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 of Health System Science, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine


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. Here you can find documentation and the survey items. 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.

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

Phillips SM, Cadmus-Bertram L, Rosenberg D, Buman MP, Lynch BM. Wearable technology and physical activity in chronic disease: opportunities and challenges. Am J Prev Med. 2018 Jan;54(1):144-150. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2017.08.015. Epub 2017 Nov 6. PubMed

Lynch BM, Nguyen NH, Reeves MM, Moore MM, Rosenberg DE, Wheeler MJ, Boyle T, Vallance JK, Friedenreich CM, English DR. Study design and methods for the ACTIVity And TEchnology (ACTIVATE) trial. Contemp Clin Trials. 2017 Oct 31. pii: S1551-7144(17)30452-4. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2017.10.015. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Kadokura E, Morris ME, Renz A, Vilardaga RM. Application of N-of-1 experiments to test the efficacy of inactivity alert features in fitness trackers to increase breaks from sitting in older adults. Methods Inf Med. 2017 Aug 16;56(5). doi: 10.3414/ME16-02-0043. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Buchner DM, Rillamas-Sun E, Di C, LaMonte MJ, Marshall SW, Hunt J, Zhang Y, Rosenberg DE, Lee IM, Evenson KR, Herring AH, Lewis CE, Stefanick ML, LaCroix AZ. Accelerometer-measured moderate to vigorous physical activity and incidence rates of falls in older women. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2017 Jul 29. doi: 10.1111/jgs.14960. [Epub ahead of print]. PubMed

Rich P, Aarons GA, Takemoto M, Cardenas V, Crist K, Bolling K, Lewars B, Sweet CC, Natarajan L, Shi Y, Full KM, Johnson E, Rosenberg DE, Whitt-Glover M, Marcus B, Kerr J. Implementation-effectiveness trial of an ecological intervention for physical activity in ethnically diverse low income senior centers. BMC Public Health. 2017 Jul 18;18(1):29. doi: 10.1186/s12889-017-4584-1. PubMed


Mentoring at KPWHRI


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

Outstanding mentorship — emphasizing equity and inclusion — was recognized.


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.


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


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.