The mission of the Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSS) is to conduct education and research to understand the behavioral and social determinants of public health problems and to develop interventions to change behaviors and improve social contexts related to public health.

Our graduate educational goal is to train the next generation of public health scholars and practitioners to engage in scientific research and programmatic activities to reduce the burden of disease and improve the wellness of populations.  The Department of Behavioral and Social Sciences offers courses of study leading to Master of Science (ScM) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degrees in Behavioral and Social Health Sciences.

Faculty members in the BSS Department conduct research at the individual, family, organization, community, population, and policy levels. Areas of expertise range from basic research to elucidate biological/genetic mechanisms and causal pathways of behavior and health; survey and qualitative research into the social and behavioral determinants of health; intervention studies for prevention and treatment of health problems; and translational, dissemination, and policy research to address health behaviors in diverse communities. 

While treatment and community-based interventions are well represented in the BSS portfolio, equal representation exists in laboratory-based work that informs treatment and intervention development.  Innovations in intervention are then linked to an emerging expertise ranging from basic experimental discoveries to translational science and dissemination research.

2014 Master's graduate Jessica Mitter with Advisors Abby Harrison and Don Operario2014 Master's graduate Jessica Mitter with Advisors Abby Harrison and Don Operario