Marcia G. Ory, Ph.D., M.P.H., is Regents and Distinguished Professor, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, Texas A&M School of Public Health (SPH) in College Station, Texas. Additionally, Dr. Ory was the Founding Director of the Texas A&M Center for Population Health. Working with interdisciplinary teams, her primary goal is to develop innovative projects to reframe healthy aging as the new normal. Dr. Ory is an international leader in the translation of research to practice through investigations of behavioral, social, environmental, policy, and/or technological solutions to enhance health and quality of life for all.
With broad research expertise, she has been a primary investigator on multiple local, state and federally funded grants to implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions for promoting healthy lifestyle changes in midlife and older ages. As the National Program Director for Active for Life®, she documented the success of behaviorally-based exercise programs to increase physical activity in Americans 50 and older. She has overseen the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services adaptation and evaluation of the Texercise Select program to help Texans engage in healthier lifestyle behaviors. She has also served as the national evaluator for the National Study of Chronic Disease Self-Management Program and has directed prevention and management research programs for persons with specific conditions (e.g., Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, and mobility problems) providing evidence for the effectiveness of how these programs can result in better health, better healthcare, and better value.
Drawing upon a life-course perspective, she has also been a primary investigator on several research studies exploring policy and environmental interventions for reducing obesity in younger populations. In these roles, she is examining how evidence-based programs for individuals at different life transitions can be translated to clinical, community, or workplace settings through transformational partnerships. Instrumental in the roll-out of the Healthy South Texas, she has addressed the most pressing public health issues in Texas, with an emphasis on underserved populations. Currently, she is leading a Rural Health Care Moonshot initiative to examine innovative diabetes education programs that can be scaled up and sustained over time to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations. Another recent activity is leading public health efforts to advance research and practice about emergent public health crises such as the opioid overdose epidemic or the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to coming to Texas A&M University in 2001, Dr. Ory spent twenty years in federal service as Chief of Social Science Research on Aging in the Behavioral and Social Research Program, National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health. She holds a doctorate from Purdue University and a Masters of Public Health and Post-Doctoral Fellowship from The Johns Hopkins University. She has been the author of more than 500 publications on a variety of topics including physical activity and mobility; doctor-patient interactions; obesity prevention; chronic disease management; dementia care; falls and injury prevention; opioid crisis; health disparities; and translational research.
Dr. Ory is a distinguished alumnae of Purdue University, Fellow of several professional organizations (e.g., American Academy of Behavioral Research, American Academy of Health Behavior, Society for Behavioral Medicine, and Gerontological Society of America) and a recipient of numerous state and national awards. Her dedication to enhancing the careers of new scholars in aging is evident in her receipt of the Distinguished Mentor Award from the Gerontological Society of America. She was appointed a Regents Professor at the Texas A&M Health Science Center in recognition of outstanding service and commitment to the people of Texas and has also received the Health Science Center Presidential Award for Excellence in Research. Specific prestigious honors include the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Aging and Public Health Section of the American Public Health Association; the Research Laureate Award from the American Academy of Health Behavior; and the Redefining American Healthcare Award from the Healthcare Leadership Council.
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