Professor of Clinical and Health Psychology
College of Public Health and Health Professions
For patients awaiting and receiving organ transplants, physical health usually takes precedence over mental health.
But James Rodrigue’s research is proving that mental health can play a large part in the health outcomes of patients with organ transplants.
Rodrigue, a professor of clinical and health psychology, studies how behavioral health factors influence morbidity and mortality following organ transplantation.
“There is growing evidence that factors such as obesity, substance abuse, depression and anxiety, and nonadherence are associated with poorer transplant outcomes,” Rodrigue says.
His research program examines how behavioral health services can contribute to the overall success of transplantation for patients and their families.
“My transplant colleagues and I have found that targeted psychological services have important mental and physical health benefits for patients both before and after transplant,” Rodrigue says.
As the liaison to various organ transplant teams, Rodrigue has developed interdisciplinary relationships with colleagues in medicine, surgery, nursing and pharmacy.
Robert Frank, dean of the College of Public Health and Health Professions, says Rodrigue’s research has provided students with opportunities for both clinical and research training.
“The outcome has included the implementation of an important multidisciplinary research program,” Frank says.