Skip Navigation

Debra L. Roter

DEBRA L. ROTER, MPH, DrPh, completed her doctorate at Johns Hopkins in 1977 has been a member of the faculty in the School of Public Health since 1980. She serves as Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society and holds appointments as Professor in the Schools of Medicine and Nursing, as well as the Kimmel Cancer Center.

For the past four decades, Dr. Roter’s research has focused on the study of patient-clinician communication and her coding method for analysis of medical dialogue, the Roter Interaction Analysis System (RIAS), has become the international standard by which medical dialogue is assessed. Her coding manual has been translated into 15 languages and there have been hundreds of studies conducted worldwide using her system. Her research addresses the influence of social factors, especially gender and ethnicity, on the dynamics of medical communication and its consequences for health care disparities, quality of care and a variety of patient health outcomes. Her work as an interventionist in activating patients to more fully engage in their care has been widely replicated, as has her approach to teaching communication skills in undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate medical programs.

Dr. Roter has published over 250 research articles and several books in the area of patient-physician communication and is recognized by the Web of Science as among the most highly cited in the social sciences. She has mentored and influenced many of the leaders in the field of health services research, health communication, and medical education.

She has been recognized for outstanding contribution to Health Education Research, from the Society for Public Health Education and by the American Academy on Physician and Patient Award for Outstanding Research Contributing to the Theory, Practice and Teaching of Effective Health Care Communication. She is also the recipient of the Golden Apple Award and the Advising, Mentoring and Teaching Recognition Award for her efforts on behalf of our students.

She was named a University Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society in 2012.