Health Behavior

The Health Behavior Global Health Roundtable is sponsoring a campaign to crowdsource financial assistance to make a global practicum experience a reality for the students who have this fabulous opportunity. All funds raised will go directly to this initiative. We appreciate donations of any amount. Learn more | Give Now PLEASE NOTE: It is the link that earmarks your donation to this effort. You will not see "global practica" on the donation page.
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 I hope the good people of North Carolina are successful in getting this law repealed.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


Your support helps build the next generation of global health professionals.


MORE INFO. or DONATE Using this link allows us to track donations for this specific use.

There is no substitute for international experience, and this year a record number of students have opportunities to complete their summer practicum requirements outside the U.S. This is very exciting news. However, most students have only partial funding, which they identified through departmental, university, project or other sources. These students still need modest amounts of financial assistance – generally between 1 and 2 thousand dollars – to be able to take advantage of the placements they have been offered.

The Health Behavior Global Health Roundtable is sponsoring a campaign to crowdsource financial assistance to make a global practicum experience a reality for the students who have this fabulous opportunity. All funds raised will go directly to this initiative. We appreciate donations of any amount.

PLEASE NOTE: It is the link that earmarks your donation to this effort. You will not see “global practica” on the donation page. 

Featured stories from students, alumni and faculty

Student News

Tamara Taggart

Tamara Taggart, PhD

Tamara Taggart publishes analysis of AMP!

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.”

Read More


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

Jayne Jeffries wins teaching awards

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 named finalists for innovation project


Elizabeth Chen, MPH (at left) and Cristina Leos, MSPH

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.

Read more


2016 Health Behavior Capstone Pitch Day

HB_CapstonePitchDay2016This year featured 12 community partner organizations. Each partner 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.

The final Capstone projects will be announced to students on April 1. Stay tuned.

Research highlights

In February 2016, we posted 10 articles authored by 7 faculty and 3 students. Topics include:

HIV and HCV co-infection in Vietnam
Weight control for postpartum women
Behavioral mediators of weight loss for men
HIV testing among men in Tanzania
Sexual health risk and violence in Nicaragua
Marketing of tobacco products
U.S. policy on electronic cigarettes
HPV vaccination requirement for school-entry
Viral hepatitis and STI among female sex workers
Tanning beds and Twitter

See our research publications by month and access abstracts.

Faculty Awards


Dr. Geni Eng

Dr. Geni Eng received a 2016 Gillings School of Global Public Health Award for Innovation in Teaching based on nominations by students in the Department of Health Behavior.

Students vote for faculty members who “improve the learning environment by integrating new technologies, engaging students in interactive activities, and introducing and incorporating progressive curriculum ideas into the classroom.” Each recipient receives $1,000 to use towards professional development.

Eng, DrPH, a Peace Corps veteran and UNC-educated public health professional is  recognized nationally as  an expert and practitioner of the community-based participatory research (CBPR) technique.

Dr. Wizdom Powell

Dr. Wizdom Powell

Wizdom Powell, PhD, associate professor of health behavior received one of four of UNC’s Phillip and Ruth Hettleman Prize for Artistic and Scholarly Achievement by Young Faculty for 2015. The Hettleman Prize, established in 1986, is awarded annually to four highly promising UNC faculty members. Dr. Powell is a trained population health disparities research scientist and clinical psychologist. She is recognized nationally for the impact of her work, which addresses the gender paradox. Read more. 

Dr. Lightfoot

Dr. Lightfoot

Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD, received the 2015 Tom Bruce Award. The Community-Based Public Health (CBPH) Caucus, a subgroup within APHA, manages the award. It was established in 2006 to celebrate the work and legacy of Thomas Allen Bruce, MD, who is known as the “father of CBPH.” The award recognizes one individual per year who exemplifies leadership in the field.



News and Events

Hillary Murphy, Master of Public Health student. “An Unexpected path for practicum experience.” Read her blog

Alexandra Lightfoot, EdD, research assistant professor wins Tom Bruce Award. Read More


Read Other Featured News

Read Updates from Alumni



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