Deborah Burnet

Professor of Medicine & Pediatrics
Section Chief, General Internal Medicine
Department of Medicine Vice-Chair for Faculty Development

Deborah Burnet, MD, MA comes from a background in the humanities and social services.  She earned a bachelor’s degree in English with Theology minor from Georgetown University in 1979.  She went on to work at Youth Enrichment Services, providing foster care for troubled teenagers on Chicago’s South Side.  She attended the Pritzker School of Medicine at the University of Chicago, earning her M.D. degree in 1989 and a Master’s Degree in Public Policy in 2003 from the Harris School of Graduate Studies in Public Policy, at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Burnet served a four year combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics at the University of Chicago.  She is currently Professor of Medicine and Pediatrics; she serves as the Section Chief for General Internal Medicine and the Vice Chair for Faculty Development in the  Department of Medicine.  She cares for a panel of primary care patients (adults and children) at the University of Chicago Primary Care Group.

Dr. Burnet  conducts translational research on obesity and risk of type 2 diabetes in youth.  Traditionally considered an “adult” disease, type 2 diabetes is becoming more prevalent among children and adolescents as rates of obesity steadily rise.  Obesity and type 2 diabetes are both disproportionately found among minority youth in the U.S. Dr. Burnet conducted focus groups with African-American children and families on Chicago’s South Side to assess community habits and preferences regarding nutrition and exercise behaviors and used these insights to implement a community-based, family oriented diabetes risk reduction program for African-American youth.  This program, the Reach-Out Chicago Children’s Diabetes Prevention Project, was funded by the National Institutes of Health as a five year demonstration study, and is currently being adapted for use in the after-school setting as the Power-Up Collaboration After-School and Family program to prevent obesity. Dr. Burnet serves as the Director of the Community-Based Participatory Research Unit for the University of Chicago Institute for Translational Medicine, and she serves on various NIH review panels regarding community-based research.