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Robert J. Volk, PhD

Present Title & Affiliation

Primary Appointment

Professor, Department of General Internal Medicine - Research, Division of Internal Medicine, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Education & Training

Degree-Granting Education

1989 Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, PHD, Child Development and Family Studies
1985 The University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, MS, Child and Family Studies
1982 The University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, BS, Child and Family Studies

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Original Research Articles

1. Volk RJ, McFall SL, Cantor SB, Byrd TL, Le YC, Kuban DA, Mullen PD. 'It's not like you just had a heart attack': decision-making about active surveillance by men with localized prostate cancer. Psychooncology 23(4):467-72, 4/2014. e-Pub 11/14/2013. PMCID: PMC3983844.
2. Cantor SB, Deshmukh AA, Krahn MD, Volk RJ. Use of forecasted assessment of quality of life to validate time-trade-off utilities and a prostate cancer screening decision-analytic model. Health Expect. e-Pub 10/2013.
3. Joseph-Williams N, Newcombe R, Politi M, Durand MA, Sivell S, Stacey D, O'Connor A, Volk RJ, Edwards A, Bennett C, Pignone M, Thomson R, Elwyn G. Toward Minimum Standards for Certifying Patient Decision Aids: A Modified Delphi Consensus Process. Med Decis Making. e-Pub 8/20/2013. PMID: 23963501.
4. Brown AE, Tonigan JS, Pavlik VN, Kosten TR, Volk RJ. Spirituality and Confidence to Resist Substance Use Among Celebrate Recovery Participants. J Relig Health 52(1):107-13, 3/2013. PMID: 21246280.
5. Blumenthal-Barby JS, Cantor SB, Russell HV, Naik AD, Volk RJ. Decision Aids: when 'nudging' patients to make a particular choice is more ethical than balanced, nondirective content. Health Aff (Millwood) 32(2):303-10, 2/2013. PMID: 23381523.
6. Smith QW, Street RL, Volk RJ, Fordis M. Differing levels of clinical evidence: exploring communication challenges in shared decision making. Introduction. Med Care Res Rev 70(1 Suppl):3S-13S, 2/2013. e-Pub 12/6/2012. PMID: 23223330.
7. Volk RJ, Linder SK, Kallen MA, Galliher JM, Spano MS, Mullen PD, Spann SJ. Primary care physicians' use of an informed decision-making process for prostate cancer screening. Ann Fam Med 11(1):1-8, Jan-Feb, 1/2013. PMCID: PMC3596021.
8. Bisono GM, Simmons L, Volk RJ, Meyer D, Quinn TC, Rosenthal SL. Attitudes and decision making about neonatal male circumcision in a Hispanic population in new york city. Clin Pediatr (Phila) 51(10):956-963, 10/2012. e-Pub 4/2012. PMCID: PMC3777274.
9. Rochon D, Eberth JM, Fraenkel L, Volk RJ, Whitney SN. Elderly patients’ experiences using Adaptive Conjoint Analysis software as a decision aid for osteoarthritis of the knee. Health Expect. e-Pub 9/2012. PMCID: PMC3883995.
10. de Achaval S, Fraenkel L, Volk RJ, Cox V, Suarez-Almazor ME. Impact of educational and patient decision aids on decisional conflict associated with total knee arthroplasty. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken) 64(2):229-37, 2/2012. PMCID: PMC3634330.
11. Linder SK, Swank PR, Vernon SW, Morgan RO, Mullen PD, Volk RJ. Is a prostate cancer screening anxiety measure invariant across two different samples of age-appropriate men? BMC Med Inform Decis Mak 8(12):52, 2012. e-Pub 6/2012. PMCID: PMC3408324.
12. Leverence RR, Williams RL, Potter M, Fernald D, Unverzagt M, Pace W, Parnes B, Daniels E, Skipper B, Volk RJ, Brown AE, Rhyne RL. Chronic non-cancer pain: a siren for primary care--a report from the PRImary Care MultiEthnic Network (PRIME Net). J Am Board Fam Med 24(5):551-61, 10/2011. PMID: 21900438.
13. Chan EC, McFall SL, Byrd TL, Mullen PD, Volk RJ, Ureda J, Calderon-Mora J, Morales P, Valdes A, Kay Bartholomew L. A community-based intervention to promote informed decision making for prostate cancer screening among Hispanic American men changed knowledge and role preferences: A cluster RCT. Patient Educ Couns 84(2):44-51, 8/2011. PMID: 21237611.
14. Gossey JT, Whitney SN, Crouch MA, Jibja-Weiss ML, Zhang H, Volk RJ. Promoting knowledge of statins in patients with low health literacy using an audio booklet. Patient Prefer Adherence 5. e-Pub 8/2011. PMCID: PMCPMC3176179.
15. Fordis M, Street RL, Volk RJ, Smith Q. The prospects for web 2.0 technologies for engagement, communication, and dissemination in the era of patient-centered outcomes research: selected articles developed from the eisenberg conference series 2010 meeting. J Health Commun 16(1):3-9, 7/2011. PMID: 21843092.
16. Linder SK, Swant PR, Vernon SW, Mullen PD, Morgan RO, Volk RJ. Validity of a low literacy version of the Decisional Conflict Scale. Patient Educ Couns 85(3):521-524, 2/2011. PMCID: PMC3121898.
17. Frosch DL, Moulton BW, Wexler RM, Holmes-Rovner M, Volk RJ, Levin CA. Shared Decision Making in the United States: Policy and Implementation Activity on Multiple Fronts. Z Evid Fortbild Qual Gesundhwes 105(4):305-12, 2011. e-Pub 4/29/2011. PMID: 21620326.
18. Street RL, Volk RJ, Fordis M. Papers from the 2009 Eisenberg Conference: Translating information into action: improving quality of care through interactive media. Med Decis Making 30(6):694-5, Nov-Dec, 11/2010. PMID: 21183755.
19. Kong AS, Williams RL, Rhyne R, Urias-Sandoval V, Cardinali G, Weller NF, Skipper B, Volk R, Daniels E, Parnes B, McPherson L, PRIME Net Clinicians. Acanthosis Nigricans: high prevalence and association with diabetes in a practice-based research network consortium--a PRImary care Multi-Ethnic network (PRIME Net) study. J Am Board Fam Med 23(4):476-85, Jul-Aug, 7/2010. PMCID: PMC2948972.
20. Jibaja-Weiss ML, Volk RJ, Granchi TS, Neff NE, Robinson EK, Spann SJ, Aoki N, Friedman LC, Beck JR. Entertainment education for breast cancer surgery decisions: A randomized trial among patients with low health literacy. Patient Educ Couns 84(1). e-Pub 7/2010. PMID: 20609546.
21. Rubinsky AD, Kivlahan DR, Volk RJ, Maynard C, Bradley KA. Estimating risk of alcohol dependence using alcohol screening scores. Drug Alcohol Depend 108(1-2):29-36, 4/2010. e-Pub 12/2009. PMCID: PMC2835806.
22. Rubel SK, Miller JW, Stephens RL, Xu Y, Scholl LE, Holden EW, Stroud LA, Volk RJ. Testing the effects of a decision aid for prostate cancer screening. J Health Commun 15(3):307-21, 4/2010. PMID: 20432110.
23. Wolf AM, Wender RC, Etzioni RB, Thompson IM, D'Amico AV, Volk RJ, Brooks DD, Dash C, Guessous I, Andrews K, DeSantis C, Smith RA, American Cancer Society Prostate Cancer Advisory Committee. American Cancer Society guideline for the early detection of prostate cancer: update 2010. CA Cancer J Clin 60(2):70-98, Mar-Apr, 3/2010. e-Pub 3/2010. PMID: 20200110.
24. Van Horne BS, Wiemann CM, Berenson AB, Horwitz IB, Volk RJ. Multilevel Predictors of Inconsistent Condom Use Among Adolescent Mothers. Am J Public Health 99 Suppl 2:S417-24, 10/2009. e-Pub 4/2009. PMID: 19372530.
25. Rustveld LO, Pavlik VN, Jibaja-Weiss ML, Kline KN, Gossey JT, Volk RJ. Adherence to diabetes self-care behaviors in English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanic men. Patient Prefer Adherence 3:123-30, 2009. e-Pub 11/2009. PMCID: PMC2778413.
26. Linder SK, Hawley ST, Cooper CP, Scholl LE, Jibaja-Weiss M, Volk RJ. Primary care physicians' reported use of pre-screening discussions for prostate cancer screening: a cross-sectional survey. BMC Fam Pract 10:19, 2009. e-Pub 3/2009. PMCID: PMC2666644.
27. Volk RJ, Jibaja-Weiss ML, Hawley ST, Kneuper S, Spann SJ, Miles BJ, Hyman DJ. Entertainment education for prostate cancer screening: a randomized trial among primary care patients with low health literacy. Patient Educ Couns 73(3):482-9, 12/2008. e-Pub 8/2008. PMCID: PMC2867348.
28. Stephens RL, Xu Y, Volk RJ, Scholl LE, Kamin SL, Holden EW, Stroud LA. Influence of a patient decision aid on decisional conflict related to PSA testing: a structural equation model. Health Psychol 27(6):711-21, 11/2008. PMID: 19025266.
29. Whitney SN, Holmes-Rovner M, Brody H, Schneider C, McCullough LB, Volk RJ, McGuire AL. Beyond shared decision making: an expanded typology of medical decisions. Med Decis Making 28(5):699-705, Sep-Oct, 9/2008. e-Pub 6/2008. PMID: 18556639.
30. Hawley ST, Volk RJ, Krishnamurthy P, Jibaja-Weiss M, Vernon SW, Kneuper S. Preferences for colorectal cancer screening among racially/ethnically diverse primary care patients. Med Care 46(9 Suppl 1):S10-6, 9/2008. PMID: 18725820.
31. Whitney SN, McCullough LB, Frugé E, McGuire AL, Volk RJ. Beyond breaking bad news: the roles of hope and hopefulness. Cancer 113(2):442-5, 7/2008. PMID: 18484591.
32. Frank D, DeBenedetti AF, Volk RJ, Williams EC, Kivlahan DR, Bradley KA. Effectiveness of the AUDIT-C as a screening test for alcohol misuse in three race/ethnic groups. J Gen Intern Med 23(6):781-7, 6/2008. e-Pub 4/2008. PMCID: PMC2517893.
33. Whitney SN, Alcser K, Schneider C, McCullough LB, McGuire AL, Volk RJ. Principal investigator views of the IRB system. Int J Med Sci 5(2):68-72, 2008. e-Pub 4/2008. PMCID: PMC2288790.
34. Volk RJ, Hawley ST, Kneuper S, Holden EW, Stroud LA, Cooper CP, Berkowitz JM, Scholl LE, Saraykar SS, Pavlik VN. Trials of decision aids for prostate cancer screening: a systematic review. Am J Prev Med 33(5):428-434, 11/2007. PMID: 17950409.
35. Jibaja-Weiss ML, Volk RJ. Utilizing computerized entertainment education in the development of decision aids for lower literate and naïve computer users. J Health Commun 12(7):681-97, Oct-Nov, 10/2007. PMID: 17934944.
36. Bradley KA, DeBenedetti AF, Volk RJ, Williams EC, Frank D, Kivlahan DR. AUDIT-C as a brief screen for alcohol misuse in primary care. Alcohol Clin Exp Res 31(7):1208-17, 7/2007. e-Pub 4/2007. PMID: 17451397.
37. Lee JH, Choi YJ, Volk RJ, Kim SY, Kim YS, Park HK, Jeon TH, Hong SK, Spann SJ. Defining the concept of primary care in South Korea using a Delphi method. Fam Med 39(6):425-31, 6/2007. PMID: 17549652.
38. Brown AE, Pavlik VN, Shegog R, Whitney SN, Friedman LC, Romero C, Davis GC, Cech I, Kosten TR, Volk RJ. Association of spirituality and sobriety during a behavioral spirituality intervention for Twelve Step (TS) recovery. Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse 33(4):611-7, 2007. PMID: 17668347.
39. Jibaja-Weiss ML, Volk RJ, Friedman LC, Granchi TS, Neff NE, Spann SJ, Robinson EK, Aoki N, Robert Beck J. Preliminary testing of a just-in-time, user-defined values clarification exercise to aid lower literate women in making informed breast cancer treatment decisions. Health Expect 9(3):218-31, 9/2006. PMID: 16911136.
40. Elwyn G, O'Connor A, Stacey D, Volk R, Edwards A, Coulter A, Thomson R, Barratt A, Barry M, Bernstein S, Butow P, Clarke A, Entwistle V, Feldman-Stewart D, Holmes-Rovner M, Llewellyn-Thomas H, Moumjid N, Mulley A, Ruland C, Sepucha K, Sykes A, Whelan T, International Patient Decision Aids Standards (IPDAS) Collaboration. Developing a quality criteria framework for patient decision aids: online international Delphi consensus process. BMJ 333(7565):417, 8/2006. e-Pub 8/2006. PMCID: PMC1553508.
41. McFall SL, Hamm RM, Volk RJ. Exploring beliefs about prostate cancer and early detection in men and women of three ethnic groups. Patient Educ Couns 61(1):109-16, 4/2006. e-Pub 10/2005. PMID: 16256292.
42. Spann SJ, Nutting PA, Galliher JM, Peterson KA, Pavlik VN, Dickinson LM, Volk RJ. Management of type 2 diabetes in the primary care setting: a practice-based research network study. Ann Fam Med 4(1):23-31, Jan-Feb, 1/2006. PMCID: PMC1466989.
43. Jibaja-Weiss ML, Volk RJ, Granch TS, Nefe NE, Spann SJ, Aoki N, Robinson EK, Freidman LC, Beck JR. Entertainment education for informed breast cancer treatment decisions in low-literate women: development and initial evaluation of a patient decision aid. J Cancer Educ 21(3):133-9, 2006. PMID: 17371175.
44. Jibaja-Weiss ML, Volk RJ, Smith QW, Holcomb JD, Kingery P. Differential effects of messages for breast and cervical cancer screening. J Health Care Poor Underserved 16(1):42-52, 2/2005. PMID: 15741708.
45. Buck DS, Monteiro FM, Kneuper S, Rochon D, Clark DL, Melillo A, Volk RJ. Design and validation of the Health Professionals' Attitudes Toward the Homeless Inventory (HPATHI). BMC Med Educ 5(1):2, 1/2005. PMCID: PMC545068.
46. Volk RJ, Cantor SB, Cass AR, Spann SJ, Weller SC, Krahn MD. Preferences of husbands and wives for outcomes of prostate cancer screening and treatment. J Gen Intern Med 19(4):339-48, 4/2004. PMCID: PMC1492196.
47. Jibaja-Weiss ML, Volk RJ, Kingery P, Smith QW, Holcomb JD. Tailored messages for breast and cervical cancer screening of low-income and minority women using medical records data. Patient Educ Couns 50(2):123-32, 6/2003. PMID: 12781927.
48. Volk RJ, Spann SJ, Cass AR, Hawley ST. Patient education for informed decision making about prostate cancer screening: a randomized controlled trial with 1-year follow-up. Ann Fam Med 1(1):22-8, May-Jun, 5/2003. PMCID: PMC1466553.
49. Cantor SB, Volk RJ, Cass AR, Gilani J, Spann SJ. Psychological benefits of prostate cancer screening: the role of reassurance. Health Expect 5(2):104-13, 6/2002. PMID: 12031051.


1. Leal VB, Linder S, Volk R. A systematic development process for entertainment-based decision aids. Presented at the 6th International Shared Decision Making Conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 6/2011.
2. Mullen PD, McFall S, Byrd T, Cantor S, Le Y, Hill L, Haddad R, Chavez B, Torres-Vigil I, Pettaway C, Volk R. Concept mapping to elicit men's and partners' views of active surveillance vs active treatment for early stage prostate cancer. Presented at the 6th International Shared Decision Making Conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 6/2011.
3. Volk R, Linder S, Mullen PD, Shokar K. Identifying clinician competencies for shared decision making. Presented at the 6th International Shared Decision Making Conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 6/2011.
4. Joseph-Williams N, Newcombe R, Polita M, Stacey D, O'Connor A, Volk R, Pignone M, Edwards A, Thomson R, Bennett C, Elwyn G,. Towards minimum standards for patient decision support interventions: a correlation analysis and Delphi process. Presented at the 6th International Shared Decision Making Conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 6/2011.
5. Volk R, Llewellyn-Thomas H. Updating the IPDAS collaboration's background document: current status. Presented at the 6th International Shared Decision Making conference, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 6/2011.
6. Le YL, Cantor SB, Volk RJ. Love in the time of cancer screening: dyadic analyses of marital quality, decision-making, and screening. Presented at the 11th Annual Society for Personality and Social Psychology Conference, San Antonio, TX, 1/2011.
7. Volk RJ, Swank PR, Linder SK, Mullen PD. Physicians' Use of Key Behaviors for Promoting Informed Decision-Making (IDM) for Prostate Cancer Screening (PCS): A Latent Class Analysis. Presented at the 31st Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavorial Medicine, Seattle, WA, 4/2010.
8. Linder SK, Swank PR, Mullen PD, Volk RJ, Morgan RO, Vernon SW. Validity Testing of a Prostate Cancer Screening (PCS) Anxiety Measure. Presented at the 31st Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Seattle, WA, 4/2010.
9. Linder SK, Swank PR, Volk RJ, Mullen PD, Vernon SW, Morgan RO. Validity Testing of the Traditional and Alternative Versions of the Decisional Conflict Scale (DCS). Presented at the 31st Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions of the Society of Behavioral Medicine, Seattle, WA, 4/2010.
10. Volk RJ, Mullen PD, Kneuper S, Weilling SM, Chan ECY, Spann SJ, Galliher JM, Pace WD. Primary Care Physicians' Practice Patterns Regarding Prostate Cancer Screening: A National Research Network Study. Presented at the 36th Annual Meeting of the North American Primary Care Research Group, San Juan, Puerto Rico, 11/2008.
11. Brown AE, Pavlik VN, Tonigan JS, Volk RJ, Kosten TR. Spirituality Predicts Confidence to Resist Substance Use Among Celebrate Recovery Participants. Presented at the Research Society on Alcoholism, Washington, DC, 7/2008.
12. Jibaja-Weiss M, Volk RJ,. Entertainment Education for Prostat Cencer Screening in Low Literacy Patients. Presented at the 4th International Shared Decision Making Conference, Freiburg, Germany, 5/2007.
13. Jibaja-Weiss M, Volk RJ. Health Literacy and Decision Aids. Presented at the 4th International Shared Decision Making Conference, Freiburg, Germany, 5/2007.
14. Jibaja-Weiss M, Volk RJ, Kreps GL, Whitney SN. Utilizing Microworld Learning Enviorments in the Staged-Delivery of Patient Decision Aids for Lower Literate Populations: Using eHealth Interventions to Reduce Health Disparities. Presented at the 2006 Critical Issues in eHealth Research Conference, Bethesda, MD, 9/2006.

Grant & Contract Support

Title: Using Multimedia Approaches to Communicate Probabilities in Patient Decision Aids for Low-Literacy Populations
Funding Source: Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 5/15/2010 - 3/31/2013
Title: Acceptability of Active Surveillance as a Treatment Option for Prostate Cancer among U.S. Men (contract with the University of Texas School of Public Health)
Funding Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator: Mullen
Duration: 9/30/2009 - 2/28/2013
Title: Enhancing Physician Competencies for Shared Decision Making in Primary Care
Funding Source: Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making
Role: Principal Investigator
Duration: 9/1/2009 - 12/31/2011
Title: SIP-23 Evaluating the Effect of Professional Education on Provider Interventions for Informed Decision Making About Prostate Cancer Screening (contract with the University of Texas School of Public Health)
Funding Source: Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
Role: Co-Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator: Mullen
Duration: 9/1/2004 - 9/30/2009

Last updated: 7/8/2014