UTH

Health promotion & behavioral sciences

Identifying and evaluating the factors that affect health, and investigating the most successful means of intervention.

Explore degree programs >

Building healthier communities

The Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences prepares students to work alongside communities to develop, implement and evaluate successful interventions. 

Students join our department because they believe that making healthy life choices attainable and appealing is the most effective way to prevent disease and injury. Many times this means combining evidence-informed theories that address public health challenges with the goals and values of the community to create better intervention outcomes. Our faculty literally wrote the book on developing successful interventions, a seminal work that’s used in public health classrooms around the nation. Their expertise not only helps our students build valuable skill sets, such as how to undertake a needs assessment or evaluate a project’s effectiveness but also encourages them to address their own biases and assumptions to achieve better, more sustainable health programs.

“As a graduate student in our department, you will have an opportunity to broaden your knowledge and skills in the development, implementation, and evaluation of evidence-based interventions to promote healthy behaviors.  Faculty members in the department come from diverse academic backgrounds including anthropology, clinical and social psychology, sociology, social and behavioral epidemiology, dietetics, and qualitative and quantitative methodology.

After graduation, you will find opportunities to use your education to make an impact on public health in a variety of settings including government agencies such as state or local health departments, national agencies and organizations such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the National Institutes of Health, private sector organizations such as the American Cancer Society, as well as health care settings, and academic institutions, among others. We look forward to helping you achieve your career goals.”

Dr. Christine Markham
Interim Department Chair

Health promotion and health education

Inspiring and empowering others to make change.

The field of health promotion and health education emphasizes giving people the ability to better control their own health destiny. Rather than seeing ourselves as the change-agents, our students and faculty work to help communities get the things they need to help themselves and those around them to live healthier lives. More than just providing resources and education, health promotion evaluates the systems and environments, as well as the perceptions and attitudes that can impact a population’s health. By determining points of intervention, our research can use small “nudges” or adjustments within populations that can lead to dramatic changes and effects.

Behavioral sciences

Uncovering the motivations and factors that influence health.

Behavioral sciences take into account all of the possible things that can influence a person’s actions and choices when it comes to their health. Our students regularly contribute to the scientific literature and learn to develop and implement state-of-the-art social and behavioral science theory, design and analytic approaches. Understanding the patterns behind healthy choices and consequences provides the evidence and grounding that can give programs and interventions the best possible chance of success.

Health promotion and behavioral sciences research

We offer a supportive and thriving research culture, including many grant-funded projects and high-profile collaborations with other health and community organizations. Our department is also affiliated with the Center for Health Promotion and Prevention Research and the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, both of which offer additional opportunities for leadership and enriching experiences.

Our research interests and efforts include:
  • Adolescent vaccination
  • HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention
  • Promotion of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) vaccination to prevent a number of cancers
  • Prevention and cessation of smoking/vaping or tobacco use
  • Community involvement in cancer treatment and other health conditions
  • Health resource accessibility
  • Birth control advocacy and pregnancy prevention
  • Effective sexual health education
  • Cancer screening promotion for evidence-based tests
  • Nutrition and healthy eating
  • Dental hygiene and healthy habits for children
  • Integrating school and family efforts for children’s health
  • Maternal health and workforce needs
  • Infant health
  • Childhood obesity
  • Chronic disease management

 

Degree programs

The Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences offers the following degrees:

Master of Public Health (MPH)
  • Master of Public Health in Health Promotion & Health Education
  • Master of Public Health in Health Promotion & Health Education, Dietetic Internship Program
Doctor of Public Health (DrPH)
  • Doctor of Public Health in Health Promotion & Health Education
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
  • Doctor of Philosophy in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion

Certificates offered

The Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences offers the following certificates:

For non-degree seeking students
  • Health Disparities Certificate
  • Maternal and Child Health Certificate
  • Public Health Informatics Certificate
  • Health Promotion Program Planning and Evaluation Certificate
  • Advanced Planning and Evaluation for Health Promotion Programs Certificate
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Behavioral Sciences Certificate
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods for Behavioral Sciences Certificate
For degree-seeking students
  • Health Disparities Certificate
  • Maternal and Child Health Certificate
  • Health Promotion Program Planning and Evaluation Certificate
  • Advanced Planning and Evaluation for Health Promotion Programs Certificate
  • Introduction to Quantitative Methods for Behavioral Sciences Certificate
  • Advanced Quantitative Methods for Behavioral Sciences Certificate

Contact us

Claire Strickland
Academic and Admissions Advisor
713-500-9985
Claire.Strickland@uth.tmc.edu

  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Leading data collection effort aimed at reducing teen pregnancy

    The data collection effort, expected to take six months, is the second part of a yearlong planning phase to address the issue of pregnancy prevention among children in foster care. Melissa Peskin, PhD, associate professor with UTHealth School of Public Health, will lead the effort.

    READ MORESPH - Our Imact - CLYC slider

    Dr. Markham works with community partner. Photo by Aaron Nieto.
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Fighting back against the vaping epidemic among youth

    As e-cigarette use by young people reaches epidemic proportions, researchers at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have received a $3.1 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to conduct the first-ever assessment on the long-term results of a nationwide nicotine vaping prevention program for youth called CATCH My Breath.

    READ MORESPH - Our Imact - vaping epidemic

    Steven H. Kelder, PhD, MPH
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Meeting the public health education needs of the Permian Basin community

    UTHealth School of Public Health and the University of Texas Permian Basin (UTPB) College of Business have partnered to provide graduate students with the opportunity to earn a Graduate Certificate in Public Health while simultaneously earning a Master of Business Administration (MBA) beginning Spring 2020.

    READ MOREUTPB Partnership CertificateSPH - Our Imact - UTPB Partnership Certificate

    UTHealth School of Public Health Dean Eric Boerwinkle, PhD, UTPB President Dr. Sandra Woodley
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Preventing and caring for HIV in homeless youth

     Alexis Sims, a doctoral student in health promotion and behavioral sciences at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health, has been awarded a $100,000 supplemental research grant from the National Institutes of Health to investigate HIV prevention and care in homeless youth.

    READ MORESPH - Our Imact - NIH funding for HIV

    Alexis Sims, MPH
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Carol Huber appointed to the Value Based Payment and Quality Improvement Advisory Committee for Texas

    Huber will serve as a member representing regional healthcare partnerships.

    READ MORESPH - Our Impact 2020 - Carol Huber appointed to Value Based Payment and Quality Improvement Advisory Committee for Texas

    Carol Huber
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Understanding how one dose of the HPV vaccine may prevent infection

    A new study revealed that one dose of the HPV vaccine may prevent infection from the potential cancer-causing virus, according to research published in JAMA Network Open by UTHealth School of Public Health researchers.

    READ MORESPH - Our Imact - HPV dosage slider

    Study authors Ashish Deshmukh, PhD, MPH; and Kalyani Sonawane, PhD. Photo by Maricruz Kwon.
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Conducting needs assessments and "meeting people where they are"

    UTHealth School of Public Health researchers work to bridge that gap between what intervention programs offer versus what's needed by creating programs based on input from the individuals who have lived the experiences. 

    READ MORESPH - Our Imact - Meeting People Where They Are

    Vanessa Schick, PhD; and J. Michael Wilkerson, PhD, MPH
  • SEE OUR IMPACT

    Alumnus appointed to Texas Radiation Advisory Board

     Dr. William “Will” Pate, was appointed to the Texas Radiation Advisory Board (TRAB) and will remain in this position until the end of his term on April 16, 2023. Dr. Pate is one of 10 Texas professionals appointed to this board.

    READ MORESPH - Our Imact - Pate

    William Pate
LOADING...