J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS

J. Dennis Fortenberry, MD, MS

Director, Section of Adolescent Medicine
Donald Orr Professor of Adolescent Medicine
Professor of Medicine

Phone: (t) 317.274.8812 (f) 317.274.0133
Email: jfortenb@iu.edu
Address: 410 West 10th Street, Suite 1001, Indianapolis, IN 46202-5140



Adolescent Medicine; Internal Medicine

Areas of Interest

Research: Health Protective and Health Risk Behaviors; STD; Epidemiology of Risk

Dr. Fortenberry is a Professor of Pediatrics and has guided a research program focused on adolescents over the past 17 years. Initial efforts demonstrated the importance of Chlamydia reinfection among adolescent women and addressed whether the covariation of health-protective and health-harming behaviors were important outcomes. Using structural equation modeling, contraceptive and condom use were shown to be most closely related to other health-protective behaviors such as seatbelt use. More recent efforts address the contextual and interpersonal factors associated with adolescent sexual activity. The importance of partners as sources of social support for adolescents’ care-seeking for STD's was identified. Stigma and low health literacy are important barriers to appropriate health care for adolescents. Using coital diaries, the use of alcohol or marijuana before sexual intercourse did not alter the probability of event-specific condom use. Interpersonal relationship factors are important predictors of sexual and contraceptive behaviors. For example, adolescents reporting higher levels of emotional comfort and trust with a sex partner are less likely to use a condom with that partner. Condom use declines over time in adolescent sexual relationships as comfort and trust increase. Manuscripts published during the past year address day-to-day variations in mood as predictors of sexual activity among adolescent women. More detailed assessment of the personal and interpersonal risk and protective factors associated with adolescent sexual behaviors are central elements of the current research program. Detailed longitudinal analysis of STD data from the Young Women’s Project will allow better understanding of STD during the transition from adolescence into young adulthood and the acceptability of vaginal microbicides. More recently, projects have addressed the intersection between the urethral microbiomes of young men and their risk of STD. These ongoing projects are currently funded through 2013. Dr. Fortenberry has served as a research mentor to 17 adolescent medicine fellows, a similar number of pre-doctoral and post-doctoral students (nursing, psychology, social work and sociology), and several junior faculty members including those in mentored research development positions.


1975 Oklahoma State University. B.S. in University Studies
1979 University of Oklahoma School of Medicine. M.D. Degree
1979-80 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Internal Medicine PG1
1980-81 University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, Internal Medicine PG2
1982-83 Bryn Mawr Hospital, Bryn Mawr, PA. Senior Resident in Internal Medicine
1985-89 Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, Univ. of Oklahoma. M.S. Degree. Thesis Title: The Effect of Maternal Age on Substance Use During Pregnancy

Honors & Awards

  Society for Adolescent Medicine Visiting Professor in Research – 2003 - 2004
  Indiana University Trustee Teaching Award – 2006 – 2007.
  American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association Achievement Award – 2009.


Provider Clinics



Phone: (t) 317.274.8812 (f) 317.274.0133
Email: jfortenb@iu.edu
Address: 410 West 10th Street, Suite 1001

Research & Grants

Adolescent HIV/AIDS Trials Network, Community Prevention Leadership Group.
3/1/06 – 2/28/16
National Institute for Child Health & Human Development
Role: Consultant and protocol chair.
HIV-Related Care Engagement: Linkage to Care and Care-Seeking for HIV-Infected Adolescents.
9/1/2007 – 6/30/2012
Relational and contextual phenomenology of STI/HIV risk.
7/1/08 – 06/30/2013
Role: principal investigator.
Characterization of vaginal and vulvar microbial communities in pre-menarcheal adolescents using culture-independent methods.
7/1/08 – 6/30/13
Proctor & Gamble
Role: principal investigator.
Perceived risk for sexually transmitted diseases among adolescents.
10/1/07 – 9/30/13
Jonathan Ellen MD (Johns Hopkins University) PI. Role: consultant.
Behavioral and virulogic impact of HPV vaccination.
5/1/08 – 4/30/2013
Jessica Kahn MD MPH (University of Cincinnati) PI. Role: Investigator.
Factors associated with HPV persistence in adolescent women.
7/1/08 – 6/30/2013
Darron Brown MD PI. Role: Investigator.
Urethral microbiome of adolescent males. UH2DK083980/UH3 AI094641
6/1/09 – 5/30/2013
Role: Principal Investigator.
Sexual modulation of HIV-relevant vaginal immunity. 1R01AI094563-01.
03/01/2011 – 02/28/2016
Total Costs: $1.53 million. NIAID
Principal Investigator: Sari Van Anders PhD, University of Michigan. Role: Investigator.

Representative PublicationsView All Publications

Tu W, Batteiger BB, Wiehe S, Ofner S, Van Der Pol B, Katz BP, Orr DP, Fortenberry JD. Time from first intercourse to first sexually transmitted infection among adolescent women. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 163:1106-1111, 2009.
Herbenick D, Reece M, Sanders S, Dodge B, Ghassemi A, Fortenberry JD. Prevalence and characteristics of vibrator use by women in the United States: Results from a nationally representative study. Journal of Sexual Medicine,6:1857-1866, 2009.
Wiehe SE, Aalsma MA, Liu GC, Fortenberry JD. Gender differences in the association between perceived discrimination and adolescent smoking. American Journal of Public Health, 100:510-516, 2010.
Tanner AE, Hensel DJ, Fortenberry JD. A prospective study of the sexual, emotional and behavioral correlates associated with young women’s first and subsequent coital events. Journal of Adolescent Health, 47:20-25, 2010.
Hensel DJ, Fortenberry JD, Orr DP. Factors associated with event level anal sex and condom use during anal sex among adolescent women. Journal of Adolescent Health, 46:232-237, 2010.
Fortenberry, J.D., Hensel, D.J., The association of sexual interest and sexual behaviors among adolescent women:
A daily diary perspective
, Horm. Behav. 59:739-744, 2011
Weaver BA, Ermel AC, Shew ML, Tu W, Qadadri B, Fortenberry JD, Tong Y, Brown DR. Low-level persistence of human papillomavirus 16 DNA detection in a cohort of closely followed adolescent women. Journal of Medical Virology. 83(8): 1362-9, 2011
Dong Q, Nelson DE, Toh E, Diao L, Gao X, Fortenberry JD Van Der Pol BJ. The microbial communities in male first catch urine are highly similar to those in paired urethral swab specimens. PLoS One 6(5): e19709, 2011.