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Melissa Kalarchian, Ph.D., brings a strong research background, passion for teaching, and creative leadership to her role as Associate Dean for Research. She graduated cum laude with High Honors in Psychology from Dartmouth College and earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in Psychology from Rutgers University. Dr. Kalarchian completed her internship and postdoctoral fellowship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC), University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and subsequently joined the faculty there. Prior to coming to Duquesne, she served as Co-Director of the Psychology Internship Program at WPIC, nationally recognized for its high quality training based on a clinical science model.

Dr. Kalarchian is a psychologist specializing in behavioral medicine. Her research interests focus on adapting evidence-based lifestyle interventions to meet the needs of vulnerable populations such as individuals undergoing bariatric surgery, obese children, patients taking antipsychotic medications, pregnant women, and smokers. She collaborates with colleagues in nursing, psychiatry, public health, statistics and surgery. Dr. Kalarchian has been instrumental in securing over 8 million dollars in research funding. Most recently, she has been Principal Investigator on several National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Foundation funded studies geared to helping patients achieve maximal weight loss and optimal psychosocial functioning after weight loss surgery. She has published extensively in her field and lectures both locally and nationally. Dr. Kalarchian has been a standing member of NIH and Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) grant review panels and serves as a peer reviewer for numerous biomedical journals. She has been an active member of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS), the American Heart Association (AHA), the Eating Disorders Research Society (EDRS), and is a Fellow of the Obesity Society (FTOS). She is ideally positioned to lead Duquesne University School of Nursing's mission for research, scholarship and innovation.


  • Ph.D., Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, 1998
  • Psychology Internship, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, 1998
  • MS, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University, 1996
  • BA, Dartmouth College, 1989

Research Interests

  • Obesity and bariatric surgery
  • Behavioral lifestyle intervention
  • Psychosocial functioning
  • Health behaviors
  • Clinical studies

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Departments, Centers, and Offices


Site Principal Investigator, "Psychosocial Issues and Bariatric Surgery," NIH/NIDDK Grant Award, $1,339,289, 9/1/14-6/30/18.

Nolfi, D., & Kalarchian, M., "Systematic Reviews in Health Sciences Education and Research: Increasing Collaboration between the Schools and Library", NIH/NLM Grant Award, $13,418, 2015-2016.

Recent publications:

Bennett, EA, Kolko, RP, Chia, L, Elliott, JP, & Kalarchian, MA. Treatment of obesity among youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities: An emerging role for telenursing. Western Journal of Nursing Research. 2017;39(8), 1008-1027. PubMed PMID: 28349744.

Funk, LM, Gunnar, W, Dominitz, JA, Eisenberg, D, Frayne, S, Maggard-Gibbons, M, Kalarchian, MA, Livingston, E, Sanchez, V, Smith, BR, Weidenbacher, H, Maciejewski, ML. A health services research agenda for bariatric surgery within the Veterans Health Administration. Journal of General Internal Medicine. 2017;32(suppl 1):65-69. PubMed PMID: 28271434.

Goode, RW, Kalarchian, MA, Craighead, L, Conroy, MB, Wallace, J, Eack, SM, & Burke, LE. The feasibility of a binge eating intervention in Black women who are overweight or obese. Accepted for print 9 Mar 2018, Eating Behaviors. PubMed PMID: 29549863.

Kalarchian, MA, King, WC, Devlin, MJ, White, GE, Marcus, MD, Garcia, L, Yanovski, SZ, & Mitchell, JE. Surgery-related gastrointestinal symptoms in a prospective study of bariatric surgery patients: 3-year follow-up. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 2017;13(9):1562-1571. PubMed PMID: 28579205.

King, W, Chen, JY, Belle, S, Courcoulas, AP, Dakin, GF, Flum, DR, Hionjosa, MW, Kalarchian, MA, Mitchell, JE, Pories, Spaniolas, K, Wolfe, BM, Yanovski, SZ, Engel, SG, & Steffen, KJ. Use of prescribed opioids before and after bariatric surgery: Prospective evidence from a US multicenter cohort study. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 2017;13(8):1337-1346. PubMed PMID: 28579202

King, WC, Chen, J, Courcoulas, AP, Dakin, GF, Engel, SG, Flum, DR, Hinojosa, MW, Kalarchian, MA, Mattar, S, Mitchell, JE, Pomp, A, Pories, WJ, Steffen, KJ, White, G, Wolfe, BM, & Yanovski, SZ. Alcohol and other substance use disorders among adults undergoing bariatric surgery: A prospective longitudinal study. Surgery for Obesity and Related Diseases. 2017;13(8):1392-1402. PubMed PMID: 28528115.

Kiraly C, Turk MT, Kalarchian MA, Shaffer C. Applying ecological frameworks in obesity intervention studies in Hispanic/Latino youth: A systematic review. Hispanic Health Care International, 2017; 15(3): 130-142. PMCID: 4967019.

  • 2023 - Inducted as a Fellow of the Society of Behavioral Medicine
  • 2019 - Presidential Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • 2019 - School of Nursing Faculty Excellence Award for Scholarship
  • 2015 - School of Nursing Faculty Award for Excellence in Scholarship
  • 2015 - First Place Integrated Health Research Award sponsored by the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation
  • Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), Assessment of Prevention, Diagnosis and Treatment Options, Standing Panelist - 2013-2015
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH), Digestive Diseases and Nutrition C Sub-Committee (DDK-C), Standing Member - 2011-2017
  • Heath Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Ad Hoc Reviewer
  • Essel Investigator, Research Partners Program, National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression - 2000-2001