Gary G. Bennett, Ph.D. is the Bishop-MacDermott Family Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, Global Health and Medicine at Duke University. He also serves as Duke’s Vice Provost of Undergraduate Education, where he leads and coordinates undergraduate academic, curricular and co-curricular policy across organizational lines and serves as the primary spokesperson for the undergraduate experience. Dr. Bennett also directs the Duke Global Digital Health Science Center. Dr. Bennett is the Immediate Past President of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.
Dr. Bennett’s research program designs, tests, and disseminates digital obesity treatments. He is especially interested in integrating digital health treatments into the primary care setting, particularly those that serve medically vulnerable patients. Dr. Bennett developed the interactive obesity treatment approach (iOTA); his recent work demonstrates the effectiveness of coach-led, obesity treatments – delivered via app, texting, and interactive voice response – in preventing obesity and improving cardiometabolic functioning. His intervention trials in medically vulnerable communities have been the focus of numerous invited addresses for professional and lay audiences. He has authored more than 125 scientific papers, including articles published in JAMA, JAMA Internal Medicine, American Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, American Journal of Public Health, Social Science and Medicine, and the Annals of Behavioral Medicine. His research program has been continuously supported by the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Bennett’s research has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Time, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, and many other media outlets. Dr. Bennett has served on numerous NIH panels, editorial boards, guidelines committees, and advises several health care, and health technology organizations. Bennett is a member of the American Psychological Association’s obesity treatment guidelines panel and works with committees at Girl Trek, the Institute of Medicine, American Heart Association, and American Council on Exercise to reduce Americans’ high rates of obesity and physical inactivity.
Dr. Bennett also co-founded three digital health startups. Crimson Health Solutions developed digital interventions for disease management companies. Crimson was acquired by Health Dialog in 2007. In 2014, he co-founded Scale Down, a digital obesity treatment startup based on the science of daily self-weighing. Scale Down was acquired by Anthem in 2017.
At Duke, Dr. Bennett is a member of Duke’s Bass Society of Fellows, is the founding director of Duke’s undergraduate major in global health, has served on committees to examine Duke’s undergraduate curriculum and develop the university’s strategic plan. His students’ course ratings have repeatedly placed Dr. Bennett in the top 5% of Duke’s undergraduate instructors.
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, a PhD in clinical health psychology at Duke University, and completed postdoctoral studies in social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.