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Health Behavior, Society & Policy

Faculty Profile

  • Paul  Duberstein, PhD

  • Chair & Professor

  • Department of Health Behavior, Society and Policy

  • CV


Aging; cancer; caregiving, depression; end-of-life; geriatric mental health; gerontology; health care utilization; interpersonal psychotherapy; mental health services; palliative care; patient-clinician communication; personality; primary care; socioeconomic disparities, suicide

Dr. Duberstein received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He completed graduate training in clinical and community psychology at SUNY Buffalo, advanced training in clinical psychology at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School and postdoctoral research fellowship training in geriatric mental health at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Prior to joining the Rutgers faculty in 2018, he was a Professor at the University of Rochester Medical Center, where he held appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry (primary), Family Medicine, and Medicine.

Duberstein Lab
The mission of the Lab is to improve health care delivery, inform health care policy, prevent excess morbidity/mortality, and optimize patient- and family-centered health outcomes. Drawing on the psychological, behavioral, and social sciences (e.g., sociology, anthropology, economics), our work focuses on serious, life-limiting illness (e.g., cancer, end-stage renal disease); end-of-life care; suicide; and mood/anxiety disorders in middle age and older adulthood. We conduct theoretically-informed research across the public health research spectrum, including descriptive phenomenological studies, observational research, intervention development research, randomized controlled trials, and cluster-randomized controlled trials using quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods. We are particularly interested in aging, race disparities, and socioeconomic disparities in healthcare access and outcomes. Other topics of interest include medical decision-making, point-of-care patient-clinician communication, financial toxicity, overtreatment, overdiagnosis, medicalization, the measurement of healthcare utilization, and medical assistance in dying. The Lab is an attractive setting for students who wish to learn about transdisciplinary approaches to the conceptualization of public health problems and the development of interventions to solve or mitigate those problems. Housed in the Rutgers School of Public Health (SPH), the Duberstein Lab collaborates extensively with SPH faculty and with researchers affiliated with others Rutgers units, including Shireen Rizvi, PhD, (Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology), Evan Kleiman, PhD (Department of Psychology), Mark Gluck, PhD (Department of Neuroscience), Olga Jarrín Montaner, PhD, RN (School of Nursing), Biren Saraiya, MD (Department of Medicine, Cancer Institute of New Jersey), and Stephen Crystal, PhD (School of Social Work).

Research Interests
As a public health psychologist, Dr. Duberstein leverages advances in the psychological, behavioral, and social sciences to improve health care delivery, inform health care policy, and enhance patient health outcomes. Dr. Duberstein began his career by identifying risk factors for suicide and depression in older adults, and by examining the implications of personality and socioeconomic status for health outcomes and health care utilization in that population. More recently, he has been involved in several intervention studies that aim to improve outcomes among patients/families with advanced, life-limiting disease and marginalized populations. Relatively new interests include overtreatment, over diagnosis, medicalization, and the measurement of so-called “aggressive care” at the end of life. Dr. Duberstein enjoys providing mentorship to and learning from trainees and junior faculty. He has mentored/co-mentored 12 Level 1 "K" awardees who have received funding from NIA, NIAAA, and NIMH.

Select Publications
Duberstein, P., Chen, M., Hoerger, M., Epstein, R., Perry, M. L., Yilmaz, S., Saeed, F., Mohile, G. S., Norton, S. A. (2020) "Conceptualizing and Counting Discretionary Utilization in the Final 100 Days of Life: A Scoping Review", Journal of Pain and Symptom Management Vol. 59(4)

Duberstein, P., Chen, M., Chapman, B., Hoerger, M., Saeed, F., Guancial, E., Mack, J. (2018) "Fatalism and educational disparities in beliefs about the curability of advanced cancer.", Patient education and counseling Vol. 101

Duberstein, P., Ward, E., Chaudron, L., He, H., Toth, S., Wang, W., Van Orden, K., Gamble, S., Talbot, N. (2018) "Effectiveness of interpersonal psychotherapy-trauma for depressed women with childhood abuse histories.", Journal of consulting and clinical psychology Vol. 86

Epstein, R. M., Duberstein, P. R., Fenton, J. J., Fiscella, K., Hoerger, M., Tancredi, D. J., Xing, G., Gramling, R., Mohile, S., Franks, P., Kaesberg, P., Plumb, S., Cipri, C. S., Street, R. L., Shields, C. G., Back, A. L., Butow, P. N., Walczak, A., Tattersall, M., Venuti, A., Sullivan, P., Robinson, M., Hoh, B., Lewis, L., Kravitz , R. L. (2017) "Randomized Trial of a Patient-Centered Communication Intervention in Advanced Cancer: The Values and Options in Cancer Care (VOICE) Study", JAMA Oncology Vol. 3

Award of Special Recognition - The Outreach Community Center (Rochester, NY) (2006) - In appreciation of contributions to the Mental Health Class for African American Pastors and Ministers in the Rochester community

Junior Faculty Mentoring Award - University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (2005) - To celebrate the importance of faculty serving as mentors for more junior colleagues, the Dean presents awards for mentoring at the SMD Convocation annually.

Theodore Millon Award - American Psychological Foundation (2005) - Mid-Career Contributions to Personality Science

Edwin Shneidman Award - American Association of Suicidology (2000) - Early Career Contributions to Suicidology

Social Media & Websites