2017). Full Text

Benjamin Neelon, SE, Østbye, T, Bennett, GG, Kravitz, RM, Clancy, SM, Stroo, M, Iversen, E, and Hoyo, C. "Cohort profile for the Nurture Observational Study examining associations of multiple caregivers on infant growth in the Southeastern USA." BMJ open 7.2 (February 8, 2017): e013939-. Full Text

Winkler, MR, Bennett, GG, and Brandon, DH. "Factors related to obesity and overweight among Black adolescent girls in the United States." Women & health 57.2 (February 2017): 208-248. Full Text

Winkler, MR, Moore, ED, Bennett, GG, Armstrong, SC, and Brandon, DH. "Parent-adolescent influences on everyday dietary practices: Perceptions of adolescent females with obesity and their mothers." Maternal & child nutrition (January 17, 2017). Full Text

Greaney, ML, Askew, S, Foley, P, Wallington, SF, and Bennett, GG. "Linking patients with community resources: use of a free YMCA membership among low-income black women." Translational behavioral medicine (August 2, 2016).

McVay, MA, Steinberg, DM, Askew, S, Kaphingst, KA, and Bennett, GG. "Genetic causal attributions for weight status and weight loss during a behavioral weight gain prevention intervention." Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics 18.5 (May 2016): 476-482. Full Text

Shaw, RJ, Pollak, K, Zullig, LL, Bennett, G, Hawkins, K, and Lipkus, I. "Feasibility and Smokers' Evaluation of Self-Generated Text Messages to Promote Quitting." Nicotine & tobacco research : official journal of the Society for Research on Nicotine and Tobacco 18.5 (May 2016): 1206-1209. Full Text

Shaw, RJ, Steinberg, DM, Bonnet, J, Modarai, F, George, A, Cunningham, T, Mason, M, Shahsahebi, M, Grambow, SC, Bennett, GG, and Bosworth, HB. "Mobile health devices: will patients actually use them?." Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association : JAMIA 23.3 (May 2016): 462-466. Full Text

Foley, P, Steinberg, D, Levine, E, Askew, S, Batch, BC, Puleo, EM, Svetkey, LP, Bosworth, HB, DeVries, A, Miranda, H, and Bennett, GG. "Track: A randomized controlled trial of a digital health obesity treatment intervention for medically vulnerable primary care patients." Contemporary clinical trials 48 (May 2016): 12-20. Full Text

Herring, SJ, Cruice, JF, Bennett, GG, Rose, MZ, Davey, A, and Foster, GD. "Preventing excessive gestational weight gain among African American women: A randomized clinical trial." Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 24.1 (January 2016): 30-36. Full Text


Emmons, KM, Puleo, E, Viswanath, V, Gillman, MW, Bennett, GG, Haines, J, Sprunck-Harrild, K, and Greaney, M. "COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS OF HEALTHY DIRECTIONS-2, A MULTIPLE RISK FACTOR INTERVENTION FOR PRIMARY CARE SETTINGS." September 2012.

A Pragmatic Trial of a Digital Health Intervention to Prevent Weight Gain in Primary Care awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2021

Optimizing a standalone text messaging-based weight loss intervention awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2017 to 2021

MIGHTY MEN: A Faith-Based Weight Loss Program to Reduce Cancer Disparties awarded by Vanderbilt University (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2020

Increasing uptake of behavioral weight loss programs among primary care patients awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2015 to 2020

UBCU PRIDE Program awarded by University of Mississippi (Principal Investigator). 2015 to 2018

Lanpher 2016 APA Dissertation Research awarded by American Psychological Association (Principal Investigator). 2016 to 2017

New Media Obesity Treatment in Community Health Centers awarded by National Institutes of Health (Principal Investigator). 2012 to 2017

Early child care and risk of obesity awarded by Johns Hopkins University - School of Public Health (Co Investigator). 2015 to 2017

Early child care and risk of obesity awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2012 to 2017

Duke Training Grant in Nephrology awarded by National Institutes of Health (Preceptor). 1995 to 2017