Duke UniversityResearch focus: Obesity treatment
Dr. Gary Bennett works to design, test, and disseminate digital obesity treatments. Much of his work is conducted in the primary care setting, particularly in community health centers.
Dr. Bennett has leveraged his training in clinical psychology, behavioral medicine, and social epidemiology, and his experience in software programming to develop new digital health technologies for deployment among medically vulnerable patient populations. He developed the interactive obesity treatment approach (iOTA), which is currently being evaluated in several trials, both domestically and abroad.
Nationally, few low-cost, evidence-based obesity treatments are available in the primary care setting. Although provider-delivered lifestyle counseling can be helpful, it occurs infrequently. Capacity and reimbursement issues constrain the widespread availability of primary care-based dietitian counseling services. Compounding the challenge, there has been little uptake of evidence-based behavioral weight management interventions in primary care.
Indeed, very few studies have investigated the efficacy of behavioral weight management interventions in the primary care setting; even fewer of these studies have included sociodemographically diverse patient populations. The inability to reliably produce clinically meaningful weight loss among medically vulnerable populations has been a persistent public health challenge.
During the past half-decade, Dr. Bennett’s lab has made important strides in using digital health technology to improve obesity treatment among medically vulnerable adults. His lab has demonstrated the ability to create scalable, fully automated, and highly personalized intervention technologies that produce high rates of engagement and deliver clinically meaningful outcomes in these high-risk patient populations. Visit Dr. Bennett’s website.
Reach out to Dr. Bennett on Twitter to say THANK YOU for the psychological research that he does! And be sure to use the hashtag #thankascientist.