Gary G. Bennett

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


Please note that this is not our primary website.

To learn more about Dr. Bennett, please visit:

To learn more about Dr. Bennett's work with Duke Digital Health, please visit:

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.


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

Bennett, GG, Steinberg, D, Askew, S, Levine, E, Foley, P, Batch, BC, Svetkey, LP, Bosworth, HB, Puleo, EM, Brewer, A, DeVries, A, and Miranda, H. "Effectiveness of an App and Provider Counseling for Obesity Treatment in Primary Care." American Journal of Preventive Medicine 55.6 (December 2018): 777-786. Full Text

Hopkins, CM, and Bennett, GG. "Weight-Related Terms Differentially Affect Self-Efficacy and Perception of Obesity." Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.) 26.9 (September 2018): 1405-1411. Full Text

McVay, MA, Yancy, WS, Bennett, GG, Jung, S-H, and Voils, CI. "Perceived barriers and facilitators of initiation of behavioral weight loss interventions among adults with obesity: a qualitative study." Bmc Public Health 18.1 (July 11, 2018): 854-null. Full Text

Ayazi, M, Johnson, KT, Merritt, MM, Di Paolo, MR, Edwards, CL, Koenig, HG, Bennett, GG, Whitfield, KA, and Barker, CS. "Religiosity, Education, John Henryism Active Coping, and Cardiovascular Responses to Anger Recall for African American Men." Journal of Black Psychology 44.4 (May 2018): 295-321. Full Text

Azar, KMJ, Bennett, GG, Nolting, LA, Rosas, LG, Burke, LE, and Ma, J. "A framework for examining the function of digital health technologies for weight management." Translational Behavioral Medicine 8.2 (March 2018): 280-294. Full Text

Pagoto, SL, and Bennett, GG. "Healthy Lifestyle for All Through Patient Care and Policy." JAMA internal medicine 178.1 (January 2018): 152-153. Full Text

Armstrong, S, Mendelsohn, A, Bennett, G, Taveras, EM, Kimberg, A, and Kemper, AR. "Texting Motivational Interviewing: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Motivational Interviewing Text Messages Designed to Augment Childhood Obesity Treatment." Childhood Obesity 14.1 (January 2018): 4-10. Full Text

Buscemi, J, Bennett, GG, Gorin, SS, Pagoto, SL, Sallis, JF, Wilson, DK, and Fitzgibbon, ML. "A 6-year update of the health policy and advocacy priorities of the Society of Behavioral Medicine." Translational Behavioral Medicine 7.4 (December 2017): 903-911. Full Text

Bennett, GG, and Shelton, RC. "Extending Our Reach for Greater Impact." Health Education & Behavior : the Official Publication of the Society for Public Health Education 44.6 (December 2017): 835-838. Full Text

Greaney, ML, Askew, S, Wallington, SF, Foley, PB, Quintiliani, LM, and Bennett, GG. "The effect of a weight gain prevention intervention on moderate-vigorous physical activity among black women: the Shape Program." The international journal of behavioral nutrition and physical activity 14.1 (October 16, 2017): 139-. 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.

Selected Grants

Duke CTSA (TL1) awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2018 to 2023

Duke CTSA (KL2) awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2018 to 2023

Building Interdisciplinary Research Careers in Women's Health awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2002 to 2022

Dissemination and Implementation Science in Cardiovascular Outcomes (DISCO) awarded by National Institutes of Health (Mentor). 2017 to 2022

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

MMUF 2018-19 awarded by Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (Principal Investigator). 2018 to 2019