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Debra L. Roter, D.P.H.

Photo of Dr. Debra L. Roter, D.P.H.

University Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Joint Appointment in Medicine

Research Interests: Patient activation interventions; Provider skill training; Doctor-patient communication; Roter Interaction Analysis System RIAS; Race and gender disparities ...read more

Background

Dr. Debra Roter holds a joint appointment in medicine and oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She is a University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is the director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Genomic Literacy and Communication. 

Her primary research focus is patient-provider communication. Her recent work has investigated the association between patients' and physicians' ethnicity and gender and their communication style and medical care outcomes.

Dr. Roter is the author of the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), a coding method for analyzing medical dialogue. It has been translated into 12 languages and is the most commonly used system worldwide to analyze audio or video recordings of medical encounters. Her July 2013 article in the journal Genetics in Medicine, “The Angelina effect: immediate reach, grasp, and impact of going public,” explored the intersection of celebrity and health awareness. A survey found that three out of four Americans were aware of Angelina Jolie’s double mastectomy, but fewer than 10 percent of respondents had the information to interpret her results. (Jolie had a double mastectomy after testing positive for a mutated BRCA gene, which increases chances of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.) The study concluded that awareness of the Angelina Jolie story was not associated with improved understanding of the attendant health risks.

She received her Doctor of Public Health from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1977 and her Master of Public Health from the Bloomberg School of Public Health in 1975. She has been on the faculty of Johns Hopkins University since 1979.

Dr. Roter has received many honors for her teaching and research, including recognition by the Web of Science as one of the most highly cited authors in the social sciences, as well as the American Academy on Physician and Patient Award for outstanding research contribution to the theory, practice and teaching of effective health care communication and related skills. She has authored over 200 articles and several books in the communication domain.

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Titles

  • University Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  • Director, Johns Hopkins Center for Genomic Literacy and Communication
  • Joint Appointment in Medicine
  • Joint Appointment in Oncology

Centers & Institutes

  • Johns Hopkins Center for Genomic Literacy and Communication

Research & Publications

Research Summary

Dr. Roter’s research focuses on clinical investigations of patient and physician interventions to improve the quality of communication and enhance its positive effects on patient health outcomes. It also explores educational applications in the training and evaluation of teaching strategies to enhance physicians' communication skills.

Selected Publications

Tabor E. Flickinger ; Somnath Saha ; Debra Roter ; P. Todd Korthuis ; Victoria Sharp ; Jonathan Cohn ; Richard D. Moore ; Karen S. Ingersoll ; Mary Catherine Beach. "Respecting Patients Is Associated with More Patient-centered Communication Behaviors in Clinical Encounters." Patient Education and Counseling. 2016 Feb 1;99(2), 250-255. 10.1016/j.pec.2015.08.020

October, T. W., Hinds, P. S., Wang, J., Dizon, Z. B., Cheng, Y. I., & Roter, D. L. (2016). "Parent Satisfaction with Communication Is Associated With Physician's Patient-Centered Communication Patterns During Family Conferences." Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. 2016 Apr 7;10.1097/PCC.0000000000000719

Boss, R. D., Donohue, P. K., Larson, S. M., Arnold, R. M., & Roter, D. L. (2016). "Family conferences in the neonatal ICU: Observation of Communication Dynamics and Contributions. Pediatric Critical Care Medicine. 2016 Mar 23;17(3), 223-230. 10.1097/PCC.0000000000000617

Martin KD, Roter DL, Beach MC, Carson KA, Cooper LA. "Physician Communication Behaviors and Trust among Black and White Patients With Hypertension." Medical Care. 2013; Published Ahead of Print:10.1097/MLR.0b013e31827632a2.

Farrelly E, Cho MK, Erby L, Roter D, Stenzel A, Ormond K. "Genetic Counseling for Prenatal Testing: Where is the Discussion about Disability?" Journal of Genetic Counseling. 2012:1-11.

Academic Affiliations & Courses

Courses and Syllabi

  • Contemporary Issues in Health Communication (410.653.01)
    2016
  • Health Literacy: Challenges and Strategies for Effective Communication (410.651.01)
    2016
  • Interpersonal Influence in Medical Care (410.652.01)
    2016

Activities & Honors

Honors

  • Web of Science: Among the most highly cited authors in the social sciences, 1989
  • Johns Hopkins Golden Apple Award
  • Mentoring and Teaching Recognition Award, Johns Hopkins Advising
  • American Academy on Physician and Patient Award for outstanding research contribution to the theory, practice and teaching of effective health care communication and related skills
  • Beryl Roberts Memorial Award for significant contribution to the theory and practice of health education, Society of Public Health Education
  • Hume Award for significance of doctoral research
  • Kellogg Fellow in health care administration

Memberships

  • Delta Omega Honor Society in Public Health
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