NIH: Office of Disease Prevention


Office of Disease Prevention Staff

Denise Simons-Morton, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

Senior Advisor

Dr. Simons-Morton joined the ODP in May 2013 as a Senior Advisor. The focus of her career has been to obtain evidence for prevention strategies that employ both high-risk clinical and public-health community approaches, and to work to translate that evidence into practice.

She came to the ODP after 20 years at the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), where she was Director of the NHLBI Division for the Application of Research Discoveries (DARD). DARD provides leadership for research translation programs to speed the application of scientific advances to prevent and treat cardiovascular, lung, and blood diseases. She began at NHLBI in 1992 as a Research Medical Officer, after which she led the NHLBI Prevention Scientific Research Group and the Clinical Applications and Prevention Program/Branch and was Senior Scientific Advisor in the Division of Cardiovascular Sciences. She has been a scientific project officer and collaborator on numerous NIH-funded multicenter controlled trials, and led the development of many funding opportunity announcements, all of which focused on applied human research that can directly inform cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention practice.

Dr. Simons-Morton’s experience covers a broad range of prevention topics, including the following: effects of dietary patterns and lifestyle interventions on blood pressure in adults; community approaches to improve healthcare seeking for acute cardiac events; dietary strategies to reduce blood cholesterol in children; intervention approaches delivered in primary care practice to improve patients’ physical activity levels and in schools to improve physical activity levels of adolescent girls; strategies to improve implementation of clinical preventive services for CVD prevention; and effects of different glycemia, blood pressure, and lipid treatment strategies on CVD events in adults with type 2 diabetes. She was project officer of the landmark clinical trial called ACCORD (Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes), is author or co-author of about 100 journal or book publications, and has received numerous NIH awards and a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Award for Distinguished Service.

Prior to joining NHLBI in 1992, Dr. Simons-Morton served on the faculties of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Galveston and the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, where she taught preventive medicine and was Associate Chief of Staff of a community health program comprising five community health centers in Harris County, Texas, funded by property taxes. She received a B.S. in zoology and psychology with high honors from the University of Maryland in College Park; an M.D. from the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore; an M.P.H. from the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health in Baltimore; and a Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Texas School of Public Health in Houston. She also completed a family practice internship and Preventive Medicine residency at the University of Maryland School of Medicine at Baltimore and is board certified in preventive medicine and public health.