Health Behavior Research

Suzanne Maman, PhD, works with project staffers.

Health behavior faculty members conduct research that is changing the way some of the biggest public health challenges of our time are viewed and solved.

See a sample for selected research areas.

In adolescent health

In community-based participatory research

In early detection and management of disease

  • Associate Professor Noel Brewer’s research on the HPV vaccine has helped eliminate myths and “bad science” from the vaccine debate and boosted vaccine use
  • The Cancer Health Disparities Training Program, administered through the Department, offers 1-3 qualified postdoctoral trainees a specialized curriculum that fosters multidisciplinary understanding of cancer health disparities.

In health communication

In health disparity reduction

  • Professor Geni Eng is researching the impact of technologic tools to improve the healthcare of African American breast and lung cancer patients through the Accountability for Cancer Care through Undoing Racism and Equity (ACCURE) study
  • Assistant Professor Wizdom Powell Hammond published an article in the American Journal of Public Health suggesting that the effects of racism may be strongest in men who suppress emotion. Dr. Powell was awarded an NIH K-award to study the psycho-biological mechanisms (masculinity, affect regulation and stress response) linking neighborhood conditions to problematic substance use/abuse among Black emerging adult males

In HIV/AIDS prevention and control

  • “SafeTalk “motivational interviewing program, designed by Associate Professor Carol Golin, helps people living with HIV/AIDS adopt and maintain safer sexual practices and has been approved by the CDC
  • Assistant Professor Kate Muessig conducts research based in China on the development of evidence-based interventions that address the social, structural and behavioral factors that drive HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among at-risk groups, especially men who have sex with men, sex workers and racial and ethnic disparity populations
  • Findings from Associate Professor Vivian Go’s trial on the effects of an HIV peer prevention intervention on sexual and injecting risk behaviors among injecting drug users and their risk partners in Vietnam were published in Social Science and Medicine and were presented at the 2014 International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia

In obesity, diabetes and weight-related behaviors

In tobacco control and regulation

  • Professor Kurt Ribisl’s research on cigarette marketing practices has helped change laws nationwide on how and where tobacco products can be displayed and sold, which helps reduce the number of new smokers

In violence prevention

  • A new effort aimed at using microlending to young men to help reduce the spread of HIV and thwart gender-based violence is being pioneered by Associate Professor Suzanne Maman in Tanzania
  • Professor Vangie Foshee’s “Families for Safe Dates,” a family-based dating abuse prevention program, is required for communities participating in the CDC’s nationwide dating abuse prevention effort called “Dating Matters”

In worker and workplace health promotion

  • Carolina Collaborative for Research on Work and Health, directed by Professor Laura Linnan, is an initiative aimed at enhancing inter-disciplinary research to improve worksite wellness, especially among low-income adults

A multidisciplinary approach

  • The investigation of causes, consequences, and strategies to prevent and manage disease and injury
  • The design and implementation of evidence-based interventions and policies that promote healthy behaviors and are disseminated in various settings at multiple levels of the social ecology (e.g. individual, community, state and national)
  • The monitoring and evaluation of interventions and policies to determine their effectiveness in achieving desired health outcomes

From research to evidence-based policies

Examples:Health behavior faculty evidence-based research into policy and program guidelines and recommendations for federal, state and local officials.

  • Professor Carolyn Crump is supported and recognized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health departments nationwide for her work on training public health professionals on effective policy change and injury prevention.
  • Professor Kurt Ribisl advised New York City on initiatives on tobacco pricing and placement, including Mayor Bloomberg’s initiatives.
  • Professor Brewer produced a technical report on cervical cancer prevention efforts in North Carolina for the Cervical Cancer-Free NC project.