Health Behavior

Many health behavior students served on the planning team for the 2016 Minority Health Conference. Some of those students are pictured here. Back row left to right: Christina Villella, Humberto Rodriguez, Waru Gichane, Anna Dardick, Julia Hill, Steffani Bangel, Lillie Armstrong and Christin Stewart. Front row left to right: Katie Byerly, Jani Radhakrishnan, Giuliana Morales, Eyerusalem Tessema and Amanda Kong.
Message from the Chair
The recently passed House Bill 2 is of grave concern to me. As an educator, researcher and administrator, it is critically important to me that all students, staff, faculty and the larger community are treated with respect, valued for their differences, and offered equal rights and privileges. I hope the good people of North Carolina are successful in getting this law repealed.
Leslie Lytle, PhD,
professor and chair

The Department of Health Behavior combines the social and behavioral sciences with health science to produce graduates who deliver practical research and interventions that improve the health of individuals and communities. Established in 1942, we were the first Department of Public Health Education created in the U.S.

MPH in Health Behavior 

This degree offers students the core education and practical experience they need to be successful public health professionals.

MPH program  |  MPH practicum  |  MPH Capstone  | Apply

PhD in Health Behavior

The doctoral program prepares students to lead and conduct research based on strong methodology courses, and many student research opportunities.

PhD Program | Faculty Research Interests | Recent Dissertations | Faculty Publications (2015)Apply



 Featured News from our Students, Faculty and Alumni

Jed Hinkley holds a sweet potato, one product of the farms and markets he often visits. (Contributed photo)

Jed Hinkley holds a sweet potato, one product of the farms and markets he often visits. (Contributed photo)

Jed Hinkley, MPH, is the “go-to” person if you want to talk about healthy food access in northeastern North Carolina.

“I wanted to work in a rural part of the state where significant health disparities exist, particularly in the areas of food access, physical activity, obesity and diabetes,” Hinkley says.

As the healthy foods coordinator for Albemarle Regional Health Services, working with the Partnerships to Improve Community Health grant, Hinkley promotes equitable access to food. His efforts include initiatives that increase the number of local produce vendors and encourage vendors to accept the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

Featured in Carolina Public Health Magazine


Dr. Wizdom Powell awarded Rockefeller Foundation grant and delivers congressional briefing

Dr. Wizdom Powell

Dr. Wizdom Powell

Wizdom Powell, PhD, associate professor of health behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, has been awarded a residency at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, in Bellagio, Italy.

Powell will use the residency, scheduled from April 11 to May 9, 2017, to further her research, “Transforming Social and Health-care System Landscapes to Address Gendered Health Inequities Among Vulnerable Males.”

Powell also has been invited to deliver a briefing on health disparities in boys and men to U.S. congressional representatives in Washington, D.C, on May 24.

Read More.

Dr. Powell delivered the  Hettleman Lecture – “Disrupting the Single Story About Black Male Health Equity” to an audience of UNC faculty, students, faculty and friends  in April of this year. Powell  was awarded one of four of UNC’s Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty for 2015. She is recognized nationally for the impact of her work in the emerging field of research, public health and health policy as it relates to gender and race. She has made significant breakthroughs in the understanding of health at the intersection of gender and race as it applies to men of color, and in adoption of research-based approaches to health disparities and mental health policy.

Read more about Dr. Powell


Ten Capstone teams present their work at annual Capstone celebration

hb_MH cohort_may_2016Topics ranged from an app to support breastfeeding to improving uptake of a no-smoking rule.

Tamara Taggart, PhD, publishes paper about AMP!

Tamara Taggart

Tamara Taggart


Tamara Taggart, PhD, the lead study author and a 2016 graduate of the Department of Health Behavior at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, wanted to analyze the effectiveness of the intervention at increasing three key elements of HIV prevention: HIV knowledge, awareness and attitudes.“AMP! delivers sexual health messages in a fun, interactive and meaningful way that appeals to how adolescents learn and communicate,” Taggart shared. “Our findings underscore the need to design sexual health interventions that are developmentally and culturally appropriate for adolescents.”


Jayne Jeffries receives the 2016 Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching

Jayne Jeffries, Department of Health Behavior, recipient of the 2016 Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Graduate Teaching Assistants, at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jayne Jeffries, doctoral student

Congratulations to Jayne Jeffries, doctoral student in Health Behavior, who has been recognized twice this year for excellence in teaching. Jayne was just named the recipient of an undergraduate teaching award, bestowed by the Student Undergraduate Teaching and Staff Awards (SUTASA) Committee.

In nominating Jayne, one student said, “I would rank her as the #1 TA I have in my 4 years at UNC, and 2 years in the pre-professional school SPH.”

Earlier this year, Jayne received one of five Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching by Graduate Assistants.


Elizabeth Chen and Christine Leos are finalists for innovation award


Elizabeth and Christine  are among the finalists for the 2016 “Innovation Next” project, an award that includes $80,000 in development funds and the opportunity to work the renowned global design company IDEO to refine and execute their proposal.

Created by a grant by the U.S. Health and Human Services Office of Adolescent Health, Innovation Next is designed to find creative, interactive technology interventions for preventing teen pregnancy. Ten teams out of 127 entries were chosen as finalists in this year’s competition.

2016 Health Behavior Capstone Pitch Day

HB_CapstonePitchDay2016This year 12 community partner organizations presented an idea for a 2016-2017 Capstone project.First-year MPH students will rank their top choices, and the Capstone teaching team will match projects/students/and faculty members.

News and Events

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Health Behavior Resources for Current StudentsSee or download program handbooks and other essential resources here.

How to Apply (Gillings School Application Process)

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