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Why Study Behavioral and Community Health Sciences?

Behavioral and community health sciences

  • examine public health problems using social and behavioral sciences theory and information
  • conduct community-based research and practice to build a knowledge base and gain understanding
  • develop and plan programs and policies to address public health problems

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, community health workers are

  • projected to experience faster than average employment growth (20–28%) over the period 2010–20
  • projected to see 52,600 job openings over the period 2010–20

Behavioral and community health research and practice are important for:

  • implementing, managing, and evaluating community programs and public policies
  • communicating information to policy makers and the public
  • advocating for program development, policy changes, and improvements in the quality of life of populations and communities

Everyone benefits from research and interventions such as the following, in which the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences has been or is involved:

  • discovering ways to prevent falls in the elderly
  • examining depression and end-of-life care in patients diagnosed with definite or probable amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)
  • examining patterns of substance use over time among an existing cohort of HIV-positive and negative men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • exploring the relationship between neighborhood context and racial disparities in pregnancy-related health outcomes (e.g., preterm birth and low birth weight)
  • providing training in conducting behavioral trials on cancer screening among underserved Latino populations
  • increasing the quantity and improving the quality of social services in maternal and child health by training qualified social workers for leadership positions as administrators, consultants, and practitioners     
  • identifying the precursors of methamphetamine use and/or abuse among MSM

Graduates of the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences are able to

Master of Public Health
  • examine public health problems using social and behavioral sciences theory and information
  • develop and plan programs and policies to address public health problems
  • implement, manage, and evaluate programs and policies
  • conduct community-based applied research to build a knowledge base and gain understanding
  • communicate information to policy makers and the public
  • advocate for program development and policy change
Doctor of Philosophy
  • develop critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • develop an understanding of the social ecological context within which public health programs are designed, implemented, and researched
  • employ qualitative and quantitative methodologies to design and conduct rigorous and scientifically valid research at various levels of human activity
  • develop a social justice perspective in the consideration of and sensitivity to ethical issues that influence public health, health policy, and the delivery of health care
  • apply data management and analysis skills and competencies in communicating research findings orally and in writing
Doctor of Public Health
  • integrate the social and behavioral sciences with management, advocacy, leadership, ethics, and communication skills
  • utilize social ecological frameworks to design, implement, and manage public health programs that translate research into practice
  • utilize social ecological frameworks to conduct applied research to evaluate public health programs and policies using qualitative and quantitative methodologies
  • develop partnerships and conduct collaborative projects with diverse communities and community and public health organizations
  • develop strategies to communicate effectively with diverse constituencies, including policy makers, researchers, public heath practitioners, and the general public in order to conduct advocacy for change and disseminate evidence-based research results
© 2017 by University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

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