Lora Burke

Professor Emeritus
Health & Community Systems


Dr. Lora Burke has a long-standing record of NIH funding to support her research program and her significant contributions have been nationally recognized as she has been made a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing. Her research features a series of clinical trials focused on behavioral strategies to improve adherence to treatment regimens targeting cardiovascular disease risk reduction and long-term weight loss. She has incorporated the use of technology to validate self-report measures and was the first to document actual patterns of self-monitoring among participants undergoing behavioral treatment for weight loss. She built on this work in a subsequent trial comparing different modes of self-monitoring of diet and exercise in a behavioral weight loss intervention trial. She recently completed a study, EMPOWER, that used smartphones for the daily collection of ecological momentary assessment (EMA) data (assessing behavior, mood, emotions in real time in one’s natural environment) to examine the micro-processes of relapse following intentional weight loss over 12 months. Here, she used an array of technology to objectively measure sleep (actigraph), physical activity (accelerometer), daily weight (wireless scales), and to assess sleep apnea in the home (ApneaLink). More recently, she has conducted pilot work testing an algorithm she developed that reads incoming data on a smartphone and selects an appropriate feedback message from a library of messages targeting improvements in diet and physical activity. The feedback messages are delivered remotely in real time and appear as pop-up messages. Additionally, Dr. Burke has collaborated in conducting validation studies for the eButton, a wearable device that provides an objective measure of food intake, and examining the effect of obstructive sleep apnea on diabetes management and glycemic control. Dr. Burke has been the Principal Investigator for numerous grants from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of Nursing Research, and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. She serves as a faculty member for several T32 training grants at Pitt’s School of Nursing and Graduate School of Public Health, as well as the Director of Pitt Nursing’s Hub for Excellence in eHealth Research.


Dr. Burke has served in leadership roles with the American Heart Association (AHA) and the Society for Behavioral Medicine (SBM). Currently, she serves as the Chair of the Council Operations Committee and the Science of Behavior Change Committee for the AHA, and is a Past Chair of the Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health (formerly the Council on Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism).