Megan A. McVay, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Health Education & Behavior

  • PhD in Psychology, Louisiana State University (2012)
  • MA in Psychology, Louisiana State University (2012)
  • BA in Psychology, University of Puget Sound (2004)

McVay CV


Megan McVay Lab Website:


Megan McVay, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Education and Behavior. She completed her PhD in Psychology (Clinical and Biological areas) at Louisiana State University and completed her clinical internship and postdoctoral training at Duke University Medical Center and Durham Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Dr. McVay conducts research on behavioral aspects of weight management. Her current work is focused on initiation and engagement in evidence-based approaches to weight management among adults with obesity. This focus stems from recognizing that the majority of adults with obesity do not initiate evidence-based weight loss treatments. To address this, she is focused on (1) developing and testing strategies that mobilize non-treatment seeking adults with obesity to enroll in empirically supported weight loss interventions and on (2) identifying or developing weight loss interventions (including preventive interventions) that are more likely to be initiated and sustained by adults with obesity. This work includes a focus on using digital health tools to address these and other aspects of weight management. In 2015, Dr. McVay received a 5-year career development grant from the National Institute of Heart, Lung, and Blood (NHLBI) to develop and pilot test a web-based intervention to increase initiation of weight loss treatments.

Dr. McVay is a member of several professional organizations including The Obesity Society (TOS) and Society of Behavior Medicine (SBM), where she is a member of the Publication Council. She has received awards for research presentations from the Society of Behavior Medicine, The Obesity Society, and the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery. She has published in leading journals, including American Journal of Preventive Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, Genetics in Medicine, and Translational Behavioral Medicine. She has also been selected for competitive, specialized NIH-funded training institutes in mhealth and behavioral randomized clinical trials.

Dr. McVay will be accepting PhD students in the Fall of 2019. She also has opportunities for undergraduate and master’s students to get involved in research in her lab

Research interest:

  • Behavioral weight management
  • Initiation and engagement in weight loss interventions
  • Digital health interventions for weight management
  • Genetic risk information and weight-related health behaviors


  • Genetic causal attributions for weight status and weight loss during a behavioral weight gain prevention intervention (Link)
  • Patient factors associated with initiation of behavioral weight loss treatment: a prospective observational study in an integrated care setting (Link)
  • Perceived barriers and facilitators of initiation of behavioral weight loss interventions among adults with obesity: a qualitative study (Link)