Dori Rosenberg, PhD, MPH

Dori Rosenberg

“By listening to patients and community members, 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

Senior Investigator, Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute
Associate Professor, Health Systems Science, Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School of Medicine
Affiliate Associate Professor, Health Systems and Population Health, University of Washington School of Public Health


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’s current studies include:

  • The Healthy Aging Resources to Thrive (HART) Trial. HART is testing the effects of sitting reduction on cardiometabolic health outcomes through a large randomized controlled trial in older adults.
  • The De Pie y a Movernos Study. Dr. Rosenberg and colleagues are co-designing a sedentary behavior reduction and physical activity promotion intervention for the older Latino/Hispanic community in San Diego.
  • The accelerometer sub-study of the Adult Changes in Thought cohort study (ACT Study). Dr. Rosenberg and Dr. Sue McCurry at the University of Washington are collecting device-based measures of sitting patterns, physical activity, and sleep as well as circadian rhythms from the ACT cohort. This data will be used to examine how behaviors of the 24-hour activity cycle (sedentary time, physical activity, sleep) are associated with cognition and physical function in older adults.

Dr. Rosenberg has also helped develop and test self-reported measures of sedentary behavior, recognizing that a key step in better understanding these behaviors is having valid self-reported tools available. Dr. Rosenberg helped to validate the widely used Sedentary Behavior Questionnaire, which is a self-reported measure of sedentary time (see below to learn more). 

As part of her epidemiologic research, Dr. Rosenberg has interests in investigating ways 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 is also interested in ways to remotely deliver interventions for promoting physical activity and reducing sedentary time. She helped to conduct a micro-randomized trial of a physical activity intervention after bariatric surgery that used mobile tools and text messages. She currently collaborates on the testing and piloting of a mobile health application for mindfulness and acceptance to support healthy eating and physical activity.

Dr. Rosenberg served 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 in 2022. 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 Systems and Population Health 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 DE, Huang DL, Simonovich SD, Belza B. Outdoor built environment barriers and facilitators to activity among midlife and older adults with mobility disabilities. Gerontologist. 2013 Apr;53(2):268-79. doi: 10.1093/geront/gns119. Epub 2012 Sep 25. PubMed

Kerr J, Carlson J, Rosenberg DE, Withers A. Identifying and promoting safe walking routes in older adults. Health. 2012;4:720-4. doi: 10.4236/health.2012.429112.

Kerr J, Rosenberg DE, Nathan A, Millstein R, Carlson J, Crist K, Wasilenko K, Bolling K, Castro CM, Marshall S. Applying the ecological model of behavior change to a physical activity trial in retirement communities: description of the study protocol. Contemp Clin Trials. 2012 Nov;33(6):1180-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cct.2012.08.005. Epub 2012 Aug 17. PubMed

Alschuler KN, Gibbons LE, Rosenberg DE, Ehde DM, Verrall Am, Bamer AM, Jensen MP Body mass index and waist circumference in persons aging with muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, post-polio syndrome, and spinal cord injury. Disabil Health J. 2012 Jul;5(3):177-84. Epub 2012 May 2. PubMed

Rosenberg DE, Kerr J, Sallis JF, Norman GJ, Calfas K, Patrick K. Promoting walking among older adults living in retirement communities.  J Aging Phys Act. 2012;20(3):379-94. Epub 2011 Dec 20. PubMed




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