Center for Addiction Medicine

Anne Thorndike, MD, MPH

Anne Thorndike Headshot

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

Contact:     (617) 724-4608


Dr. Thorndike’s research focuses on individual and population-level behavioral interventions to prevent cardiometabolic disease. Her early research, mentored by Dr. Rigotti, focused on testing smoking cessation interventions in clinical settings. Her focus has expanded to include obesity prevention through interventions to promote exercise and nutrition in worksite and community settings. Over the past five years, she has tested interventions in worksite cafeteria and community grocery environments to promote healthy food choices using behavioral economics strategies, such as choice architecture, social norms, and financial incentives. Acknowledging that changing health behaviors requires a multi-level approach, her work focuses on environmental and population-level strategies to change diet, exercise, and smoking behaviors that are major contributors to morbidity and mortality worldwide. Dr. Thorndike has been mentored by Dr. Rigotti since her general medicine fellowship. She also collaborates with Drs. Evins and Levy.


Current Projects

Promoting employee health through the worksite food environment

NHLBI R01 HL125486 2015-20

This study is a randomized controlled trial of 600 employees to test a one year intervention based on behavioral economics to provide personalized feedback about worksite food choices, energy balance, and social norms plus small financial incentives for healthy worksite food purchases. The aims of the project will be to determine if the intervention prevents weight gain and improves cardiovascular risk factors. Secondary outcomes include dietary intake and healthy eating patterns of socially connected co-workers over two years.


Psychological, cognitive, and genetic factors in a behavioral intervention to prevent weight gain

NIDDK R01 DK114735 2017- 20

This project examines the psychological traits, cognitive skills, and genes that may influence the impact of a behaviorally-informed intervention on dietary choices, weight, and other objective health indicators. This research is being conducted on employees participating in a randomized controlled trial to test an innovative behavioral intervention to prevent weight gain and reduce cardiometabolic risk factors over two years and will examine how psychological traits, cognitive skills, and genes that are associated with obesity and poor health outcomes and are specifically targeted by the behavioral intervention.


Influence of genetic risk factors for obesity and circadian rhythms on a behavioral intervention to prevent weight gain in MGH employees

Center for Genomic Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital


This research will examine the interaction between different genetic variants influencing body weight and circadian rhythms and the effectiveness of the behavioral intervention to prevent weight gain. The results of this project will provide some of the first data on how genetic risk for obesity and circadian rhythms moderates the response to an intervention informed by behavioral economics.

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