Rebecca (Becky) Gary is a Professor, tenured, and her broad research objectives are to improve symptom severity and quality of life in patients with chronic cardiovascular disease. Specifically, she is interested in understanding the link between the physiological and psychological responses associated with worsening symptom severity and disease progression in heart failure patients. Her funded research has included biobehavioral interventions using exercise and cognitive behavioral therapy as strategies to improve physical function, physiological biomarkers, symptom severity and depressive symptoms in heart failure patients. Dr. Gary's teaching focuses on quantitative research methods.

Areas of Expertise

Biological Behavioral/omics
Cardiovascular Health
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Dr. Gary’s work has exclusively focused on designing exercise and bio-behavioral self-management interventions to improve physiological status, physical and psychological symptoms and quality of life in chronic illness populations. Dr. Gary is currently collaborating on three funded NIH studies. The first, R01 NR014963, R. Gary and D. Waldrop-Valverde (Dual –PIs), “Healing hearts, mending minds in older persons with HIV,” is a RCT to test the efficacy for a home-based aerobic exercise intervention to improve cognitive functioning among older men and women living with HIV/AIDS. The second study is through the P-30 mechanism (P30NR014134, Waldrop-Valverde, PI): it is examining limited efficacy of a combined exercise and cognitive retraining program to mitigate cognitive impairment in stable NYHA class II and III heart failure participants with mild cognitive impairment compared to either exercise alone or a no-interventi on, attention-control group (R. Gary, PI, pilot study). This P-30 pilot project recently received a supplement award (3P30NR014134-04S1, Waldrop-Valverde, PI) to use innovative neuroimaging techniques (magnetic resonance imaging) to better understand the underlying structural brain changes and physiological mechanisms that guide the cognitive processes required for effective self-care management in persons with HF (Gary, PI, pilot study supplement). The third study is a Center for AIDS Research pilot grant (CFAR03 00044615) that will examine aerobic training effects on cardiovascular risk, neuro-cognition and the underlying physiological mechanisms (inflammation, oxidative stress, endothelial function) in persons with HIV. In addition, Dr. Gary has been funded by the American Heart Association and the Emory Heart and Vascular Center. Dr. Gary’s research trajectory reflects her commitment to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that contribute to poor clinical outcomes and quality of life among aging adults with multiple chronic illnesses. Her work has maintained strong interdisciplinary support and collaboration across all previous and current projects. She has been published in high impact, multidisciplinary journals in cardiovascular nursing, medicine and rehabilitation and has served on various review panels. Her work has been presented locally, nationally, internationally and for invited venues. Dr. Gary currently mentors doctoral and postdoctoral students and teaches health outcomes research in the PhD program.