Valerie Hoover, PhD is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who specializes in working with medical populations, particularly cardiac patients. Areas of expertise include assessment and treatment of medical trauma/PTSD, health anxiety, psychological factors interacting with cardiac diagnosis and treatment, and emotional eating. Dr. Hoover completed her doctorate in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Health Psychology at the University of Florida, clinical residency at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, and post-doctoral fellowship at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Dr. Hoover is drawn to this line of work because of her passion for helping individuals to move forward from difficult experiences, challenge unhelpful beliefs and make enduring behavioral changes.

Clinical Focus

  • Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Cardiac Psychology
  • Behavioral Medicine

Academic Appointments

Professional Education

  • Internship: Rush University Medical Center Psychology Internship (2014) IL
  • PhD Training: University of Florida, Dept of Clinical and Health Psychology (2014) FL
  • Fellowship: San Francisco VA Health Care System, Mental Health Service (2015) CA

Current Research and Scholarly Interests

Dr. Hoover's research interests focus on developing novel assessment tools and interventions to improve biopsychosocial outcomes in Cardiology.

All Publications

  • Managing Ischemic Heart Disease in Women: Role of a Women's Heart Center. Current atherosclerosis reports Khandelwal, A., Bakir, M., Bezaire, M., Costello, B., Gomez, J. M., Hoover, V., Nazir, N. T., Nichols, K., Reisenberg, A., Rao, A., Sanghani, R., Tracy, M., Volgman, A. S. 2021; 23 (10): 56


    PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Heart centers for women (HCW) were developed due to the rising cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in women in the United States in the early 1990s. Our review encompasses the epidemiology, risk factors, diagnostic strategies, treatments, and the role of HCW in managing women with ischemic heart disease (IHD).RECENT FINDINGS: HCW use a multidisciplinary team to manage women with IHD. Due to the paucity of randomized controlled trials investigating various manifestations of IHD, some treatments are not evidence-based such as those for coronary microvascular dysfunction and spontaneous coronary artery dissection. Sex-specific risk factors have been identified and multimodality cardiac imaging is improving in diagnosing IHD in women. Treatments are being studied to help improve symptoms and outcomes in women with IHD. There has been progress in the care of women with IHD. HCW can be instrumental in treating women with IHD, doing research, and being a source of research study participants.

    View details for DOI 10.1007/s11883-021-00956-x

    View details for PubMedID 34345945

  • Psychological Distress Among Female Cardiac Patients Presenting to a Women's Heart Health Clinic AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CARDIOLOGY Edwards, K. S., Hekler, A. C., Baum, J., Nejedly, M., Tsai, S., Khandelwal, A., Naderi, S., Hoover, V., Tremmel, J. A. 2019; 123 (12): 2026–30
  • DIETARY RESTRAINT AND WEIGHT CHANGE IN COLLEGE WOMEN PARTICIPATING IN A WEIGHT GAIN PREVENTION PROGRAM Hoover, V., Middleton, K., Medina, K., Lespinasse, D., Maurer, S., Minski, S., Alabduljabbar, M., von Castel-Roberts, K., Perri, M. SPRINGER. 2014: S115–S115
  • Preventing breast cancer recurrence through a tailored lifestyle intervention: The MyLIFE (My Lifestyle Intervention with Food and Exercise) Trial Rationale and Study Design JOURNAL OF CLINICAL TRIALS Labyak, C., Daily, K., Samiian, L., Ward, S., Wallet, S., Perri, M., Hoover, V., Snetslaar, L., Shelnutt, K., DiGioia, K., Acosta, A., Young, L., Mathews, A. 2014


    The current study examined ethnic differences in patterns of weight loss and regain in response to an initial behavioral weight loss intervention followed by an extended-care maintenance program.We analyzed data from 224 women (African American n = 43, Caucasian n = 181) from rural communities who participated in an initial 6-month lifestyle intervention for obesity and were then randomized to a face-to-face, telephone, or educational/control extended-care condition.African American participants lost less weight during the initial phase of treatment than Caucasian participants (mean +/- SE = -6.8 +/-.80 vs -10.7 +/- .38 kg, respectively, P = .003). Investigating weight change during month 6 to month 18, we found a significant interaction between ethnicity and the provision of an extended-care program. Caucasian participants randomized to either of two extended-care programs regained less weight than those assigned to the control condition (1.2 +/- .58 and 4.2 +/- .79 kg, respectively, P=.003), but the provision of extended care did not influence weight regain among African American participants (1.9 +/- 1.12 and 1.34 +/- 2.04 kg, respectively, P = .815).Collectively, these findings suggest that although African American participants lost less weight during the initial phase of treatment, they exhibited better long-term weight-loss maintenance than Caucasian participants. Further, while the provision of extended care successfully enhanced weight maintenance among Caucasian participants, African American participants maintained their initial weight losses regardless of extended care.

    View details for Web of Science ID 000292434000007

    View details for PubMedID 21749020

  • A Multicomponent Intervention Reduces Body Weight and Cardiovascular Risk at a GEICO Corporate Site AMERICAN JOURNAL OF HEALTH PROMOTION Ferdowsian, H. R., Barnard, N. D., Hoover, V. J., Katcher, H. I., Levin, S. M., Green, A. A., Cohen, J. L. 2010; 24 (6): 384-387


    To determine whether a multicomponent nutrition intervention program at a corporate site reduces body weight and improves other cardiovascular risk factors in overweight individuals.Prospective clinical intervention study.Employees of the Government Employees Insurance Company (GEICO) (N = 113), aged 21 to 65 years, with a body mass index > or =25 kg/m(2) and/or previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes.A 22-week intervention including a low-fat, vegan diet.Changes in body weight, anthropometric measures, blood pressure, lipid profile, and dietary intake.Multivariate analyses of variance were calculated for clinical and nutrient measures, followed by univariate analyses of variance, to determine the significance of differences between groups in changes over time.Intervention-group participants experienced greater weight changes compared with control-group participants (mean, -5.1 [SE, .6] kg vs. + .1 [SE, .6] kg, p < .0001), as well as greater changes in waist circumference (mean, -4.7 [SE, .6] cm vs. + .8 [SE, .6] cm, p < .0001) and waistratiohip ratio (mean, -.006 [SE, .003] vs. + .014 [SE, .005], p = .0007). Weight loss of 5% of body weight was more frequently observed in the intervention group (48.5%) compared with the control group (11.1%) (chi(2)[1, N = 113] = 16.99, p < .0001).Among individuals volunteering for a 22-week worksite research study, an intervention using a low-fat, vegan diet effectively reduced body weight and waist circumference.

    View details for DOI 10.4278/ajhp.081027-QUAN-255

    View details for Web of Science ID 000280133400004

    View details for PubMedID 20594095

  • A Worksite Vegan Nutrition Program Is Well-Accepted and Improves Health-Related Quality of Life and Work Productivity ANNALS OF NUTRITION AND METABOLISM Katcher, H. I., Ferdowsian, H. R., Hoover, V. J., Cohen, J. L., Barnard, N. D. 2010; 56 (4): 245-252


    Vegetarian and vegan diets are effective in preventing and treating several chronic diseases. However, their acceptability outside a clinical trial setting has not been extensively studied. The aim of this study was to determine the acceptability of a worksite vegan nutrition program and its effects on health-related quality of life and work productivity.Employees of a major insurance corporation with a body mass index > or =25 kg/m(2) and/or a previous diagnosis of type 2 diabetes received either weekly group instruction on a low-fat vegan diet (n = 68) or received no diet instruction (n = 45) for 22 weeks.The vegan group reported improvements in general health (p = 0.002), physical functioning (p = 0.001), mental health (p = 0.03), vitality (p = 0.004), and overall diet satisfaction (p < 0.001) compared with the control group. The vegan group also reported a decrease in food costs (p = 0.003), and increased difficulty finding foods when eating out (p = 0.04) compared with the control group. The vegan group reported a 40-46% decrease in health-related productivity impairments at work (p = 0.03) and in regular daily activities (p = 0.004).A worksite vegan nutrition program is well-accepted and can be implemented by employers to improve the health, quality of life, and work productivity of employees.

    View details for DOI 10.1159/000288281

    View details for Web of Science ID 000279331000001

    View details for PubMedID 20389060

  • A worksite programme significantly alters nutrient intakes Public Health Nutrition Levin, S., Ferdowsian, H., Hoover, V., Green, A., Barnard, N. 2010
  • Implementing Evidence-Based Practices in Community Treatment Programs: Initial Feasibility of a Counselor "Toolkit" SUBSTANCE ABUSE Carise, D., Brooks, A., Alterman, A., McLellan, A. T., Hoover, V., Forman, R. 2009; 30 (3): 239-243


    Community substance abuse treatment programs face many barriers to adopting "evidence-based" therapies. Training budgets are inadequate to permit acquisition of complex skills, there is little clinical supervision available, and almost all counseling is done in group sessions. The authors adopted an approach widely used in the teaching field-developing a resource "toolkit" for a specific topic, in this case, a Decisional Balance exercise often used in the evidence-based treatment approach of Motivational Interviewing. This trial toolkit was comprised of a DVD (televised during group to illustrate the clinical concept), a laminated counselor guide (to provide guidance and talking points for the counselor during group), and some worksheets and wallet cards for patients to retain key points (see Table 1). A feasibility trial assessed the acceptability, and sustainability of the "Decisional Balance" concept toolkit among 26 counselors and 210 of their patients, from 6 community-based substance abuse treatment programs. The great majority of patients (97%) and all counselors (100%) reported they were satisfied with the toolkit session; 84% of patients said they would like more groups like the toolkit session. Almost all counselors (96%) were still using at least one component of the toolkit 3 months after their initial exposure with no prompting. The toolkit curriculum-based approach may be a viable and attractive way of translating core concepts from sophisticated evidence-based therapies into use by counselors within contemporary, community-based treatment programs with minimal training.

    View details for DOI 10.1080/08897070903041194

    View details for Web of Science ID 000283307400004

    View details for PubMedID 19591060

  • Internet access to Salvia divinorum: Implications for policy, prevention, and treatment JOURNAL OF SUBSTANCE ABUSE TREATMENT Hoover, V., Marlowe, D. B., Patapis, N. S., Festinger, D. S., Forman, R. F. 2008; 35 (1): 22-27


    This study determined the degree to which Salvia divinorum, a potent hallucinogenic drug that is legal in most U.S. jurisdictions, is being proffered for sale over the Internet and how it is being characterized on popular Web sites. Search results revealed that between one half and two thirds (58%) of the Web sites either offered to sell S. divinorum or linked to other Web sites offering to sell the drug and that more than three quarters (78%) of the Web sites advocated for its use. Many of the statements issued on the Web sites were erroneous or falsely interpreted the absence of scientific data on the possible side effects of S. divinorum as evidence that no side effect exists. The portrayal and availability of S. divinorum on the Internet are similar to those of other illicit and prescription drugs of abuse. However, much less is known about the short- and long-term effects of this novel drug. Consequently, there is little basis to contradict the many Web sites that encourage its use. Implications for drug policy, prevention, and treatment are discussed.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jsat.2007.07.011

    View details for Web of Science ID 000256737800003

    View details for PubMedID 17931827