Health Behavior

Sally Herndon (MPH, 1980), head of the Tobacco Prevention and Control Branch in the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health receives the Harriet Hylton Barr Distinguished Alumnus/Alumna Award from Kurt Ribisl, professor and chair.
Message from the Chair
The health behavior faculty and I wish our new graduates the very best and hope they will always feel a warm connection to the Department of Health Behavior. This will be my last letter to you as chair. As many of you know, I have opted not to continue for a second five-year term as chair, so I can resume my work in research and public health practice. Read more
Dr. Leslie Lytle
In the Department of Health Behavior, students develop the skills they need to be community change agents for issues they care about, including violence, obesity, cancer, HIV, policy change and disparities that undermine public health locally and globally.

Established in 1942, UNC’s Department of Public Health Education was the first program of its kind in the United States. Read about our history.


Our faculty and students are active researchers  in North Carolina, the U.S. and globally with many studies focusing upon these issues:

-Community health
-Violence prevention
-Policy change
-HIV/AIDS prevention and control
-Health disparities reduction
-Health communication / mHealth
-Obesity and diabetes management
-Tobacco control
-Workplace health promotion

Degree Programs

Master of Public Health

The master’s program offers students the core educational and practical experience they need to become successful public health professionals. Master’s students earn either the Master of Public Health (MPH) or the Dual Master of Public Health and Master of City and Regional Planning (MPH-MCRP).

Tour the master’s program: Master’s Program  |  MPH Practicum  |  MPH Capstone  | Dual Degree MPH/MCRP Apply | Program Handbook

Doctor of Philosophy

Doctoral programs prepare students to lead and conduct research by providing strong research methodology courses and many student research opportunities. Some students enter directly into the doctoral program; others enter the master’s-to-doctoral program (MSPH-PhD) acquiring core public health and health behavior competencies and then completing all the requirements for the doctorate.

Tour the doctoral program: Doctoral ProgramResearch | Recent Dissertations |MSPH-to-PhD | Apply | Program Handbook

Learn More

We encourage prospective students to review the information about our programs here on the website, to check out the Health Behavior News from Gillings and the student news from our department’s e-newsletter: Spring 2016 and Fall 2016. If you need other information, use the Inquiry form.



Da'Esha McPhaul, student services manager, greets students at an event in 2016.

Da'Esha McPhaul, student services manager, greets students at an event in 2016.

August 23:
Charlottesville and Beyond: Join us in a discussion to examine questions such as: How can we put our values into action? Hosted by Kurt M. Ribisl and Deborah Stroman of the Department of Health Behavior.
4:30-5:30pm; 133 Rosenau Hall

October 6:
– Graduate Program Open House at Gilling
– Annual Practicum Day Celebration at Gillings

Event calendars:
Gillings School Events Calendar
UNC Academic Calendar: 2017 -2018

The North Carolina Institute for Public Health hosts a poster session where students share research that impacts our state.

The North Carolina Institute for Public Health hosts a poster session where students share research that impacts our state.

Heath Behavior Mattersour e-newsletter. The spring/summer issue is available online. Subscribe  to receive future issues by email.

Health Behavior Newsfeed – News about health behavior faculty and staff as it is posted by the Gillings School. Scroll to see older stories.

Gillings School Newsfeed – ALL the news from the Gillings School.


Health behavior alumni at the career day they sponsored in 2017

See our Health Behavior Alumni web page.
Search for health behavior alumni on the UNC alumni list on LinkedIn
Join the health behavior alumni group on LinkedIn

Activate your profile on the Gillings School’s WellConnected network. Then you can update your information, and see jobs and notices posted by other Gillings alumni.