URI Graduate Commencement 2019: Behavior change pioneer to address graduate degree recipients May 18

Professor James Prochaska’s revolutionary behavior change model has been applied throughout the world

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James O. Prochaska.
URI Graduate Commencement speaker James O. Prochaska. URI photo by Nora Lewis

KINGSTON, R.I. — April 23, 2019 — James O. Prochaska, Ph.D., world-renowned professor of clinical psychology and leading expert on behavior change and population health, will address the University of Rhode Island’s Graduate Commencement on Saturday, May 18, at 9 a.m. at the Ryan Center.

Founder of the Cancer Prevention Research Center at URI, Prochaska is best known for the development of the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change, an evidence-based model used around the world. The model has been applied across multiple scales from individuals trying to adopt healthy habits to the World Bank’s governance and accountability programs. The United States Agency for International Development has used the model to instill environmentally sustainable habits as a component of programs in the less-developed world.

Prochaska’s research has demonstrated that integrating strategies from population health and individual health care produce more inclusive and effective approaches to overall health and well-being.

Prochaska has served as principal investigator on more than $80 million in research grants on the prevention of cancer and other chronic diseases, authored more than 400 publications on behavior change for health promotion and disease prevention, and published four books —  “Systems of Psychotherapy,” “The Transtheoretical Approach: Crossing Traditional Boundaries of Therapy,” “Changing for Good,” and 2016’s “Changing to Thrive,” which he wrote with his wife and fellow researcher, Janice.

Prochaska has won numerous awards, including the Top Five Most Cited Authors in Psychology from the Association for Psychological Science, an Innovator’s Award from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and is the first psychologist to win a Medal of Honor for Clinical Research from the American Cancer Society. Recently, he has been recognized as one of world’s Eminent Psychologists of the past 70 years.

“Professor Prochaska’s work has dramatically influenced the ways in which health care providers and employers have helped individuals and large groups of people stop smoking, eat healthier, exercise more, and in broad terms lead healthier lives overall,” said Donald H. DeHayes, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “While major pharmaceutical firms are conducting pioneering research on drugs that could lead to more effective treatments for cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and other diseases, Dr. Prochaska has taught us that healthier lifestyles actually mitigate against these diseases. I expect that our graduate students, faculty, families, and friends will be inspired to take steps to become healthier and to be leaders who promote Dr. Prochaska’s proven methods for a healthier society.”

Prochaska earned his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit.