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Dr. Lisa Onken, a woman with blonde hair, smiling, wearing a dark shirt
Title: Director Behavior Change and Intervention Program
Office(s): Division of Behavioral and Social Research (DBSR)
Phone Number: 301-496-3131
Email Address:


Lisa Onken directs the Behavior Change and Intervention program in the Division of Behavioral and Social Research at the National Institute on Aging, NIH. She joined NIA in 2015, after serving as the Chief of the Behavioral and Integrative Treatment Branch and the Associate Director for Treatment at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIH. Dr. Onken received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Northwestern University. Prior to joining NIH, she held a variety of academic, clinical and research scientist positions at Northwestern University, the University of Illinois Medical Center and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.

At NIA, Dr. Onken administers a broad program of research on the development and overall optimization of behavioral interventions to promote the health and well-being of individuals as they age, including research on behavioral, social, and music interventions to promote positive affect, reduce negative affect, foster sleep, and improve the emotional well-being and quality of life for those who provide care and for people who live with dementia. Within the context of the NIH Stage Model, a conceptual framework that: 1) integrates basic science questions regarding mechanisms of behavior change within the intervention development process, and 2) encourages attention to an intervention’s implementability as early as possible and as often as necessary, Dr. Onken promotes the development and optimization of interventions that are defined by their principles and are maximally potent and scalable. In addition to leading the Edward R. Roybal Centers for Translational Research in the Behavioral and Social Sciences of Aging and the Roybal Centers for Translational Research on Dementia Care Provider Support she is a Project Scientist on the NIH Science of Behavior Change Program, and on the NIA AD/ADRD Health Care Systems Research Collaboratory.

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