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6th Annual Advanced Training Institute on Health Behavior Theory

July 14–July 21, 2012


Jeffrey Fisher, PhD
Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention, University of Connecticut

Dr. Jeffrey Fisher is a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut and the founding Director of its Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention. He has published extensively on factors associated with HIV risk behavior and has done conceptual and empirical work in the area of increasing HIV preventive behavior, as well as health behavior change in other domains. He has designed, implemented, and evaluated several effective HIV risk behavior change interventions in multiple populations. His work also focuses on increasing adherence to antiretrovirals and on health behavior change in general. Dr. Fisher's research on HIV to date has involved men who have sex with men, injection drug users, heterosexual adolescents, and individuals who are HIV infected. He has been awarded 9 major HIV risk reduction grants for the U.S. National Institutes of Health since 1989. Dr. Fisher has been involved with over $30.6 million in grants as Principal Investigator, Co-Director, or Co-Investigator, and has been Principal Investigator on $22.7 million in external grants. He has lectured and consulted internationally in the areas of HIV preventive behavior and adherence to medications. In addition, he has served on the National Institute of Mental Health Psychobiological, Biological, and Neuroscience Subcommittee, the Mental Health Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Research Review Committee, and the editorial boards of several journals. Dr. Fisher is a fellow of the American Psychological Society and Divisions 8, 9, and 34 of the American Psychological Association.

Jennifer Hay, PhD
Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Dr. Jennifer Hay, Associate Attending Psychologist at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, is a clinical health psychologist and behavioral scientist. Her primary research interests are in cancer prevention and control, and involve understanding the health behavior change process, particularly uptake and maintenance of cancer screening and sun protection behaviors. She has an ongoing research program examining cancer risk perception – both how such perceptions are formulated, and how they related to behavioral outcomes. In her NIH funded work she has examined family communication and health behavior change (screening, sun protection) in families affected by melanoma, has developed and validated a novel method to assess individuals’ intuitive beliefs about their own cancer risk, and is examining the role of cancer risk beliefs in determining adherence to colorectal cancer screening in diverse, multiethnic populations. She is also examining new ways of measuring variation in daily decision-making about sun protection, using state-of-the-art qualitative (ethnographic decision-tree modeling) and quantitative methods (ecological momentary assessment) in populations at risk for melanoma. Dr. Hay is a member of the NCI Physician Data Query (PDQ) Cancer Genetics Editorial Board and the Health Decision-Making Special Interest Group within the Society for Behavioral Medicine.

For additional information about Dr. Hay, please see:

Abby King, PhD
Department of Health Research and Policy; Stanford Center on Longevity, Stanford University

Dr. King is Professor of Health Research & Policy and Medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine. A recipient of the Award for Outstanding Scientific Contributions in the Area of Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association, Dr. King's research focuses on the applications of behavioral science theory and ecological models to the development, evaluation, and dissemination of public health interventions aimed at chronic disease prevention and control. In addition to her extensive work in the physical activity and aging area, her current research focuses on expanding the reach and generalizability of evidence-based interventions through the use of state-of-the-art communication technologies; examining person-environment interactions to enhance health; applying community-based participatory research perspectives to address health disparities among disadvantaged populations; and evaluating policy-level approaches to health promotion. She has served on a number of government taskforces in the U.S. and abroad, including membership on the U.S. Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Scientific Advisory Committee on National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives for 2020. Dr. King has been the recipient of a number of National Institutes of Health research grant awards. She is an elected member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, and President of the Society of Behavioral Medicine. In addition to the above scientific activities, she is committed to the professional development and mentoring of trainees and junior scientists, and in 2003 was the recipient of the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Distinguished Research Mentor Award.

Sarah Kobrin, PhD, MPH
Behavioral Research Program, National Cancer Institute

Sarah Kobrin, PhD, MPH has been working in the field of cancer control for more than 15 years; she is currently a Program Director in the National Cancer Institute’s Process of Care Research and Science of Research and Technology Branches. Dr. Kobrin manages projects related to health behavior theory; informed decision making, particularly under uncertainty; and measurement. She leads the Behavioral Research Program’s Advanced Training Institute on Health Behavior and has written about the use of health behavior theory in intervention research. Her research includes development of a scale, based on attitudes rather than beliefs, to assess perceptions of breast cancer risk. With a team at NCI, she led development of a measure of the process of decision making about screening with the PSA test for prostate cancer. Prior to moving to the NCI in December 2003, Dr. Kobrin was a Walther Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Duke University Cancer Prevention and Control Program. She trained at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Public Health.

Robin Mermelstein, PhD
Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois

Robin Mermelstein, PhD. is Director of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), Professor in the Department of Psychology, and Clinical Professor of Community Health Sciences at UIC. Dr. Mermelstein has been active in health-behavior related research for over 25 years, with continuous NIH funding as a Principal Investigator on grants since 1986. She is nationally recognized for her expertise in understanding trajectories and developmental patterns of youth smoking, for employing novel approaches to studying contextual factors in the development of nicotine dependence, for developing innovative health behavior clinical interventions for adolescents and adults, and for methodological issues in conducting tobacco-related research. Dr. Mermelstein is currently the Principal Investigator on a NCI-funded program project grant, “Social and Emotional Contexts of Adolescent Smoking Patterns,” which will provide an in-depth, multi-level study of the patterns and predictors of adolescent and young adult smoking and the development of dependence, as well as the Principal Investigator on two other projects examining novel interventions for smoking cessation. Dr. Mermelstein has served on several Scientific Advisory Committees for national boards and university-based research centers and institutes, along with serving on many NIH review committees, including being a former standing member of the NCI-A Cancer Centers review committee and a current member of the NIDA-K study section. In addition to her own funded research, Dr. Mermelstein has been an active mentor for many graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and junior faculty, and in 2006 received the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Clinical Mentor Award.

Melissa Riddle, PhD
Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Branch, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research

Melissa Riddle earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1991. During her time as a UCLA Bruin, Melissa learned behavioral approaches for treating autism, for conducting in-home family therapy, and for data management for community-based studies on HIV risk. Melissa received a doctorate in clinical psychology from the University of Arizona in 1998. Her doctoral research combined family therapy and health psychology, asking questions related to how patients and their families cope with chronic or serious illness. In 1998, 3 days after defending her dissertation, Melissa started a 2 ½ year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania. During this fellowship, her research and clinical care focused on the psychosocial impact of genetic testing for breast and ovarian cancer for women and their families. In 2001, Melissa joined the National Institute on Drug Abuse at the National Institutes of Health, overseeing a grants program on behavioral treatments for drug addiction and HIV risk behavior. She joined the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) in 2007, as chief of a new branch on behavioral and social sciences research. Her vision for the NIDCR program is to support rigorous and relevant oral health research that contributes meaningfully to advancing public health. An essential step in achieving this vision is to integrate health behavior theory into basic and applied behavioral and social sciences research in oral health. The NIDCR is pleased to collaborate on the ATI in Health Behavior Theory, and encourages applications from oral health researchers.

NIDCR Behavioral and Social Sciences Research Branch website:

William Riley, PhD
Clinical Applications and Prevention Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute

William (Bill) Riley, Ph.D. is a Program Director in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and is responsible for managing grant portfolios in tobacco control and other cardiovascular and respiratory risk behaviors. He also serves as the Chair of the NIH mHealth Inter-Institute Interest Group. Dr. Riley received his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the Florida State University. He served as Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Health Behavior at the Medical College of Georgia, and as Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University. Dr. Riley was Director of Research at PICS, Inc., a health behavior research and technology firm, from 1999 until 2005 when he joined NIH. He served as Deputy Director in the Division of AIDS and Health Behavior Research before joining NHLBI in 2009. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Prevention and Community Health at the George Washington University School of Public Health. His research areas include eHealth and mHealth applications, tobacco dependence, diet/exercise adherence, insomnia treatment, and behavioral assessment.

Alexander Rothman, PhD
Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

Dr. Rothman received his Ph.D. in psychology from Yale University and is currently the Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Programs, College of Liberal Arts and a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Rothman's primary program of research concerns the application of social psychological theory to illness prevention and health promotion and is comprised of a synthesis of basic research on how people process and respond to health information with the development and evaluation of theory-based interventions to promote healthy behavior. He has published a series of articles that examine how people evaluate and process risk-relevant information and has helped to identify the conditions under which people are receptive to information about personal vulnerability. He has also conducted and published several theory-based interventions that test the influence of different forms of persuasive health messages on the performance of a range of health behaviors such as screening mammography and sun screen utilization. In his most recent work, Dr. Rothman has focused on how the relation between people's health beliefs and health behavior unfolds over time. In particular, he has delineated the different decision processes that guide the initiation and maintenance of long-term self-regulatory behavior. In recognition of his work, Dr. Rothman received the 2002 Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology in the area of Health Psychology from the American Psychological Association.

Dr. Rothman's page ( on the University of Minnesota Web site.

Last Updated: January 9, 2012

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