Dean Gary G. Bennett

Gary Bennett

Gary G. Bennett began a five-year term as Dean of Trinity College of Arts & Sciences on Feb. 1, 2023. As dean, he is responsible for defining and articulating the strategic mission of Trinity College, ensuring a world-class liberal arts education in a research environment for all students, and attracting, retaining, and nurturing a diverse community of distinguished faculty.

Bennett is a professor of psychology & neuroscience, global health, medicine, and nursing, and is the founding director of the Duke Digital Health Science Center. He is a global leader in designing, testing, and disseminating digital behavior change interventions. Bennett developed the interactive obesity treatment approach (iOTA); his recent work demonstrates the effectiveness of digital strategies in treating obesity in the primary care setting.

Bennett has authored nearly 200 scientific papers, and his research program has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health with more than $20 million in grant support. From 2018-2019, Dr. Bennett served as president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the nation’s largest organization of behavior change scientists. He is a fellow of the Association for Psychological Science and an elected member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and Behavioral Medicine Research Council.

Bennett’s findings have influenced obesity treatment guidelines, and the Surgeon General recommended their widespread implementation. He has served on numerous NIH committees, grant review panels, editorial boards, and guidelines councils. His research has been featured in the New York Times, NPR, Time, CBS, ABC, NBC, Fox News, and many other media outlets. To facilitate dissemination of evidence-based strategies, he advises numerous healthcare and health technology organizations.

Prior to assuming his role as dean of Trinity College, Bennett served as vice provost for undergraduate education, where he provided strategic vision and leadership for many facets of Duke’s undergraduate experience. As vice provost, he also oversaw the Office of Undergraduate Education, which is comprised of 15 units that enrich Duke’s undergraduate academic experience through academic advising, academic support, nationally competitive scholarships, merit scholar programs, financial aid, study abroad, and several co-curricular programs. Under Bennett’s leadership, Duke introduced a number of advancements to make the undergraduate experience more enriching and equitable for all students, including the DukeLIFE program to support first-generation and low-income students, and QuadEx – Duke’s inclusive living and learning model that integrates undergraduates’ social, residential and intellectual experiences.

Bennett is a member of Duke’s Bass Society of Fellows and is the founding director of Duke’s undergraduate major in global health. He has served on committees to examine Duke’s undergraduate curriculum and develop the university’s strategic plan, and he has co-led the Board of Trustees Undergraduate Education Committee since 2018. His students’ course ratings have repeatedly placed Bennett in the top 5 percent of Duke’s undergraduate instructors.

Bennett has also co-founded three digital health ventures. Crimson Health Solutions developed digital disease management interventions and was acquired by Health Dialog in 2007. In 2014, he co­founded Scale Down, a digital obesity treatment startup based on the science of daily self-weighing. Scale Down was acquired by Anthem in 2017. He is also a co-founder of Coeus Health, a leading provider of health application programming interfaces (APIs). He advises leading digital health and consumer electronic organizations on the science of health behavior change.

Before joining Duke in 2009, Bennett served on the faculties of the Harvard School of Public Health and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He earned a bachelor’s degree at Morehouse College, an A.M. and Ph.D. in clinical health psychology at Duke, completed an internship in medical clinical psychology at the Duke University Medical Center, and was the Alonzo Smythe Yerby postdoctoral fellow in social epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Bennett lives in Raleigh with his wife – who is also a Duke alum – and his two daughters.

  • Alonzo Smythe Yerby Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard School of Public Health
  • PhD in Clinical Health Psychology, Duke University
  • A.M. in Clinical Health Psychology, Duke University
  • B.A. in Psychology, Morehouse College
Curriculum Vitae
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