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College Overview

* (COPH C Overview faculty)

Rita DeBate, PhD

Rita DeBate, PhD

Professor, College of Public Health

Director, Center for Applied Lifestyle Medicine

Contact Info

  • Office: LRC 219
  • Academic Email:
  • Academic Phone: 8139746683
  • View My C.V. | View My Website


  • PhD, Public Health, University of South Carolina, 1995
  • MPH, Health Education & Behavior, University of Southern Carolina, 1992
  • BS, Psychology, SUNY Geneseo, 1985


Health Promotion & Behavior


  • Lifestyle Medicine
  • Behavioral Epidemiology
  • Adolescent Health
  • Mental Health
  • Secondary Prevention of Eating Disorders


Dr. DeBate is a tenured Professor, Past President of the American Academy of Health Behavior, and Director of the USF Center for Applied Lifestyle Medicine. She also serves as the Research & Evaluation Advisor for Active Minds ( and Director of the Lifestyle Medicine Coaching programs at Tampa General Hospital Healthpark Clinic and USF Health Pamela Muma Women's Center. She is an accomplished National Institutes of Health (NIH) researcher focusing on mental health/eating disorders, college student health and well-being, and lifestyle medicine earning her Fellow designation in the American Academy of Health Behavior, the Academy of Eating Disorders, and the Eating Disorder Research Society. Dr. DeBate’s research is theoretically-and evidence-informed and guided by both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies. Dr. DeBate has over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles and 6 book chapters. She has been the Principal Investigator (PI) of 4 NIH funded research studies on secondary prevention of eating disorders and has collaborated as a Co-investigator on 1 USDHHS and 3 additional NIH funded studies. She has presented her research both nationally and internationally and has consistently been called upon as a consultant. Her innovative practice-based research has earned her the following national awards: 2023 American College Health Association Advancing Health Equity Award; 2022 American Academy of Lifestyle Medicine Research Excellent Award; 2021 NASPA Research Award; 2019 Journal of the American College Health Association Weiss Writing Award; 2019 NASPA Excellence Award Athletics, Recreation, Counseling, Health, Wellness, and Related; 2019 American College Health Association Best Practices in College Health Award; and 2018 Active Minds Healthy Campus Award. Dr. DeBate is the Health Education & Behavior Concentration Lead in the college. She also teaches several courses in the College of Public Health including, Lifestyle Medicine, Population Assessment I, Translation to Practice, Community Health Program Planning, and is actively taking Doctoral students who are interested in her research and practice areas.