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National Cancer Institute

Leadership Announcement in Health Behaviors Research at the NCI

Susan Czajkowski

Dr. Susan Czajkowski has been appointed Chief of the Health Behaviors Research Branch (HBRB) within the National Cancer Institute (NCI) Behavioral Research Program, Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences. HBRB supports research on cancer prevention and control in areas including diet, energy balance, physical activity, sleep, sun safety, protection from viral exposure, and genetic influences on behaviors. Dr. Czajkowski’s expertise in health behavior interventions as well as psychosocial aspects of disease and health-related quality of life will help guide the research agenda in HBRB and inform new initiatives in the Behavioral Research Program, led by Associate Director, Dr. William Klein.

“Dr. Czajkowski’s exceptional track record in collaboration and innovation of behavioral and social science research is an incredibly valuable addition to NCI,” noted Dr. Klein. “Her scientific leadership experiences and expertise make her an ideal Branch Chief and member of our program leadership team.”

Dr. Czajkowski first joined the National Institutes of Health in 1987 when she became a Project Officer in the Behavioral Medicine Research Group at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI). Since that time, she has become an expert in the role of social and psychological factors in disease risk and recovery. She has most recently served as a Program Director for the Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch at NHLBI and in that role, developed and led initiatives on the effects of depression treatment on cardiovascular disease outcomes, improvement of adherence to lifestyle and medical therapies, and translation of basic behavioral science findings into health-related behavioral interventions.

Her interest in early-phase translational behavioral science prompted her to initiate and serve as lead Project Officer for the Obesity-Related Behavioral Intervention Trials (ORBIT) consortium, a trans-NIH network of seven projects aimed at developing innovative behavioral interventions to reduce obesity using findings from basic research on human behavior. A major product of the ORBIT consortium has been the development of the ORBIT Model, a systematic framework for developing behavioral treatments for preventing and treating chronic diseases that was recently published in Health Psychology. Other recent collaborations include participation in the Science of Behavior Change Initiative, the Basic Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Opportunity Network (OppNet), and the Office of Behavioral and Social Sciences Research coordinating committee. She received a bachelor’s degree from George Mason University and a master’s and doctorate in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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