Skip to main content.

Christie A. Befort, Ph.D.

Christie Befort portrait
Professor, Population Health

Professional Background

Christie Befort, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Population Health at the University of Kansas Medical Center and Associate Director of Cancer Prevention and Control for KU Cancer Center. Dr. Befort also has a faculty appointment for the Department of Psychology at KU Lawrence. For the past 15 years she has been conducting community-based research in the area of behavioral weight loss intervention and cancer prevention and survivorship. She also is past President of KUMC Women in Medicine and Science and an active mentor and advocate for promoting diversity with a particular focus on gender.

Education and Training
  • BS, Exercise Science / Kinesiology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX
  • MS, Counseling Psychology, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ
  • PhD, Counseling Psychology, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO
  • Internship, Behavioral Medicine Track, VA Palo Alto Health System, Palo Alto, CA
  • Post Doctoral Fellowship, KUMC / Department of Preventive Medicine & Public Health, Kansas City, KS



Dr. Befort is a behavioral scientist with clinical and research experience in obesity treatment and lifestyle intervention among underserved populations, particularly rural residents. Dr. Befort is the recipient of several grants from the National Institutes of Health, American Cancer Society, and Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute. Her research program focuses on cancer prevention and survivorship through weight loss and physical activity. Dr. Befort has led several behavioral randomized clinical trials examining strategies for delivering weight loss interventions tailored to cancer survivorship and primary care needs. She led the first trials targeting weight loss among breast cancer survivors in rural communities, and she recently completed a large 36-site cluster randomized trial targeting implementation of obesity treatment in rural primary care settings across a four-state region. Her research efforts have included building a pragmatic trial infrastructure for conducting implementation research in rural primary care. In this work, Dr. Befort engages an activated Patient Advisory Board and numerous healthcare systems and community-level stakeholders throughout the Midwestern region. Dr. Befort’s collaborative research includes trials addressing lifestyle factors in rural Florida through Cooperative Extension services, cancer survivorship care delivery in rural primary care in Kansas, and efficacy of behavioral weight loss among patients with MS. She collaborates closely with interdisciplinary teams across medicine, population health, psychology, nutrition, rehabilitation science, and biostatistics.

  • Befort, C., A, Kimler, B., F, Bantis, L., E, Phillips, T., A, Fabian, C., J. 2020. Effects of Weight Loss and Weight Regain on Circulating Biomarkers in Overweight/Obese Breast Cancer Survivors Enrolled in a Weight Loss Trial in the Rural Midwest.. Cancer epidemiology, biomarkers & prevention : a publication of the American Association for Cancer Research, cosponsored by the American Society of Preventive Oncology, 29 (7), 1321-1328
  • Befort, C., A, Klemp, J., R, Sullivan, D., K, Shireman, T, Diaz, F., J, Schmitz, K, Perri, M., G, Fabian, C. 2016. Weight loss maintenance strategies among rural breast cancer survivors: The rural women connecting for better health trial.. Obesity (Silver Spring, Md.), 24 (10), 2070-7
  • Befort, C., A, VanWormer, J., J, Desouza, C, Ellerbeck, E., F, Gajewski, B, Kimminau, K., S, Greiner, K., A, Perri, M., G, Brown, A., R, Pathak, R., D, Huang, T., T, Eiland, L, Drincic, A. 2021. Effect of Behavioral Therapy With In-Clinic or Telephone Group Visits vs In-Clinic Individual Visits on Weight Loss Among Patients With Obesity in Rural Clinical Practice: A Randomized Clinical Trial.. JAMA, 325 (4), 363-372
  • Perri, M., G, Shankar, M., N, Daniels, M., J, Durning, P., E, Ross, K., M, Limacher, M., C, Janicke, D., M, Martin, A., D, Dhara, K, Bobroff, L., B, Radcliff, T., A, Befort, C., A. 2020. Effect of Telehealth Extended Care for Maintenance of Weight Loss in Rural US Communities: A Randomized Clinical Trial.. JAMA network open, 3 (6), e206764
  • Befort, C., A, Kurz, D, VanWormer, J., J, Ellerbeck, E., F. 2020. Recruitment and reach in a pragmatic behavioral weight loss randomized controlled trial: implications for real-world primary care practice.. BMC family practice, 21 (1), 47