In Memoriam: School of Medicine Mourns the Loss of Bob Klesges, PhD

July 9, 2024 by

Bob Klesges, PhD.

Bob Klesges, PhD.

Bob Klesges, PhD, passed away unexpectedly on July 2, 2024. Dr. Klesges was a professor in the UVA Department of Public Health Sciences for the past seven years. He was the director of the Center for Addiction and Prevention Research (CAPR) and was one of the nation’s top experts in tobacco cessation and the health effects of smoking.

Bob had a deep passion for learning and education. He completed a bachelor’s in psychology at Pepperdine University, a master’s and doctorate in psychology at the University of Wyoming, and his internship at the University of Southern California’s School of Medicine. He began his research career at North Dakota State University where he established some of the first worksite smoking cessation programs along with novel family-based approaches to childhood obesity prevention. Bob began his tenure as a professor at the University of Virginia School of Medicine on June 1, 2017, after serving as the director of the Center for Population Sciences at the University of Tennessee.

Dr. Klesges’ research has been continuously funded by the NIH since 1983 and he served as the principal investigator or co-principal investigator for five NIH grants. Over his career, his grant portfolio exceeded a total of $50 million and he had more than 300 peer-reviewed publications along with two patents. He was a seven-time contributor to the Surgeon General’s Report on the Health Consequences of Smoking and also contributed to the Institute of Medicine report on smoking and tobacco use in military service member and veteran populations. He served on and chaired multiple NIH study sections, most recently chairing the Community Level Health Promotion study section at NIH.

His interests at the University of Virginia included work with cancer survivors, projects surrounding deterring excessive binge drinking on college campuses, and addressing the opiate addiction epidemic. While Dr. Klesges’ primary emphasis was on research, he also focused on collaborating with and mentoring junior faculty at UVA and other academic institutions throughout the United States. Between the military and civilian projects, Dr. Klesges and CAPR faculty have worked to reduce the burden of addictions primarily in the United States Air Force and in the state of Virginia.

Above all, Dr. Klesges was an extraordinary person, researcher and educator who was passionate about his work and the people it impacted. We will all greatly miss him, and his legacy will endure. Our thoughts are with Bob’s family members and his many colleagues and friends here at UVA.

Filed Under: Faculty