NIH: Office of Disease Prevention


Director's Biography

David M. Murray, Ph.D.

Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., Director of the National Institutes of Health, appointed David M. Murray, Ph.D., as Associate Director for Prevention and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention on July 2, 2012. Dr. Murray joined the NIH on September 23, 2012.

Dr. Murray completed his B.A. in Psychology from Denison University in 1973. He completed his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in 1978. In 1981, he completed a National Heart Lung and Blood Institute-funded postdoctoral fellowship in Cardiovascular Health Behavior in the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene, a division of the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota. He joined the faculty of the Laboratory immediately after his fellowship. The Laboratory was founded by Ancel Keys and was the home of Henry Taylor, Henry Blackburn and other pioneers in cardiovascular epidemiology.

Dr. Murray began his work in prevention research during his postdoctoral fellowship at Minnesota, working closely with C. Anderson Johnson and Russell V. Luepker on the Robbinsdale Anti-Smoking Project, and later on several followup studies funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and by the National Cancer Institute. After he joined the faculty in the Laboratory of Physiological Hygiene in 1981, he expanded into prevention research on alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs in adolescent populations, working closely with Cheryl Perry. Those projects were funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

At about the same time, he became involved in the Minnesota Heart Health Program (MHHP), serving initially as Co-Youth Education Director with Cheryl Perry, then as Associate Health Program Director with Maury Mittelmark, and later as Health Program Director and Co-Principal Investigator with Henry Blackburn, Russell Luepker, David Jacobs, Neil Bracht and the other MHHP investigators. At the time, the Minnesota Heart Health Program was the largest NIH grant ever awarded to the University of Minnesota. It was one of three community-based heart disease prevention programs funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in the 1980s and early 1990s and helped create the basis for the community-based health promotion and disease prevention programs we see today.

Many other studies developed out of the Minnesota Heart Health program, including the Promotion of Healthy Eating Patterns in Youth (Cheryl Perry, PI), Children’s Activity Trial for Cardiovascular Health (Cheryl Perry, PI), and Models for Treating High Blood Cholesterol (Russell Luepker, PI). All were funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.

Most of these studies were examples of group-randomized trials. In these studies, identifiable social groups are the unit of assignment, while members of those groups are the units of observations. The design and analytic issues inherent in these studies were not well understood in the 1980s and 1990s, though Jerome Cornfield’s classic paper, Randomization by Group: A Formal Analysis, was published in 1978. Dr. Murray became increasingly interested in these issues, collaborating with Peter Hannan and others at Minnesota, and learning from pioneers in this area including Allan Donner.

Dr. Murray’s first interaction with the Office of Disease Prevention occurred in 1992, when the Office sponsored a meeting of methodologists from survey research, educational statistics, biostatistics, and epidemiology for the first NIH conference on the design and analysis of group-randomized trials. Dr. Murray coordinated that meeting, which was convened under the auspices of Dr. William Harlan, the third Associate Director for Prevention and Director of the Office of Disease Prevention.

Dr. Murray continued to work on group-randomized trials, and to investigate their design and analytic issues, through the 1990s. In 1998, he published the first textbook on this material.

Dr. Murray left the University of Minnesota in 1998 to become the first Lillian and Morrie Moss Chair of Excellence in Psychology at the University of Memphis. In 2005, he moved to Ohio State University as the Chair of the Division of Epidemiology in the College of Public Health. He continued to work on group-randomized trials, and on the methods for their design and analysis, throughout his time at Memphis and at Ohio State.

Over the past 34 years, Dr. Murray has worked on more than 50 health promotion and disease prevention research projects funded by the NIH and other agencies. He served on more than 40 grant review panels for the NIH and as the first Chair of the Community Level Health Promotion study section. He has published more than 250 articles in the peer-reviewed literature.

Dr. Murray has a passion for prevention research done well and believes that we can best advance the nation’s health by ensuring that prevention programs are based on good science, that they are carefully designed and evaluated, that effective interventions are disseminated, and that ineffective interventions are identified and discarded. This view is entirely consistent with the mission of the Office of Disease Prevention, which is to work with the NIH Institutes and Centers and other partners to provide leadership and direction for the development, refinement, implementation, and coordination of a trans-NIH plan to increase the scope, quality, dissemination, and impact of NIH disease prevention and health promotion research. As the Associate Director for Prevention and as Director of the Office of Disease Prevention, Dr. Murray led the development of the first Strategic Plan for the office.

Recent Papers on Methods for Design and Analysis of Group-Randomized Trials

Turner EL, Li F, Gallis JA, Prague M, Murray DM. Review of Recent Methodological Developments in Group-Randomized Trials: Part 1-Design. American Journal of Public Health. 2017. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303706.

Turner EL, Prague M, Gallis JA, Li F, Murray DM. Review of Recent Methodological Developments in Group-Randomized Trials: Part 2-Analysis. American Journal of Public Health. 2017 May 18:e1-e9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2017.303707.

Cook AJ, Delong E, Murray DM, Vollmer WM, Heagerty PJ. Statistical lessons learned for designing cluster randomized pragmatic clinical trials from the NIH Health Care Systems Collaboratory Biostatistics and Design Core. Clinical Trials, 2016;13(5):504-12. PMC5025337.

Li F, Lokhnygina Y, Murray DM, Heagerty PJ, DeLong ER. An evaluation of constrained randomization for the design and analysis of group-randomized trials. Statistics in Medicine. 2015;35(10):1565-79. PMC4826850.

Johnson JL, Kreidler SM, Catellier DJ, Murray DM, Muller KE, Glueck DH. Recommendations for choosing an analysis method that controls Type I error for unbalanced cluster sample designs with Gaussian outcomes. Statistics in Medicine. 2015. 2015;34(27):3531-45.

Andridge RR, Shoben AB, Muller KE, Murray DM. Analytic methods for individually randomized group treatment trials and group-randomized trials when subjects belong to multiple groups. Statistics in Medicine. 2014;33(13):2178-90. PMC4013262.

Xu X, Pennell ML, Lu B, Murray DM. Efficient Bayesian joint models for group randomized trials with multiple observation times and multiple outcomes. Statistics in Medicine. 2012;31(24):2858-71. PMC3892667.

Roetzheim RG, Freund KM, Corle DK, Murray DM, Snyder FR, Kronman AC, Jean-Pierre P, Raich PC, Holden AE, Darnell JS, Warren-Mears V, Patierno S, Design P, Analysis Committee for the Patient Navigation Research Program I. Analysis of combined data from heterogeneous study designs: an applied example from the patient navigation research program. Clinical Trials. 2012;9(2):176-87. PMC3679186.

Rhoda DA, Murray DM, Andridge RR, Pennell ML, Hade EM. Studies with staggered starts: multiple baseline designs and group-randomized trials. American Journal of Public Health. 2011;101(11):2164-9. PMC3222403.

Pennell ML, Hade EM, Murray DM, Rhoda DA. Cutoff designs for community-based intervention studies. Statistics in Medicine. 2011;30(15):1865-82. PMC3127461.

Pals SL, Wiegand RE, Murray DM. Ignoring the group in group-level HIV/AIDS intervention trials: a review of reported design and analytic methods. AIDS. 2011;25(7):989-96.

Baldwin SA, Murray DM, Shadish WR, Pals SL, Holland JM, Abramowitz JS, Andersson G, Atkins DC, Carlbring P, Carroll KM, Christensen A, Eddington KM, Ehlers A, Feaster DJ, Keijsers GP, Koch E, Kuyken W, Lange A, Lincoln T, Stephens RS, Taylor S, Trepka C, Watson J. Intraclass correlation associated with therapists: estimates and applications in planning psychotherapy research. Cogn Behav Ther. 2011;40(1):15-33. PMC3650614.

Resnicow K, Zhang N, Vaughan RD, Reddy SP, James S, Murray DM. When intraclass correlation coefficients go awry: a case study from a school-based smoking prevention study in South Africa. American Journal of Public Health. 2010;100(9):1714-8. PMC2920983.

Murray DM, Pennell M, Rhoda D, Hade EM, Paskett ED. Designing studies that would address the multilayered nature of health care. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs. 2010;2010(40):90-6. PMC3482955.

Hade EM, Murray DM, Pennell ML, Rhoda D, Paskett ED, Champion VL, Crabtree BF, Dietrich A, Dignan MB, Farmer M, Fenton JJ, Flocke S, Hiatt RA, Hudson SV, Mitchell M, Monahan P, Shariff-Marco S, Slone SL, Stange K, Stewart SL, Strickland PA. Intraclass correlation estimates for cancer screening outcomes: estimates and applications in the design of group-randomized cancer screening studies. Journal of the National Cancer Institute Monographs. 2010;2010(40):97-103. PMC2924625.

Pals SP, Murray DM, Alfano CM, Shadish WR, Hannan PJ, MStat, Baker WL. Individually randomized group treatment trials: a critical appraisal of frequently used design and analytic approaches. American Journal of Public Health. 2008;98(8):1418-24. PMC2446464.

Pals SL, Murray DM, Alfano CM, Shadish WR, Hannan PJ, Baker WL. Erratum. American Journal of Public Health. 2008;98(12):2120.

Murray DM, Pals SP, Blitstein JL, Alfano CM, Lehman J. Design and analysis of group-randomized trials in cancer: a review of current practices. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2008;100(7):483-91.

Murray DM, Blitstein JL, Hannan PJ, Baker WL, Lytle LA. Sizing a trial to alter the trajectory of health behaviours: methods, parameter estimates, and their application. Statistics in Medicine. 2007;26(11):2297-316.

Recent Papers on the Design and Primary Results of Group-Randomized Trials

Ockene JK, Hayes RB, Churchill LC, Crawford SL, Jolicoeur DG, Murray DM, Shoben AB, David SP, Ferguson KJ, Huggett KN, Adams M, Okuliar CA, Gross RL, Bass PF, 3rd, Greenberg RB, Leone FT, Okuyemi KS, Rudy DW, Waugh JB, Geller AC. Teaching Medical Students to Help Patients Quit Smoking: Outcomes of a 10-School Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2016;31(2):172-81. PMC4720645.

Wewers ME, Shoben A, Conroy S, Curry E, Ferketich AK, Murray DM, Nemeth J, Wermert A. Effectiveness of Two Community Health Worker Models of Tobacco Dependence Treatment Among Community Residents of Ohio Appalachia. Nicotine & Tobacco Research. 2016. doi: 10.1093/ntr/ntw265.

Rhew IC, Hawkins JD, Murray DM, Fagan AA, Oesterle S, Abbott RD, Catalano RF. Evaluation of Community-Level Effects of Communities That Care on Adolescent Drug Use and Delinquency Using a Repeated Cross-Sectional Design. Prevention Science. 2016. doi: 10.1007/s11121-015-0613-4. PMC4833686.

Hayes RB, Geller A, Churchill L, Jolicoeur D, Murray DM, Shoben A, David SP, Adams M, Okuyemi K, Fauver R, Gross R, Leone F, Xiao R, Waugh J, Crawford S, Ockene JK. Teaching tobacco dependence treatment and counseling skills during medical school: rationale and design of the Medical Students helping patients Quit tobacco (MSQuit) group randomized controlled trial. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2014;37(2):284-93. PMC4048818.

Freund KM, Battaglia TA, Calhoun E, Darnell JS, Dudley DJ, Fiscella K, Hare ML, LaVerda N, Lee JH, Levine P, Murray DM, Patierno SR, Raich PC, Roetzheim RG, Simon M, Snyder FR, Warren-Mears V, Whitley EM, Winters P, Young GS, Paskett ED, Writing Group of the Patient Navigation Research P. Impact of patient navigation on timely cancer care: the Patient Navigation Research Program. Journal of the National Cancer Institute. 2014;106(6):dju115. PMC4072900.

Pratt CA, Boyington J, Esposito L, Pemberton VL, Bonds D, Kelley M, Yang S, Murray D, Stevens J. Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment Research (COPTR): interventions addressing multiple influences in childhood and adolescent obesity. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2013;36(2):406-13.

Murray DM, Katz ML, Post DM, Pennell ML, Young GS, Tatum CM, Paskett ED. Enhancing cancer screening in primary care: rationale, design, analysis plan, and recruitment results. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2013;34(2):356-63. PMC3601898.

Paskett ED, Katz ML, Post DM, Pennell ML, Young GS, Seiber EE, Harrop JP, DeGraffinreid CR, Tatum CM, Dean JA, Murray DM, Ohio Patient Navigation Research P. The Ohio Patient Navigation Research Program: does the American Cancer Society patient navigation model improve time to resolution in patients with abnormal screening tests? Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers & Prevention. 2012;21(10):1620-8. PMC3785236.

Klesges RC, Obarzanek E, Kumanyika S, Murray DM, Klesges LM, Relyea GE, Stockton MB, Lanctot JQ, Beech BM, McClanahan BS, Sherrill-Mittleman D, Slawson DL. Memphis Girls health Enrichment Multi-site Studies (GEMS): an evaluation of the efficacy of a 2-year obesity prevention program in African American girls. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2010;164(11):1007-14. PMC3052791.

Webber LS, Catellier DJ, Lytle LA, Murray DM, Pratt CA, Young DR, Elder JP, Lohman TG, Stevens J, Jobe JB, Pate RR. Promoting physical activity in middle school girls: Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls. American Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2008;34(3):173-84. PMC2275165.

Klesges RC, Obarzanek E, Klesges LM, Stockton MB, Beech BM, Murray DM. Memphis Girls health Enrichment Multi-site Studies (GEMS) Phase 2: Design and baseline. Contemporary Clinical Trials. 2008;29(1):42-55.

Hawkins JD, Catalano RF, Arthur MW, Egan E, Brown EC, Abbott RD, Murray DM. Testing communities that care: the rationale, design and behavioral baseline equivalence of the Community Youth Development study. Prevention Science. 2008;9(3):178-90. PMC2562862.

Dr. David M. Murray

David M. Murray, Ph.D.
Associate Director for Prevention
Director, Office of Disease Prevention