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School of Public Health
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School of Public Health


Paul Duberstein, Ph.D., is a public health psychologist, professor, and chair of the Department of Health Behavior, Society, and Policy at the Rutgers School of Public Health. Prior to joining Rutgers, he was a professor at the University of Rochester, where he held appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry (primary), Family Medicine, and Medicine. Dr. Duberstein received his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania, completed doctoral training in clinical and community psychology at SUNY Buffalo, advanced training in clinical psychology at Harvard Medical School, and postdoctoral research fellowship training in geriatric mental health at the University of Rochester.

Research Interests

Dr. Duberstein currently has leadership roles in three research initiatives:  

Rutgers Suicide Prevention and Research Center (SPARC)

In collaboration with Drs. Shireen Rizvi (Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology) and Evan Kleiman (Department of Psychology), Dr. Duberstein developed the Rutgers SPARC, which brings together faculty from seven schools across Rutgers University, forming a diverse, transdisciplinary community of researchers interested in suicide prevention. SPARC is a resource for faculty and trainees submitting grant applications related to suicide research, and fosters collaborations through its monthly meetings, providing an intellectual forum for faculty, students, scholars, medical professionals, and community members within and beyond Rutgers University.

NJ Health Study

Dr. Duberstein serves as a senior investigator in this study which is led by Dr. Joel Cantor. The NJ Health Study was launched in 2022 to improve understanding of how life events and stress affect health. The study is currently enrolling up to 10,000 participants from across New Jersey, with an emphasis on historically disadvantaged groups, multi-generational families, and immigrant groups, including: Asian Indian, Chinese, Dominican, Filipino, Haitian, Jamaican, Korean, Mexican, Nigerian, and/or refugees/asylees More information about the NJ Health Study can be found here.

Laboratory of Aging, Policy and Health (LAPH)

In collaboration with Drs. Elissa Kozlov (Rutgers School of Public Health) and Login George (Rutgers School of Nursing), Dr. Duberstein co-leads the Laboratory of Aging, Policy and Health (LAPH). The overarching mission of LAPH is to improve health care, inform health care policy, prevent excess morbidity/mortality, and optimize patient- and family-centered health outcomes for older adults with serious, life-limiting illness and dementia. The LAPH includes students, staff, faculty members from Rutgers [Drs. Ayse Akincigil (Rutgers School of Social Work), Biren Saraiya (Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey), M. Hamza Habib (Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey), and Elizabeth Luth (Family  Medicine and Community Health)] and faculty from the University of Rochester (Drs. Fahad Saeed, Sule Yilmaz, Sally Norton) the University of Connecticut (Dr. Ellis Dillon), and Oregon State University (Dr. Dawn (Hyosin) Kim). Lab members utilize theories and methods from the psychological, behavioral, and social sciences to conduct research across the public health spectrum, including descriptive phenomenological studies, observational research, analyses of administrative datasets (e.g., Medicare) using causal inference methods, intervention development research, randomized controlled trials, and cluster-randomized controlled trials using quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods.

Dr. Duberstein currently advises two doctoral students, Jessica Anderson and Molly Nowels, and he mentors a third (Naomi Cruz). He is not currently accepting incoming doctoral students but is available to serve as a co-mentor. Prospective doctoral students in Health Systems and Policy or Social and Behavioral Health Sciences should indicate whether they are interested in joining Rutgers SPARC, the NJ Health Study, and/or LAPH.