Joel Dimsdale, MD 

Joel E. Dimsdale, M.D. 

Professor Emeritus


Contact Information

T: (619) 543-5592
F: (619) 543-7519


JOEL DIMSDALE, MD, was born in Sioux City, Iowa and obtained his BA degree in biology from Carleton College. He then attended Stanford University, where he received both a MA degree in Sociology and an MD degree. He obtained his psychiatric training at Massachusetts General Hospital and then completed a fellowship in psychobiology at the New England Regional Primate Center. He was on the faculty of Harvard Medical School from 1976 until 1985, when he moved to University of California, San Diego (UCSD).

His clinical subspecialty is consultation psychiatry. He is an active investigator, a former career awardee of the American Heart Association, and is past-president of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research, the American Psychosomatic Society, and the Society of Behavioral Medicine. He is on numerous editorial boards, is editor-in-chief emeritus of Psychosomatic Medicine, and is a previous guest editor of Circulation. He has been a consultant to the President’s Commission on Mental Health, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Sciences and NASA and is a long-time reviewer for NIH. Dr. Dimsdale is the former Chair of the UCSD Academic Senate and is a recipient of the Oliver Johnson Award for distinguished leadership.

Dr. Dimsdale’s major research interests center on stress physiology and sleep; cultural factors in illness; and quality of life. He is the author of >500 publications as well as the editor of 4 books.

Research Interests

Research Focus

Dr. Dimsdale’s major research interests include sympathetic nervous system physiology as it relates to stress, blood pressure, and sleep; cultural factors in illness; and quality of life. He is the author of 500 publications as well as the editor of 4 books.

Clinical Focus

Clinical Information


  • Dimsdale, JE. Coping behavior of Nazi concentration camp survivors. Am J Psychiatry. 1974; 131:792-797.
  • Dimsdale, J. A Perspective on type A behavior and coronary disease. NEJM. 318:110-112, 1988
  • Dimsdale, J, Coy T, Ancoli-Israel S, Mills P, Clausen J, Ziegler M, Sympathetic nervous system alterations in sleep apnea: the relative importance of respiratory disturbance, hypoxia, and sleep quality, Chest, 111:639-642, 1997
  • Dimsdale, J, Stalked by the past: the impact of ethnicity on health, Psychosom Med, 62:161-170, 2000
  • Bardwell W, Natarajan L, Dimsdale J, Rock C, Mortimer J, Hollenbach K, Pierce J, Objective Cancer-Related Variables Are Not Associated with Depressive Symptoms in Women Treated for Early-Stage Breast Cancer, J Clinical Oncology 2006;24:2420-2427