Dr. Rejeski taught both Statistics for the Health Sciences and Health Psychology for 40 years within the Department of HES. For the past 5 years, he has been a fulltime Research Professor working collaboratively with faculty at Wake Forest School of Medicine, Northwestern School of Medicine, and faculty in the United Kingdom. The focus of his research is on lifestyle behavior change in older adults in an effort to promote/enhance physical functioning. He has developed a group-mediated approach to facilitating both increased physical activity and weight loss for older adults with obesity. He also is a member of the Laboratory of Complex Brain Networks at the Medical School where he is studying neural mechanisms related to obesity and weight loss in older adults (see listing of publications).
NAME: Rejeski, Walter John
POSITION TITLE: Research Professor
|Norwich University, Northfield, VT||B.S.||05/1970||Biology/Psychology|
|University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT||M.A.||05/1975||Exercise Science|
|University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT||Ph.D.||05/1978||Social Psychology|
My previous research and 20-year collaborative relationship with Drs. Kritchevsky, Nicklas, and Miller makes me well suited to function as a co-principal investigator (Co-PI) on the accompanying proposal entitled: Health, Aging & Later-Life Outcomes (HALLO). My role will be to lead the Behavioral Core. The Core will also involve a Co-I and former post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Fanning, whose main research focus is on mHealth applied to lifestyle change with older adults, and Dr. Jamy Ard, a Co-I and head of our weight loss center at the medical school. We also have a close consulting relationship with Dr. Corby Martin, a colleague of mine at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center who was a lead behavioral scientist on CALERIE. I served as the lead behavioral scientist from the coordinating center for the Look AHEAD study which began in 2000: a 20-site, 15-year weight loss trial involving patients with type-2 diabetes. I have been funded on over 15 single-site clinical trials involving older adults with a focus on both caloric restriction and the promotion of physically active lifestyles. Particularly relevant to the current application is an R01 (CLIP-I) that I completed in 2011 (R01 HL076441-01), an R18 HL076441-10 (CLIP-II) that was completed in 2017, and the EMPOWER study in which Dr. Nicklas and I serve as co-PIs (5R01AG051624-04). All three have involved a successful combination of individual and group contacts, the creation of a nutritional/behavioral toolbox for older adults to foster adherence to treatment goals, and the progressively increased implementation of technology and mHealth tools that enable us to remain connected with participants during their daily lives in real-time. Recently, I was co-investigator on a successful NIA funded R-21 (Dr. Fanning was PI) that employed a remotely delivered SitLess + CR intervention to manage chronic multi-site pain in older adults.
- Rejeski WJ, Brawley LR, Ambrosius W, et al. Older Adults with Chronic Disease: The Benefits of Group Mediated Counseling in the Promotion of Physically Active Lifestyles. Health Psychology. 2003;22(4):414-423. PMID 21263080, PMCID: PMC4425192
- Rejeski, W.J., Bray, G.A., Chen, S.H. et al. (2015). Aging and physical function in type 2 diabetes: 8 years of an intensive lifestyle intervention. J Gerontol: Med Sci., 2015;70(3):345-53. PMID 24986062, PMCID: PMC4351390
- Rejeski WJ, Brubaker PH, Goff, DC et al. Translating Weight Loss and Physical Activity Programs into the Community to Preserve Mobility in Older, Obese Adults in Poor Cardiovascular Health. Arch Intern Med., 2011, 171, 880-886. PMCID: PMC4425192
- Fanning J, Brooks AK, Ip E, Nicklas BJ, Rejeski WJ. A Mobile Health Intervention to Reduce Pain and Improve Health (MORPH) in Older Adults with Obesity: Protocol for the MORPH Trial. JMIR Res Protoc 2018;7:e128. PMID: 29759957
Dr. Rejeski has retired from teaching and is now a full time Research Professor.
Principal Investigator on MoTrPAC for the Exercise Intervention Core within the Consortium Coordinating Center—Funded by the NIH Common Fund. MoTrPAC is a large-scale, multidisciplinary research project to investigate the molecular changes that occur in response to physical activity (PA), and to relate these changes to the health benefits of PA. The coordinated effort of clinical and animal studies supported by bioinformatics and chemical analyses will achieve the Molecular Transducers of Physical Activity Consortium (MoTrPAC) goals of assessing the molecular changes that occur in response to PA. The Consortium Coordinating Center (CCC) for MoTrPAC will provide support for the organization, administration, planning, standardization, documentation, monitoring, and reporting activities relating to the project. The CCC will play a pivotal role in ensuring the cohesion of the MoTrPAC by enhancing communication and integration across all study components, including the Clinical Sites, the Preclinical Animal Study Sites, the Bioinformatics Center, the Chemical Analysis Sites, and the various study committees.
Principal Investigator for Intervention within the Health, Aging and Later-Life Outcomes Planning Grant (HALLO-P)—Funded by NIA. This project supports activities necessary for planning of a 5-year study to investigate whether decreasing energy intake or changing the pattern of eating throughout the day can improve the health and well-being of older adults.
Co-Investigator on a randomized trial in patient with peripheral artery disease titled: PROmote weight loss in obese PAD patients to preVEnt mobility loss: the PROVE trial. The primary aim of this project is to test the hypothesis that, in overweight and obese (BMI>28 kg/m2) patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD), weight loss and exercise (WL + EX) results in greater improvement in functional performance (change in 6-minute walk distance at 12-months follow-up) than exercise (EX) alone.
Consulting Investigator to the Clinical Research Core of the Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center at the Medical School. The major goals of this project are the developing, testing and dissemination of effective therapies for the treatment and prevention of physical disability in later life, and training the next generation of leaders in clinical geriatrics research.
Dr. Rejeski enjoys playing with his grandchildren, spending time with his wife, and playing an occasional round of golf.