Encouraging children and their families to eat fruits and vegetables in schools; helping women understand the importance of prenatal vitamins and early care for child; and promoting tobacco cessation are just a few aspects of behavioral and community health.

Behavioral and community health focuses on individual and community lifestyle behaviors and aspects of our social environment that affect our health.  Practitioners and researchers in this field use theory and evidence based practices to seek out ways to encourage people to make healthy choices. The Department of Behavioral and Community Health prepares graduates to improve the health of communities through health promotion and disease prevention. By understanding the different aspects of behavioral and community health, students are able to actively engage with communities to develop approaches and solutions to everyday health issues.

Behavioral and community health also seeks to improve the public’s health through the application of social and behavioral sciences.  Through studying behavior, graduates are able to not just understand disease, but are also able to modify the incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates of many diseases that affect the communities in which we live.  Additionally, community health specialists promote more efficient uses of health services, adopt self-care practices, and participate actively in the design and implementation of health programs.

The Department of Behavioral and Community Health works to establish community relationships in order to develop community interventions.  The faculty and students of this department promotes and fosters active collaboration with researchers and community partners from many different specialties and institutions.  By working with the University of Maryland, the department has established several partnerships and research and service centers that work to actively engage the community in a variety of capacities.

Some Public Health Issues Addressed by BCH Include:

  • Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV
  • Women’s Health
  • Health Communication
  • HIV/AIDS Prevention and Intervention
  • Health Disparities
  • Tobacco Control and Prevention
  • Adolescent Health
  • Mental Health
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse
  • Cancer Prevention
  • Obesity & Nutrition