Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Research Training

The University of Pittsburgh

Director: Karen Matthews, PhD
Address, phone, e-mail


The purpose of our program is to provide advanced training in cardiovascular behavioral medicine research to postdoctoral and predoctoral trainees. Specifically, our training program is designed to foster proficiency in four distinct areas: 1) Research methods and statistics, whereby the basic skills necessary for conducting research and for drawing valid inferences from empirical data are developed; 2) Cardiovascular physiology and psychophysiology, through which an understanding is established of cardiovascular functioning in the healthy human, and the availability of new technological advances that allow measurement of function; 3) Cardiovascular diseases, including distributions in human populations and principles of pathophysiology and physiology as related to disorders of the heart and vasculature and new tools to image subclinical and clinical cardiovascular diseases; and, 4) Principles of behavior and behavioral change through which an understanding is developed of such topics as learning, motivation, attitude and behavior change in individuals. This program benefits from the participation of enthusiastic and committed faculty from the Departments of Psychiatry, Medicine, Psychology, and Epidemiology, who are involved in collaborative research programs in cardiovascular behavioral medicine; the availability of appropriate course offerings in the School of Medicine, Graduate School of Public Health, and Department of Psychology targeted to achieve competency in the four distinct areas of cardiovascular behavioral medicine; a history of multidisciplinary research and training efforts by the above departments and their faculty; and new training resources at the University of Pittsburgh. Postdoctoral trainees can be physicians who have completed their residency in relevant specialties or doctorates in psychology or a related academic field and predoctoral students are individuals with a four-year college degree.

Areas of Special Emphasis

The cardiovascular behavioral medicine program is designed to foster proficiency in four areas: (1) Research methodology and statistics, whereby the basic skills necessary for designing and conducting research and for drawing valid inferences from empirical data; (2) Cardiovascular physiology and psychophysiology.

Type of Training: Pre-doctoral and Post-doctoral

Key Faculty Available as Preceptors

Howard Aizenstein, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry (BioEngineering). Cognitive neuroscience of late-life depression, functional MRI in geriatric neuropsychiatry and computational methods for analyzing neuroimages.

Bernie Devlin, PhD, Associate Professor, Psychiatry (Human Genetics). Statistical methods for analysis of cardiovascular disease, genetic basis of disease and related phenotypes.

Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob, PhD, Professor and Dean, Nuring (Psychology, Epidemiology, and Occupational Therapy). Adherence to medication regimens, behavioral medicine.

Daniel Edmundowicz, MD, Associate Professor, Medicine. Electron beam CT, lipids, preventive heart care, out-patient services.

Robert Ferrell, PhD, Professor, Human Genetics. Genetic factors in cardiovascular disease.

Peter Gianaros, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry (Psychology). Neurobehavioral factors in heart disease risk, autonomic and cardiovascular psychophysiology, chronic stress effects on brain morphology.

Martica Hall, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry (Psychology). Psychological, social and biological factors that impact sleep.

John Jakicic, PhD., Chair and Associate Professor, Health and Physical Activity (Psychiatry). Physical activity, obesity, chronic disease prevention and treatment.

J. Richard Jennings, PhD, Professor, Psychiatry (Psychology). Psychological factors in heart disease, brain control of cardiovascular function, cognitive neuroscience.

Thomas Kamarck, PhD, Professor, Psychology. Psychosocial factors in heart disease, ambulatory blood pressure, ecological momentary assessment.

Marsha Marcus, MD, PhD, Professor, Psychiatry (Psychology). Eating disorders, obesity, health-related behaviors in women.

Kenneth Perkins, PhD, Professor, Psychiatry (Epidemiology, Psychology). Behavioral pharmacology of nicotine and cigarette smoking humans.

Steven Reis, MD, Professor and Associate Vice Chancellor of Clinical Research, Health Sciences. Medicine (Emergency Medicine). Identification and evaluation of pathophysiologic mechanisms of racial, gender and socioeconomic disparities in cardiovascular disease.

Bruce Rollman, MD, MPH, Associate Professor, Medicine (Psychiatry). Clinical trials for treating depression and anxiety disorders in non-psychiatric settings, primary care, health services research, impact of depression on co-morbid medical illness.

Michael Scheier, PhD, Professor and Head, Psychology. Personality and disease, stress and coping.

Kim Sutton-Tyrrell, Dr.P.H., Professor, Epiedmiology. Peripheral vascular disease, carotid artery disease, carotid ultrasound randomized clinical trials.

Rebecca Thurston, PhD, Assistant Professor, Psychiatry (Epidemiology). Menopause, menopausal symptoms, health disparities, women and heart disease.

Last updated: January, 2009

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