Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Dori Rosenberg

“By listening to patients, we can discover ways to more practically and meaningfully bring innovative prevention and treatment programs into health care systems, communities, and homes. My research goal is to help people of all ages and abilities develop healthy, lifelong active habits.”

Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Associate Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Associate Professor, Health Systems Science, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine

Biography

Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH, has conducted extensive research into physical activity and sedentary time, with a central focus on older adults and people with chronic conditions, who often face substantial barriers to engaging in physical activity. Dr. Rosenberg has a particular interest in helping to build an evidence base for the health effects of sedentary time, given that the vast majority of people’s waking hours are spent sitting, yet we are only starting to understand how this impacts health.

Dr. Rosenberg currently leads the Healthy Aging Resources to Thrive (HART) Trial. HART is testing the effects of sitting reduction on cardiovascular and metabolic health outcomes through a large randomized controlled trial.  Dr. Rosenberg also leads the accelerometer sub-study of the Adult Changes in Thought (ACT) cohort study where she is examining how 24-hour activity cycle behaviors (sedentary time, physical activity, sleep) are associated with cognition and physical function in older adults.

A key step in better understanding sedentary behaviors is having validated measures. Dr. Rosenberg validated the widely used Sedentary Behavior Questionnaire, which is a self-reported measure of sedentary time (see below to learn more). She has also contributed to studies on sedentary behavior measurement with accelerometers, including machine learning approaches.

As part of her epidemiologic research, Dr. Rosenberg investigates how aspects of the built environment — such as parks, open space, and sidewalks — encourage better health, particularly as we age. Further, she is interested in the ways social determinants of health in early life, including the neighborhood environment, impact cognitive and physical aging and is exploring this in the ACT cohort.

In her intervention research, Dr. Rosenberg employs mobile health approaches to promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary time, including in a recent micro-randomized trial for physical activity after bariatric surgery. She is currently working with colleagues on piloting a mobile health application for mindfulness and acceptance to support healthy eating and physical activity.

Dr. Rosenberg serves on a subcommittee of the President's Council on Sports, Fitness, & Nutrition to inform the development of the Physical Activity Guidelines Midcourse Report on older adults. She is also past co-chair of the Physical Activity Special Interest Group at the Society of Behavioral Medicine. Additionally, she is an associate professor in the Health Systems Science Department of the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine, affiliate associate professor in the Department of Health Services at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and a fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine.

Measurement tools

The following tools are available for free download and use.

Sedentary Behavior Questionnaire: This is a self-reported measure of sedentary time, taking into account sedentary behaviors on weekdays and weekends. It has been used widely in research studies across the globe to describe sedentary behavior and track changes in sedentary time.

Walking Route Audit Tool for Seniors (WRATS): WRATS is an audit tool for identifying the best walking routes for older adults. The tool includes 59 items relating to functionality, safety, aesthetics, and destinations, among other domains. Most domains are measured using a 3-point scale. The tool can be used by the general public as well as by researchers.

Research interests and experience

  • Behavior Change

    Physical activity, sedentary behavior, nutrition, lifestyle interventions, technology applications, built environment

  • Aging & Geriatrics

    Changes to health behaviors, including sedentary behavior, physical activity, and nutrition; role of built environment; promotion of physical function and mobility; fall prevention; cognitive function; Alzheimer's disease prevention

  • Obesity

    Obesity  prevention and control; physical activity and nutrition promotion; role of sedentary behaviors; role of built environment; acceptance and mindfulness interventions for weight management; mobile health interventions

  • Chronic Illness Management

    Prevention of further disease, declines in function, and disability; self-management; fall prevention

  • Preventive Medicine

    Health behavior change, fall prevention, Alzheimer’s disease prevention

  • Mobile Health

    Mobile health interventions for weight, physical activity, diet, and sedentary time; accelerometers (e.g., Fitbit, ActiGraph, activPAL) for measurement and intervention

Recent publications

Rosenberg D, Lin E, Peterson D, Ludman E, Von Korff M, Katon W. Integrated medical care management and behavioral risk factor reduction for multicondition patients: behavioral outcomes of the TEAMcare trial. Gen Hosp Psychiatry. 2014 Mar-Apr;36(2):129-34. doi: 10.1016/j.genhosppsych.2013.10.017. Epub 2013 Nov 4. PubMed

Kerr J, Marshall SJ, Patterson RE, Marinac CR, Natarajan L, Rosenberg DE, Wasilenko K, Crist K. Objectively measured physical activity is related to cognitive function in older adults. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2013 Nov;61(11):1927-31. doi: 10.1111/jgs.12524. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Bombardier CH, Artherholt S, Jensen MP, Motl RW. Self-reported depression and physical activity in adults with mobility impairments. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2013 Apr;94(4):731-6. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2012.11.014. Epub 2012 Nov 16. PubMed

Bombardier CH, Ehde DM, Gibbons LE, Wadhwani R, Sullivan MD, Rosenberg DE, Kraft GH. Telephone-based physical activity counseling for major depression in people with multiple sclerosis. J Consult Clin Psychol. 2013; 81(1):89-99. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Turner AP, Littman AJ, Williams RM, Norvell DC, Hakimi KM, Czerniecki J. Body mass index patterns following dysvascular lower extremity amputation. Disabil Rehabil. 2013 Jul;35(15):1269-75. doi:10.3109/09638288.2012.726690. Epub 2012 Oct 25. PubMed

 

M2H study

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Can where you move impact future weight gain?

A new study finds that moving from low- to high-density neighborhoods might be related to reductions in weight gain.

Mentoring at KPWHRI

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2021 mentorship awards go to Elena ‘Noon’ Kuo and Dori Rosenberg

Outstanding mentorship — emphasizing equity and inclusion — was recognized.

Research

Senior woman getting up out of chair

Helping older adults improve health by sitting less

Dr. Dori Rosenberg discusses her work on a new Cochrane review looking at ways to help older adults be less sedentary.

Research

urban setting apartments and skyscrapers obesity and the built environment

Built environment plays little role in weight gain

New research suggests fast food and other aspects of built environments don’t affect weight, contrary to earlier findings.

Live Healthy

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COVID-safe exercise ideas for older adults this winter

Take these tips from researchers on the Society of Behavioral Medicine’s Physical Activity Special Interest Group.