Staff: Bradford Hesse, Ph.D.

Bradford Hesse

Bradford Hesse, Ph.D.

Chief, HCIRB
Organization: Contact:
hesseb@mail.nih.gov
240-276-6721

Bradford (Brad) Hesse, Ph.D., was appointed Chief of the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch (HCIRB) in November, 2006. He served as the Acting Chief of HCIRB from 2004-06.

Dr. Hesse's professional focus is bringing the power of health information technologies to bear on the problem of eliminating death and suffering from cancer, a cause to which he remains steadfastly dedicated. While at NCI, he has championed several initiatives that evaluate and progress the science of cancer communication and informatics, including the Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS) and the Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communication (CECCR).

As director of NCI's biennial Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS), Dr. Hesse is responsible for leading a team of scientists in the development and execution of this nationally representative, general population survey of American adults. HINTS, now entering its fifth iteration, systematically evaluates the public's knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors relevant to cancer control in an environment of rapidly changing communication technologies.

Dr. Hesse also served as the program director for NCI's Centers of Excellence in Cancer Communication Research (CECCR). This initiative supported the research of four centers aimed at increasing the knowledge of, tools for, access to, and use of cancer communications by the public, patients, survivors, and health professionals. The centers were instrumental in defining the next generation of interdisciplinary collaboration in cancer communication science. Other initiatives included the joint NIH-NSF collaboration on Smart and Connected Health.

Prior to his work at NCI, Dr. Hesse conducted research in the interdisciplinary fields of human computer interaction, health communication, medical informatics, and computer-supported decision making. In 1988, he served as a postdoctoral member of the Committee for Social Science Research on Computing at Carnegie Mellon University, and he subsequently co-founded the Center for Research on Technology at the American Institutes for Research in Palo Alto, California, in 1991. Working in a contract environment before coming to NCI, Dr. Hesse directed projects for the Departments of Education and Labor, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Institutes of Health. He has also provided usability services to Apple Computer, Hewlett Packard, Xerox, Microsoft, Sun, and Netscape.

Dr. Hesse has authored or co-authored more than 180 publications, including peer-reviewed journal articles, technical reports, books, and book chapters. In 2009, his coauthored book titled "Making Data Talk: Communicating Public Health Data to the Public, Policy Makers, and the Press" was named Book of the Year by the American Journal of Nursing. His newest edited volume, "Oncology Informatics: Using Health Information Technology to Improve Processes and Outcomes in Cancer" was given the prestigious "PROSE Award" (Professional and Scholarly Excellence) for "Best Book in Clinical Medicine: 2016" by the Association of American Publishers.

Dr. Hesse is a member of several professional associations including the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, the Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Computer Human Interaction (SIGCHI), the Society of Behavioral Medicine, the International Communication Association, and the American Medical Informatics Association. He served on the Publications and Communications Board for the American Psychological Association from 2012 to 2016 and as an adviser to the Association's online resource, PsycINFO, from 2000 to 2016. He is currently serving as a member of the editorial board for the American Psychologist and as consulting member of the board of directors for the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He was elected to Fellow status by the Society of Behavioral Medicine in 2012.


Current and/or past BRP mentees include Lila Finney Rutten, Alexandra Greenberg and Melinda Krakow.


Research Interests

  • Health communication
  • Informatics research
  • Human system integration

Selected Publications and Presentations