Alfred McAlister, PhD

Photo of Alfred McAlister

Professor, Health Promotion & Behavioral Sciences

Professor McAlister is a Texas native and UT Austin graduate (1972) with a doctoral and postdoctoral training at Stanford. Formerly with the faculty at the Harvard School of Public Health, he joined UTHealth in 1984 and become the first faculty member in Austin in 2002. He has helped lead well-known international and domestic population level health promotion experiments, including the North Karelia Project in Finland and the Texas Tobacco Prevention Pilot Initiative—both of which produced documented decreases in tobacco use and associated causes of death. As a world-recognized expert in communication and social-behavioral change, he has recently authored textbook and encyclopedia chapters on this topic and on the mass psychology of support for war.

In addition to work on innovation in digital, mobile and social media for promoting health behavior change among young adults, McAlister leads research on the effects of recreation in and exposure to “green-blue” environments in collaboration with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Westcave Outdoor Discovery Center.

Current Project

Cities Connecting Children to Nature 


Recent Publications

Text and Mobile Media Smoking Cessation Service for Young Adults in South Texas: Operation and Cost-Effectiveness Estimation

(Ramirez, A.G., Chalela, P., Akopian, D., Munoz, E., Gallion, K.J., Despres, C., ... & McAlister, A.L; 2017)

Abstract A10: Facebook advertisement effects on conversions and enrollment to a SMS/text smoking cessation service for young adult Latinos

(Chalela, P., McAlister, A.L., Gallion, K.J., Muñoz, E., Despres, C., Akopian, D., ... & Ramirez, A. G; 2016)

Moral Disengagement in “War Fever”: How Can We Resist?

(McAlister, A.L., & Wilczak, B; 2015)

Advocacy, Efficacy, and Engagement in an Online Network for Latino Childhood Obesity Prevention

(Ramirez, A.G., Gallion, K.J., Despres, C., Aguilar, R.P., Adeigbe, R.T., Seidel, S.E., & McAlister, A.L; 2015)

Pitkäranta project: Health collaboration across the Karelian border

(Korpelainen, V., Laatikainen, T., McAlister, A., & Puska, P; 2014)