Leading with Love: Ellen Beckjord

January 21, 2020

Ellen Beckjord returned to Pittsburgh in 2007 after years of training as a clinical psychologist and behavioral scientist.  It didn’t take long before Beckjord established herself as an innovator at the intersection of digital and population health.  From mobile applications to #pinksocks, Beckjord is using her expertise and compassion to support the health of millions of people.

About Beckjord

Ellen Beckjord, PhD, MPH is the Associate Vice President of Population Health and Clinical Affairs at the UPMC Health Plan.  Prior to joining the UPMC Health Plan, Beckjord was an Assistant Professor and Clinical and Translational Science Scholar at the University of Pittsburgh.  She’s also a Pitt Innovation Challenge awardee. 


Key Highlights

  • 2:30 An early influence to pursue a career in combating illness and disease
  • 4:00 Dancing with an International Dance Ensemble
  • 5:00 Received a Ph.D. in psychology and then completed post-doc at the National Cancer Institute in epidemiology and biostatistics
  • 5:50 Moved back to Pittsburgh and started working as a behavioral scientist at the RAND Corporation
  • 7:30 Joined the University of Pittsburgh and focused on developing digital tools for cancer prevention and survivorship
  • 9:00 Using her expertise in hypnosis and behavioral science to create real-time interventions
  • 11:00 Creating a mobile application for smoking cessation called QuitNinja
  • 12:30 Being close to the target population you're trying to serve and having an impact at scale
  • 16:00 What is the pinksocks movement?
  • 19:30 How Ellen’s daughter compares and contrasts with her interests and personality
  • 21:35 One word to describe herself
  • 22:10 Playing music, making pies, and riding bikes
  • 23:30 Practicing healthy behaviors and putting healthy choices within reach for all people
  • 24:30 Looking for opportunities to challenge convention, particularly in professional life