Dr. Jay Bernhardt is recognized internationally as a visionary leader, senior executive, respected scholar, and innovative scientist in the application of communication, marketing, and media to public health, healthcare, and medicine. In 2011, he founded Digital Health Impact, Inc., a consulting and communication company specializing in the integration of health communication theory and science with new media ubiquity for maximizing positive health impact.
Since July 2010, Dr. Bernhardt serves as Department Chair and Professor of Health Education and Behavior in the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida, in Gainesville, FL. He is also the founding director of the Center for Digital Health and Wellness at the University of Florida.
In 2005, following an international search, he was selected as the first permanent Director of the National Center for Health Marketing (NCHM) at CDC, a position he held until 2009 when NCHM was eliminated as part of a major CDC reorganization. Leading this new Center involved the creation of its vision, mission, values, organizational structure, strategic plan, and programmatic priorities, as well as recruitment and development of the entire senior leadership team. In FY09, NCHM employed more than 500 staff with a budget of more than $100 million.
Dr. Bernhardt led NCHM’s strategic partnership engagement with senior leaders from federal government agencies, such as HHS, ONC, NCI, SAMHSA, FDA, CMS, AHRQ, USDA; state governments, such as Ohio, Arkansas, Indiana; public health and non-profit organizations such as ASTHO, NACCHO, APHA, APHL, ACS; businesses and trade organizations such as J&J, BD, GE, NSC, NBGH, CTIA; and other strategic partnership sectors. Under Dr. Bernhardt’s leadership, NCHM has expanded its programs to East Asia, Central America, and East Africa.
Dr. Bernhardt has propelled the CDC to lead the federal government in the application of social media and web 2.0, resulting in one of the most user-centered, award-winning federal websites. Quick to see the potential for participatory technology, Dr. Bernhardt was among the first federal officials to blog. His ability to envision the utility of mobile technology for improved domestic and global health has led to his reputation as a “Mobile Health Evangelist.”
Dr. Bernhardt holds an Adjunct Associate Professorship at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. Prior to his tenure at CDC, he was an Assistant Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Health Education at Emory and the Founding Director of the Emory Center for Public Health Communication. Previously, Dr. Bernhardt was Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Behavior at the University of Georgia. His PhD in Health Behavior and Health Education is from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Dr. Bernhardt has more than 60 scientific publications, including book chapters and articles in leading scholarly journals such as the American Journal of Public Health and the British Medical Journal. His research includes 19 funded studies, 9 as Principal Investigator, primarily from the National Institutes of Health and the CDC. Dr. Bernhardt serves on three Editorial Boards, Social Marketing Quarterly, Health Education Research, and Journal of Health Communication; is a member of five honor societies including Delta Omega; and has received numerous prestigious awards. In 2001, Dr. Bernhardt was the youngest member ever elected to the Executive Board of the American Public Health Association. During his term he was elected to serve as Vice Chairperson of the Board.
A gifted and sought-after speaker, Dr. Bernhardt has delivered scores of keynote addresses and presentations since 2005. He is a vocal advocate for the power of social networks and the need to increase connections between and among professionals and communities, having founded the National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing, and Media, now in its 5th year.