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Matthew Cordova, PhD



Contact Information:

Other Positions:

Faculty, Co-Director and Research Group Advisor, Early Intervention Clinic




PhD, Clinical Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington (1999)
M.S., Clinical Psychology, University of Kentucky, Lexington (1995)
B.S., Psychology, University of California, Davis (1991)


Dr. Cordova received his PhD in 1999 from the University of Kentucky, where he worked closely with his mentors Michael Andrykowski, PhD, and Charlie Carlson, PhD, studying psychosocial adjustment to cancer and management of chronic pain. He completed his predoctoral internship, with an emphasis in Behavioral Medicine, at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, under the mentorship of David Spiegel, M.D., and Janine Giese-Davis, Ph.D., and funded by a two-year postdoctoral fellowship grant from the California Breast Cancer Research Program.  Dr. Cordova worked as a Staff Psychologist at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System from 2001-2007. Since 2007, he has been a Staff Psychologist at the VA Northern California Health Care System’s (VA NCHCS) Martinez Outpatient Clinic, providing Behavioral Medicine clinical services to Veterans. He is also the Mental Health Training Program Manager for VA NCHCS and the Training Director for the VA NCHCS-East Bay Psychology Internship and Postdoctoral Fellowship programs.

Together with Dr. Josef Ruzek, Dr. Cordova co-directs the Early Intervention Clinic (EIC), a PAU clinical research group dedicated to evaluating evidence-based psychotherapeutic approaches to prevent trauma-related problems in recently traumatized individuals. The EIC trains students in research methodology and in evidence-based therapies for traumatic stress and traumatic loss. Dr. Cordova's research interests are in Health Psychology, Behavioral Medicine, traumatic stress, and "positive" psychology. One focus of his research has been in psychosocial oncology, studying various aspects of quality of life in patients with cancer, including physical symptoms, aspects of social support, stress response symptoms, perception of personal growth, and effectiveness of support groups. Another focus has been on traumatic stress generally, including evidence-based approaches to early intervention, social cognitive processing models of adjustment to trauma, and traumatic loss.

Areas of Interest:

Health psychology; Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; Traumatic stress; Early intervention to prevent trauma-related problems; Social Support; Posttraumatic growth; Positive psychology.

Selected Publications:

Cordova, M. J., Gimmler, C., & Osterberg, L. (2020). Fix the system and foster well-being throughout the career trajectory: A developmental model of physician resilience training. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 95(12), 2719-2733.

Murphy, J. L., Cordova, M. J., & Dedert, E. A. (2020, September 28). Cognitive behavioral therapy for chronic pain in veterans: Evidence for clinical effectiveness in a model program. Psychological Services. Advance online publication.

Cordova, M. J. (2020). Cancer-related PTSD: Assessment and treatment considerations. Psychiatric Times, 37(7), 20-21.

Brucia, E., Cordova, M. J., Firestone, A., & Ruzek, J. I. (2020). Utilization and integration of Psychological First Aid in first responder organizations. In C. Bowers, D. C. Beidel, & M. Marks (Eds.), Mental Health Intervention and Treatment of First Responders and Emergency Workers, (pp. 129-153). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Cordova, M. J., Riba, M., & Spiegel, D. (2017). Post-traumatic stress disorder and cancer. The Lancet - Psychiatry, 4, 330-338. doi: 10.1016/ S2215-0366(17)30014.

Brucia, E., Cordova, M. J., & Ruzek, J. I. (2016). Critical incident interventions: Crisis response and debriefing. In C. L. Mitchell & E. H. Dorian (Eds.), Police Psychology and its Growing Impact on Modern Law Enforcement, (pp. 119-142). Hershey, PA: IGI Global.

Dyson, S., Cordova, M., & Johnson-Wright, L. (2016). Walking the talk: The role of mental health clinicians in  facilitating experiential exercise in veterans. Federal Practitioner, 33, 18-23.

Groff, E. C., Ruzek, J. I., Bongar, B., & Cordova, M. J. (2016). Social constraints, loss-related factors, depression, and posttraumatic stress in a treatment-seeking suicide bereaved sample. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 8, 657-660.

Giese-Davis, J., Bliss-Isberg, C., Wittenberg, Lynne, White, J., Star, P., Zhong, L., Cordova, M. J., Houston, D., & Spiegel, D. (2016). Peer counseling for women newly diagnosed with breast cancer: A randomized community/research collaboration trial. Cancer, 122(15), 2408-2417.

Brunet, A., Des Groseilliers, I. B., Cordova, M. J., & Ruzek, J. I. (2013). Randomized controlled trial of a brief cognitive-behavioral dyadic intervention designed to attenuate the development of PTSD. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 4, 21572.

Des Groseilliers, I. B., Marchand, A., Cordova, M. J., Ruzek, J. I., & Brunet, A. (2013). Two-year follow-up of a brief dyadic cognitive-behavioral intervention designed to prevent PTSD. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 5(5), 462-469.

Belsher, B. E., Ruzek, J. I., & Cordova, M. J. (2012). The social context of adjustment in combat veterans. In T. Miller (Ed.), The Praeger Handbook of Veterans' Health: History, Challenges, Issues, and Developments, (pp. 199-226). Santa Barbara: Praeger Publishing.

Diaz, M., Cordova, M. J., & Spiegel, D. (2012). Posttraumatic growth in cancer patients across cultures. In L. Grassi & M. Riba (Eds.), Clinical Psycho-Oncology: An International Perspective, (pp. 211-222). New York: Jon Wiley & Sons.

Fernandes, C., Cordova, M. J., Katz, L., & Wong, S. (2012). The co-disciplinary pain clinic: A unique model for the treatment of complex chronic pain. Federal Practitioner, July, 1-3.

Belsher, B. E., Ruzek, J. I., Bongar, B., & Cordova, M. J. (2012). Social constraints, posttraumatic cognitions, and posttraumatic stress disorder in treatment-seeking trauma survivors: Evidence for a social-cognitive processing model. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, 4(4), 386-391.

Cordova, M. J. (2008). Facilitating posttraumatic growth following cancer. In S. Joseph and P. A. Linley (Eds.), Trauma, Recovery, and Growth: Positive Psychological Perspectives on Posttraumatic Stress, (pp. 185-206). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley and Sons.

Cordova, M. J., Giese-Davis, J., Golant, M., Kronenwetter, K., Chang, V., & Spiegel, D. (2007). Breast cancer as trauma: Posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic growth. Journal of Clinical Psychology in Medical Settings, 14, 308-319.

Cordova, M. J., Walser, R., Neff, J., & Ruzek, J. I. (2005). Predictors of emotional adjustment following traumatic injury: Personal, social, and material resources. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine, 20, 7-13.

Cordova, M. J., Giese-Davis, J., Golant, M., Kronnenwetter, C., Chang, V., McFarlin, S., Spiegel, D. (2003). Mood disturbance in community cancer support groups: The role of emotional suppression and fighting spirit. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 55, 461-467.

Cordova, M. J., & Andrykowski, M. A. (2003). Responses to cancer: Posttraumatic stress and posttraumatic growth. Seminars in Clinical Neuropsychiatry, 8, 286-296.

Ruzek, J. P., & Cordova, M. J. (2003). The role of hospitals in delivering early intervention services following traumatic events. In R. Orner, & U. Schnyder (Eds.), Reconstructing Early Intervention After Trauma (pp. 228-235). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

Cordova, M. J., Ruzek, J. P., Benoit, M., & Brunet, A. (2003). Promotion of emotional disclosure following illness and injury: A brief intervention for medical patients and their families. Cognitive and Behavioral Practice, 10, 359-372.

Cordova, M. J., Cunningham, L. L. C., Carlson, C. R., & Andrykowski, M. A. (2001). Social constraints, cognitive processing, and adjustment to breast cancer. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 69, 706-711.

Cordova, M. J., Cunningham, L. L. C., Carlson, C. R., & Andrykowski, M. A. (2001). Posttraumatic growth following breast cancer: A controlled comparison study. Health Psychology, 20, 176-185.

Spiegel, D. & Cordova, M. (2001). Supportive-expressive group support and life extension of breast cancer patients: Spiegel et al. (1989). Advances in Mind-Body Medicine, 17, 38-41.

Cordova, M. J., Studts, J. L., Hann, D. M., Jacobsen, P. B., & Andrykowski, M. A. (2000). Symptom structure of PTSD following breast cancer. Journal of Traumatic Stress, 13, 301-319.

Cordova, M. J., Andrykowski, M. A., Kenady, D. E., McGrath, P. C., Sloan, D. A., & Redd, W. H. (1995). Frequency and correlates of PTSD-like symptoms following treatment for breast cancer. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 63, 981-986.

Websites and Other Relevant Links:

Early Intervention Clinic at Palo Alto University