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Expert in Biobehavioral Medicine Joins University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute

PITTSBURGH, Sept. 11 – Dana H. Bovbjerg, Ph.D., a nationally renowned expert in biobehavioral oncology research, has joined the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) as director of the Biobehavioral Medicine Program. Dr. Bovbjerg also holds a faculty appointment as a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.

At UPCI, Dr. Bovbjerg plans to focus the Biobehavioral Medicine Program’s research and clinical efforts on improving patients’ psychological and biological responses to cancer treatment. He also plans a renewed emphasis on a transdisciplinary approach for exploring the broader behavioral and mind/body effects related to cancer that will call upon the expertise of both basic and applied researchers from the schools of Arts & Sciences, Medicine, Nursing, Public Health and Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, as well as faculty from Carnegie Mellon University. “We know the mind influences cancer through effects on risk behaviors like smoking and exercise, but we need to know more about how to help individuals consistently make healthy choices,” said Dr. Bovbjerg. “We also need to know much more about how unconscious activities of the brain may influence those choices and may even have more direct bodily effects on the development of cancer and the response to treatment.”  

“Dr. Bovbjerg will be a wonderful asset to UPCI,” said Ronald Herberman, M.D., director of UPCI and the UPMC Cancer Centers. “His wealth of experience and his leadership will help the program reach its goals, including a better understanding of how the mind and body interact in individuals at risk for cancer, in patients undergoing treatment and in cancer survivors.”

Prior to joining UPCI, Dr. Bovbjerg directed the Biobehavioral Medicine Program at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York. He also has held faculty positions at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell University Medical College.

Dr. Bovbjerg received a doctorate in neuroscience from the University of Rochester School of Medicine in Rochester, New York, and has undergraduate degrees in philosophy and psychology. In addition to serving as a consulting editor for a wide range of research journals, he has served as an associate editor for The Annals of Behavioral Medicine and on the editorial boards of Brain; Behavior and Immunity; Health Psychology and Psychosomatic Medicine. Elected a member of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research and a fellow in the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Dr. Bovbjerg has served on numerous research grant review panels for the National Institutes of Health and other funding agencies, both in the United States and internationally.

Founded in 1984, the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute became a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center in only six years, a record time. UPCI, the only cancer center in western Pennsylvania with this elite designation, serves the region’s population of more than six million. Presently, UPCI receives a total of $174 million in research grants and is ranked 10th in funding from NCI.

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