A Moment with Dori Steinberg is part of our interview series featuring thought leaders in research and healthcare. Each interview includes 7 short and stimulating questions.

Dr. Dori Steinberg is an Associate Professor in the Duke School of Nursing and at the Duke Global Health Institute. She is also Director of the Duke Global Digital Health Science Center. For more from Dr. Steinberg, check out her website.



1. Tell us something we don’t know. (Anything!)

I was a NY state champion bowler in high school (I promise it was cool back in the late 1990s). I am pretty rusty these days but now and then I bowl a game close to 200.

2. Which fiction book would you recommend to researchers and innovators in healthcare, and why?

I am struggling to recommend a fiction book as I am more into non-fiction these days. The non-fiction book that sticks out to me as a must for researchers and innovators in health care is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. It is an important example of how unethical behaviors and racism were an integral part of innovations in medicine. We need to know the history of how these innovations were discovered so we don’t repeat them going forward.

3. What are you working on right now that you’re excited about?

Our team is developing a behavioral intervention focused on improving intuitive eating and diet quality using digital health tools (apps, video coaching, APIs) to improve blood pressure. Most notably, we were purposeful in not focusing on calories or changing one’s weight in this project. I am excited to offer people something that can improve health independent of changing body size or weight. Reducing weight stigma is something I aim to work on more in future projects.

4. Who’s doing something that you admire in healthcare today, and why is it so cool?

Dr. Louise Metz is a physician and founder of the primary care practice, Mosaic Comprehensive Care, in Chapel Hill, NC. Dr. Metz created a practice that provides compassionate and non-judgmental care and adopts a “health at every size” approach. This counters the pervasive weight-normative approach to healthcare, which emphasizes weight as being central in defining health. This practice is unique in that they do not weigh patients at every visit and, instead, they focus on a weight-inclusive approach, which emphasizes the complex determinants of health and well-being. Adopting this approach is truly revolutionary and needed to help reduce weight stigma, which is so pervasive in healthcare.

5. What’s the biggest barrier to getting things done in your line of work?

The slowness of research often makes it hard for researchers to stay on pace with industry. We may study a technology that becomes outdated when we are just starting to analyze results. Also, a lot of my work relies on automated software and, like anything, software has limitations – especially when developing personalized behavioral interventions.

6. Imagine you win an award for impacting healthcare. What did you do?

I helped reduce inequities in access to evidence-based interventions that improve health.

7. What advice would you give innovators in healthcare?

Make sure you are passionate about what you are working on. If the passion isn’t there, it’s ok to move on.

About Dr. Dori Steinberg

Dr. Steinberg is an Associate Professor in the Duke School of Nursing and at the Duke Global Health Institute. She is also Director of the Duke Global Digital Health Science Center. Her research focuses on digital health interventions for dietary change, and chronic disease management among adults using principles from intuitive eating. She aspires to do more work from a health at every size (HAES) approach to care.

Dr. Steinberg is the PI of an NIH-funded R01 grant examining how to best leverage digital health to improve diet quality among individuals with high blood pressure. She was PI on K12 career development grant as Duke BIRCWH Scholar and has been a co-investigator on several successfully funded grants from NIH and Duke. Her work has been featured in the Journal of the American Medical Association, The Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and The American Journal of Public Health, as well as in mass media.

Dr. Steinberg earned her B.S. in Nutrition from Cornell University, her M.S. in Public Health from Harvard University, and a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a Registered Dietitian.


Written by: Aline Holzwarth