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Biobehavioral Health
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Welcome, incoming class of 2023! Back row, L-R: Claudette Kessler, Bethany Haag, Faizah Alshehri, Dwaina Thomas, Abi Dadzie, Josue Cardoso, Front Row: Sunderland Baker

Our innovative, dynamic, and interdisciplinary in-person PhD program examines the intersection of biological, psychological, social,environmental, and cultural influences on health and disease throughout the lifespan.  

Our faculty and graduate students engage with research related to health and wellness, from biology to public health. This sets us apart from traditional health psychology and behavioral medicine programs and facilitates students developing an integrative understanding of health.

It is the fundamental principle of our department that an integrative approach to health research and health care holds the greatest potential to advance health.

Training Overview

We do not have "tracks" within our department because our approach is integrative and interdisciplinary. However, our research falls into these three overlapping broad domains shown below, and a strength is that we train across all three. 

Health and the BBH themes
  1. Biology/physiological processes as they relate to health (e.g., behavioral neuroscience, neuropharmacology, psychoneuroimmunology, behavioral endocrinology, genetics, physiology)
  2. Psychological/behavioral processes as they relate to health (e.g., health psychology; behavioral medicine; including the roles of cognitions, emotions, individual differences, specific health behaviors)
  3. Public health policy (e.g., global health; health promotion; including the role of socio-cultural dynamics, ethics, and environmental factors as they relate to health and health policy)

One of the great features of our program is that our faculty and graduate students are doing work in all of these areas in the same department, enabling many collaborations and the cutting edge science that is needed to deal with complex health issues. Our program is designed to train the next generation of scientists to be able to conduct cross-cutting rigorous research in these domains. Thus, we also include excellent training in statistical methodologies, in addition to ethics and professional development. Much of our work is also relevant to addressing issues related to health disparities; BBH values diversity and views it as a critical factor in understanding health disparities and advancing both equality and health.