Gary G. Bennett

Gary G. Bennett

Professor in the Department 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 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, Dori M., et al. “Feasibility of a Digital Health Intervention to Improve Diet Quality Among Women With High Blood Pressure: Randomized Controlled Feasibility Trial.Jmir Mhealth Uhealth, vol. 8, no. 12, Dec. 2020, p. e17536. Pubmed, doi:10.2196/17536. Full Text

Nwosu, Chinemerem, et al. “Influence of Caretakers' Health Literacy on Delays to Traumatic Brain Injury Care in Uganda.Ann Glob Health, vol. 86, no. 1, Oct. 2020, p. 127. Pubmed, doi:10.5334/aogh.2978. Full Text

Benjamin-Neelon, Sara E., et al. “Early Child Care and Weight Status in a Cohort of Predominantly Black Infants in the Southeastern United States.Child Obes, vol. 16, no. 2, Mar. 2020, pp. 122–28. Pubmed, doi:10.1089/chi.2019.0127. Full Text

Smith, Kevin W., et al. “A Structural Model of Social Determinants of the Metabolic Syndrome.Ethnicity & Disease, vol. 30, no. 2, Jan. 2020, pp. 331–38. Epmc, doi:10.18865/ed.30.2.331. Full Text

McVay, Megan A., et al. “Dose-response research in digital health interventions: Concepts, considerations, and challenges.Health Psychol, vol. 38, no. 12, Dec. 2019, pp. 1168–74. Pubmed, doi:10.1037/hea0000805. Full Text

Herring, Sharon J., et al. “Targeting pregnancy-related weight gain to reduce disparities in obesity: Baseline results from the Healthy Babies trial.Contemporary Clinical Trials, vol. 87, Dec. 2019, p. 105822. Epmc, doi:10.1016/j.cct.2019.105822. Full Text

Gallis, John A., et al. “Randomization procedures for multicomponent behavioral intervention factorial trials in the multiphase optimization strategy framework: challenges and recommendations.Transl Behav Med, vol. 9, no. 6, Nov. 2019, pp. 1047–56. Pubmed, doi:10.1093/tbm/iby131. Full Text

Patel, M. L., et al. “Early weight loss in a standalone mHealth intervention predicting treatment success.Obesity Science & Practice, vol. 5, no. 3, June 2019, pp. 231–37. Epmc, doi:10.1002/osp4.329. Full Text

McVay, Megan, et al. “Provider Counseling and Weight Loss Outcomes in a Primary Care-Based Digital Obesity Treatment.Journal of General Internal Medicine, vol. 34, no. 6, June 2019, pp. 992–98. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s11606-019-04944-5. Full Text

Berger, Miriam B., et al. “The Balance protocol: a pragmatic weight gain prevention randomized controlled trial for medically vulnerable patients within primary care.Bmc Public Health, vol. 19, no. 1, May 2019, p. 596. Pubmed, doi:10.1186/s12889-019-6926-7. Full Text


Patel, Michele L., et al. “Consistent self-monitoring in a commercial app-based intervention for weight loss: results from a randomized trial.Journal of Behavioral Medicine, vol. 43, no. 3, 2020, pp. 391–401. Epmc, doi:10.1007/s10865-019-00091-8. Full Text


Selected Grants

Pursuit of Purpose and Vocation awarded by Duke Endowment (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2024

Diet and Hypertension Management in Chronic Kidney Disease awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co-Mentor). 2019 to 2024

Guiding Academic Excellence for the Next Generation of Duke Undergraduates awarded by Duke Endowment (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2024

Using digital health to improve diet quality among adults at risk for cardiovasclar disease awarded by National Institutes of Health (Co Investigator). 2019 to 2024

Duke CTSA (TL1) 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

Partnering with WIC to prevent excessive weight gain in pregnancy awarded by Temple University (Principal Investigator). 2020 to 2021

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

Greenlight Plus Study:A Randomized Study Of Approaches To Early Childhood Obesity Prevention awarded by Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Co Investigator). 2019 to 2021