National Cancer Institute
Frank Perna

Frank Perna, EDD, PhD

Program Director
Health Behaviors Research Branch (HBRB)
Behavioral Research Program (BRP)

Research Area: Clinical health and sport psychology, physical activity, school policy, biopsychosocial mechanisms and theories of behavior change

Frank Perna is a Behavioral Scientist/Program Director at the National Cancer Institute (NCI), Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS), Behavioral Research Program (BRP), Health Behaviors Research Branch (HBRB). He received his Bachelor's degree from the East Stroudsburg University, obtained Doctorates in Counseling Psychology and Health Psychology from Boston University and the University of Pittsburgh, respectively, and completed a clinical psychology internship in medical psychology at the Boston Veterans Administration Medical Center and post-doctoral fellowships at the U.S. Olympic Training Center and at the University of Miami.

Prior to coming to NCI, Dr. Perna was an associate professor at West Virginia University and later served as an associate professor and director of health psychology at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM). In addition to his teaching role and clinical responsibilities in the weight loss surgery program at BUSM, he maintained an active program of National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded research examining cognitive behavioral counseling to promote exercise adherence, and its associated effects on mental and physical health for cancer patients and women smokers at risk for cancer. Throughout his career, he has worked in the area of exercise intervention for persons with chronic disease and obesity. His other research and practice areas concerned performance enhancement work with professional and recreational athletes and facilitating adjustment to athletic injury.

Dr. Perna has been listed on the Sport Psychology Registry of the United States Olympic Committee, served as a research psychologist at the 1996 Olympic Games, was elected to the executive boards of the Association of Applied Sport Psychology and the American Psychological Association's Division of Exercise & Sport Psychology, and served on the editorial board for the Journal of Applied Sport Psychology and on two Commonwealth of Massachusetts Expert Panels on the Safety of Bariatric Surgery. He was also the recipient of the Dorothy Harris Early Career Contribution award the Walter Peach Health Psychology career award from the Association of Applied Sport Psychology.

Current and past BRP mentors include Michele Bloch.

Current and past BRP mentees include Kara Hall, Jenn Nguyen and Kasey Morris.

Selected Publications and Presentations

Hennessy E, Oh A, Agurs-Collins T, Chriqui J, Masse L, Moser RP, Perna F State-level school competitive food and beverage laws are associated with children’s weight status. J Phys Act Health 2014 Aug 7:609-616.

Atienza, A. A., Moser, R., Perna, F., Dodd, K., Ballard-Barbash, R., Troiano, R, & Berrigan, D. Self-reported and objectively-measured activity related biomarkers using NHANES. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise 2010; Published ahead of print.

Perna FM, Oh A, Chriqui JF, et al. The association of state law to physical education time allocation in US public schools.. Am J Public Health 2012 August; 102(8):1594-1599.

Oh, A., Shaikh, A., Waters, E., Moser, R. P., & Perna, F. Health disparities in awareness of physical activity and cancer prevention: Findings from the National Cancer Institute's 2007 Health Information National Trends Survey (HINTS). J Health Commun 2010; 15 Suppl(3):60-77.

Oh A, Hennessy E, McSpadden K, and Perna FM Contextual influences on weight status among impoverished adolescents: neighborhood amenities for physical activity and state laws for physical education time requirements. J Phys Act Health 2014 Aug 7.

Last Updated: 07/11/2014 07:41:59