Jacqueline Dunbar-Jacob

Dean Emeritus
Professor Emeritus
Distinguished Service Professor of Nursing
Professor of Psychology, Epidemiology, and Occupational Therapy
Office of the Dean


Dr. Dunbar-Jacob is Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Service Professor of Nursing, as well as professor of Psychology, Epidemiology, and Occupational Therapy at the University of Pittsburgh. She was the dean of the School of Nursing from 2001 to 2022. She is an advisory professor at the University of Fudan in Shanghai, China, honorary professor of Nursing at Capital Medical University in Beijing, and visiting professor in Nursing at Taipei Medical University in Taipei, Taiwan.

Dr. Dunbar-Jacob received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Florida State University, her Master of Science in psychiatric nursing with a post-master certificate in child psychiatric nursing at the University of California San Francisco, and her PhD in counseling psychology, focusing on health psychology, at Stanford University. She is both a registered nurse and a licensed psychologist.

Scholarly Emphasis

Patient adherence / compliance to treatment

Dr. Dunbar-Jacob is a nurse/psychologist who has been involved in the study of patient adherence to treatment in individual studies and multicenter trials, addressing a variety of patient populations including rheumatological conditions, cardiovascular risk factors, and diabetes.

She also was the first director of the School of Nursing’s Center for Research and Evaluation, from 1987 to 1996. Her work has been recognized with the University of Pittsburgh Chancellor’s Distinguished Research Award, Pennsylvania Nightingale Award for research, the Pathfinders Award for research by the Friends of the NINR, and induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International Inaugural Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. She was recently the principal investigator of the NIH study, Adherence & HRQOL: Translation of Interventions NIH NINR P01NR010949, a program project grant funded by the National Institute for Nursing Research that addresses clinical research studies designed to improve quality of life and delay or slow the progression of chronic conditions through the examination of self-management strategies that target adherence to treatment regimen, thus improving the effectiveness of care, and factors necessary for translation of research into practice. Her past research includes director and principal investigator of the Center for Research in Chronic Disorders (NIH NINR P30-NR003924), and principal investigator for the grant Improving Medication Adherence in Comorbid Conditions (NIH NIDDK R01-DK59048), as well as a grant from the National Science Foundation designed to develop robotic assistance for the elderly, known as "Nursebot." [NSF IIS-0085796]. Dr. Dunbar-Jacob has had funding from seven of the Institutes in the NIH, and she has experience in the behavioral science aspects of clinical trial management including the Lipid Research Clinics Program, the Diabetes Control and Complications Trial, and the Women’s Health Initiative.

Dr. Dunbar-Jacob  has served on three NIH safety and data monitoring boards; as a behavioral scientist for three NIH funded multicenter clinical trials; and on 20 NIH working groups addressing research agendas. She served on the NIH Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease Consensus Panel and as a member of the technical expert panel for the AHRQ comparative effectiveness project on adherence interventions. Dr. Dunbar-Jacob  has served on the NINR Advisory Council, as chair of the NIH Roadmap PROMIS initiative and as a reviewer for the NINR, NHLBI, and NIDDK and on the search committees for the director of the NINR and the director of the OBSSR. She has more than 130 papers and chapters, primarily focusing on patient adherence.


Dr. Dunbar-Jacob has been a member of the faculty at the University of Pittsburgh since 1984. She has worked as a staff nurse, unit manager, nursing director, and has taught nursing at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Her teaching is primarily at the doctoral level, and she serves as an advisor to a number of doctoral students.


Dr. Dunbar-Jacob serves on the Executive Committee and Governance Committee for the Pennsylvania Action Coalition [PA-AC], enacted to implement the Institute of Medicine Future of Nursing recommendations within Pennsylvania. She also serves as the Data Champion for the PA-AC. She served as chair of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Task Force on the Future Research Focused Doctorate, and the NIDDK Safety and Data Monitoring Board of the Diabetes Prevention Trial. She is a member of the UPMC Quality Patient Care Committee, the UPMC Presbyterian Shadyside Quality Patient Care Committee, and the UPMC Health Plan Quality Committee. Dr. Dunbar-Jacob is a member of the Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Pittsburgh Regional Health Initiative Board and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Nursing Schools Association. She is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse fellows program. She was past president of the Society of Behavioral Medicine and the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. She also has served on the NINR National Advisory Council for Nursing Research, the Boards of the American Academy of Nursing and the Society for Clinical Trials. She chaired national committees for the American Psychological Association health psychology division and the American Heart Association. Dr. Dunbar-Jacob was named in 2015 as one of the 30 most influential nursing deans.