Belinda Borrelli

Professor of Health Policy & Health Services Research; Director, Center for Behavioral Sciences Research

Professional Interests

Dr. Belinda Borrelli, PhD is Professor and Director of The Center for Behavioral Science Research at Boston University, in the Department of Health Policy and Health Services Research, Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine. She is also the PI and Director of BU’s Mobile and Electronic Health-ARC. In 2013, she was invited to be a Visiting Professor at the University of Manchester, UK., and continues in that role. She was formally a Professor at Brown University, in both the School of Public Health and the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, and since transitioning to BU, maintains an adjunct Professorship at Brown. Dr. Borrelli received her MA and PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and completed her residency and fellowship training in Behavioral and Preventive Medicine at Brown University. She proceeded through the academic ranks at Brown University and became Full Professor there in 2009.

Dr. Borrelli is a Clinical Psychologist specializing in motivating behavior change, with 150 + peer-reviewed publications. She has held over 25 NIH grant awards as PI and Co-I, and numerous grant awards from other agencies and foundations. Over the past 25+ years, Prof. Borrelli’s research has focused on developing and testing treatments to motivate smoking cessation and secondhand smoke reduction, improving oral health and dietary behaviors, and promoting adherence to medications and treatment regimens for chronic diseases including sleep apnea, cystic fibrosis, and asthma. She specializes in integrating theory based treatments into public health contexts, and targeting underserved populations such as those with low income, inner city youth and adults, Latinos, people with mobility impairments, medically ill populations, older adults, and Native-Americans. Dr. Borrelli is also developing and testing mobile health platforms to initiate and sustain health behavior change (text messaging, mobile apps, Virtual Reality).

Dr. Borrelli has served on grant review panels in the US, Europe, and the UK and is a Fellow of the American College of Reviewers. She served as an advisor to the NIH on treatment fidelity, for both NIDCR and NHLBI, and has published several invited articles on best practice guidelines that have been widely disseminated. She provided expert testimony to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) on motivating health behavior change. She is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Society of Behavioral Medicine, and the Society for Research on Nicotine & Tobacco. Dr. Borrelli is a member of several journal editorial boards. She has been Associate Editor or Senior Associate Editor at leading journals in psychology (Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, Health Psychology, and American Psychologist) and the most cited journal in addiction science (Addiction). She was  Co-Editor of a special issue of Health Psychology on mHealth and eHealth interventions. She has taught Motivational Interviewing to health care practitioners in the US and abroad, and has given over 100 invited talks nationally and internationally. She was named “TEDMED Research Scholar” in 2015. In 2017, she received BU’s Research Collaborator of the Year award, from the Office of Interdisciplinary Biomedical Research & The Evans Center. She served as primary mentor to over 35 interns, post-docs, and NIH K award recipients.

Representative publications from over 150 publications:

For full publication list, see:

Digital Technologies 

Borrelli, B., Endrighi, R., Jurasic, M., Hernandez, H., Jones, E., Ospina, J., Cabral, H., Quintiliani, L., & Werntz, S. (2022). A Smoking Cessation Induction Intervention Via Virtual Reality Headset During a Dental Cleaning: Protocol for a Randomized Controlled Trial. BMC Public Health, 22(1), 1074. PMID: 35641925

Borrelli, B., Rueras, N., Jurasic, M. (2021).  Delivery of a Smoking Cessation Induction Intervention via Virtual Reality Headset during a Dental Cleaning. Translational Behavioral Medicine. 11(1), 182-188. PMID: 31665495

Borrelli, B., Endrighi, R., Quintiliani, L. M., Hughes, R. B., & Pagoto, S. (2021). Facebook usage, participation patterns, and social support from Facebook activity among smokers with mobility impairments. Translational Behavioral Medicine, 11(3), 882-890. PMID: 33710308

Kathuria, H., Shankar, D., Cobb, V, Newman, J., Bulekova, K., Werntz, S., & Borrelli, B.  Integrating social determinants of health with tobacco treatment for individuals with opioid use disorder: Feasibility and Acceptability of delivery through text messages. (in press, JMIR Formative Research).

Borrelli, B., Henshaw, M., Endrighi, R., Adams, W. G., Heeren, T., Rosen, R., . . . Werntz, S. (2019). An Interactive Parent-Targeted Text Messaging Intervention to Improve Oral Health in Children Attending Urban Pediatric Clinics: Feasibility Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Medical Internet Research mHealth and uHealth. 7(11):e14247. 11 Nov 2019. doi:10.2196/14247. PMID: 31710306

Motivational Interviewing (Oral health, Smoking, Asthma, Sleep Apnea)

Halterman, J.S., Riekert, K., Fagnano, M., Tremblay, P., Blaakman, S., Tajon, R., Wang., H., & Borrelli, B. (2021). Effect of the School-Based Asthma Care for Teens (SB-ACT) Trial on Asthma Morbidity: A 3-Arm Randomized Controlled Trial. Journal of Asthma. Dec 12; 1-16. PMID: 33307900. DOI: 10.1080/02770903.2020.1856869

Henshaw, M.M., Borrelli, B., Gregorich, S., Heaton, B., Tooley, E., Santo, W., Cheng, N.F., Rasmussen, M., Helman, S., Shain, S., & Garcia, R.I. (2018). Randomized Trial of Motivational Interviewing to Prevent Early Childhood Caries in Public Housing. Journal of Dental and Craniofacial Research. 3(4): 353-365. doi:10.1177/2380084418794377. PMID: 30238060. PMCID: PMC6139579

Borrelli, B., Endrighi, R., Hammond, S.K. & Dunsiger, S. (2017). Smokers who are unmotivated to quit and have a child with asthma are more likely to quit with intensive Motivational Interviewing and repeated biomarker feedback. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology Nov 85(11): 1019-1028. PMID 29083219. PMCID: PMC5678980.

Brooks, D.R., Burtner, J., Borrelli, B., Heeren, T.C., Evans, T., Davine, J., Greenbaum, J., Scarpaci, M., Kane, J., Rees, V.W., Geller, A.C. (2017).  Twelve-Month Outcomes of a Group-Randomized Community Health Advocate-Led Smoking Cessation Intervention in Public Housing. Nicotine Tob Res, 20(12), 1434-1441. doi:10.1093/ntr/ntx193. PMID 29145626.

 Borrelli, B., McQuaid, E.M., Tooley, E.M., Busch, A.M., Hammond, K., Becker, B. & Dunsiger, S.  (2016). Motivating Parents of Kids with Asthma to Quit Smoking:  The Effect of the Teachable Moment and Increasing Intervention Intensity Using a Longitudinal  Randomized Trial Design. Addiction 111, doi: 10.111/add.13389

Eakin, M.N, Rand, C.S., Borrelli, B., Bilderback, A., Hovell, M., & Riekert, K.A. (2014). Effectiveness of Motivational Interviewing to Reduce Head Start Children’s Secondhand Smoke Exposure: A Randomized Clinical Trial.  American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 189(12), 1530-1537. PMID: 24821270. PMCID: PMC4226021.

Aloia, M.S., Arnedt, T., Strand, M. Millman, R.P., Borrelli, B. (2013). Motivational Enhancement to improve adherence to positive airway pressure in patients with obstructive sleep apnea:  A randomized controlled trial. Sleep 36(11), 1655-1662. PMID: 24179298. PMCID: PMC3792382.

Halterman, J.S.,  Szilagyi, P., Fisher, M., Fagnano, P., Tremblay, K.M., Conn, H., Wang, B., &  Borrelli, B. (2011). A Randomized Controlled Trial to Improve Care for Urban Children with Asthma: Results of the School-Based Asthma Therapy (SBAT) Trial. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 165(3), 262-8.

Borrelli, B., McQuaid, E., Novak, S., Hammond, K., & Becker, B.  Motivating Latino Parents of Children with Asthma to Quit Smoking:  A Randomized Trial. (2010). Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 78(1) 33-43.

Borrelli, B., Novak., S., Hecht, J., Emmons, K., Papandonatos, G., & Abrams, D. (2005)  Home health care nurses as a new channel for smoking cessation treatment:  Outcomes from Project CARES (Community-nurse Assisted Research and Education on Smoking).  Preventive Medicine41, 815-821.

Smoking/Vaping (see also Motivational Interviewing)

Endrighi, R., Zhao, Y., Hughes, R., Kumar, D., & Borrelli, B. (2022). Associations Between Smoking Status and Physical and Mental Health-Related Quality of Life Among Individuals With Mobility Impairments. Annals of Behavioral Medicine. 56(9), 890-899.

 Borrelli, B. & O’Connor, G.T. (2019) E-Cigarettes to Assist with Smoking Cessation.  New England Journal of Medicine. 380:678-679. 2019 Feb 14. doi: 10.1056/NEJMe1816406. PMID: 30699299

Borrelli, B., Gaynor, SM., Tooley, E., Armitage, C.J., Wearden, A., & Bartlett, K.  (2018). Identification of three different types of smokers who are not motivated to quit:  Results from a Latent Class Analysis. Health Psychology, 37(3), 179-187.doi:10.1037/hea0000561. PMID: 2896770.

Borrelli, B., Busch, A., & Dunsiger, S. (2014).  Cigarette Smoking among Adults with Mobility Impairments: A General Population-Based Survey in the United States. American Journal of Public Health. 104(10), 1943-1949.

Treatment Fidelity

Borrelli, B. (2011). The Assessment, Monitoring, and Enhancement of Treatment Fidelity in Public Health Trials. Journal of Public Health Dentistry, 71, S52-S63.

Borrelli, B., Sepinwall, D., Ernst, D., Bellg, A.J., Czajkowski, S., Breger, R., DeFrancesco, C., Levesque, C., Sharp, D.S., Ogedegbe, G., Resnick, B., Orwig, D.  (2005). A New Tool to Assess Treatment Fidelity and Evaluation of Treatment Fidelity Across Ten Years of Health Behavior Research. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 73(5), 852-860.

Bellg, A., Borrelli, B., Resnick, B.,  Ogedegbe, G, Hecht, J., Ernst, D. & Czajkowski, S. (2004). Enhancing treatment fidelity in health behavior change studies:  Best practices and recommendations from the Behavioral Change Consortium.  Health Psychology, 23(5), 443-451.  **First authorship is equally shared between first two authors