Health Behavior

Camille McGirt, health behavior master's student, was featured on "The Dr. Oz Show." Watch the video here. Since 2011, McGirt has served as founder and co-executive director of Healthy Girls Save the World, a nonprofit organization that provides a positive space for girls in North Carolina to foster the development of habits related to proper nutrition, physical activity, and healthy mental and physical lifestyle.

Message from the Chair
Welcome back to Spring semester, 2017. It is hard to believe that the 2016 academic year is half over and that soon many of us will be planning graduation celebrations! Read more.
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, UNC’s Department of Public Health Education was the first program of its kind in the United States. Read about our history.

We encourage accepted students to come to Experience GillingsIt is the best way to get to know us and decide if our program offers what you are seeking. And if you are in the area, consider coming to the 38th Annual Minority Health Conference, a fabulous gathering on a critical issue.

Scroll down to find out about our programs, events and news or to find a link to our alumni page.

We will miss Ida Friday, health behavior alumna

Ida Howell Friday, artist, activist and health behavior alumna died on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017, at the age of 97. Friday (MPH, 1947) studied in the school during the tenure of Dr. Lucy S. Morgan, founder and first chair of the department then known as the Department of Public Health Education.

friday_bill.ida_t.fuldner_738x491Ida and her husband Bill Friday were long-time supporters of the Department of Health Behavior and close friends with Lucy Morgan and Eunice Tyler, Morgan’s life partner and also a professor in the department.

Public health educators like Ida Friday became experts in community organization and development, but they were not merely technicians. Ida and her public health coworkers were imbued with a liberal faith in the improvability of humankind; Morgan and Tyler were, for their day, advanced racial liberals, and they helped to establish a cooperative teaching program with North Carolina College for Negroes in Durham [now North Carolina Central University] that brought blacks, for the first time, into Carolina’s classrooms.

Their egalitarianism affected Ida, who had grown up in segregated Robeson County. By the time she completed her degree, she had had her sights elevated and her feeling and heart ‘raised to a different level.’

(Source: Link A. William Friday Power, Purpose and American Higher Education, pp. 59-60)

The Fridays established the prestigious Lucy Morgan Fellowship with a generous gift in 1987. The award recognizes a master’s student who displays high academic achievement, integrity and leadership in health education and includes a substantial stipend. Since the first Morgan Fellow was named in1988, more than 70 health behavior students have received the award.

Read more about Ida Friday in the Gillings School News.

One way to honor Ida Friday’s vision is by making a gift to the Morgan Fellowship Fund.(Use the search feature and select “Lucy Morgan Fellowship.”)

Master of Public Health (MPH) program

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

Master’s Program  |  MPH Practicum  |  MPH Capstone  | Apply

The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program

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 PhD program, others enter the Master’s-to-Doctoral program (MSPH-PhD) acquiring core public health and health behavior competencies and completing all the requirements for the PhD.

Doctoral Program | Research | Recent Dissertations |Master’s to PhD | Apply

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 Prospective Student Inquiry form.

Spring Semester Events

Health behavior students grab coffee during orientation in Aug. 2016.

Friday, February 24, 8 am – 3 pm: 38th Annual Minority Health Conference: Systems of Power: Recalling Our Past, Restructuring Our Future at the William and Ida Friday Center.

Friday March 3, 1 – 4 pm: Capstone Pitch Day for first-year master’s students at the Gillings School

Friday March 10,  5 pm until Monday March 20, 8 am: Spring recess

Friday March 24, 8 am – 3 pm: Experience Gillings: an event for admitted students at the Gillings School

Friday April 14: holiday

Thursday April 27: Annual Foard Lecture, schoolwide event at the Gillings School

Tuesday May 9, 4 – 7 pm: Capstone Celebration Day for second-year master’s students, their guests and the Gillings School community at the Gillings School

Saturday May 13: UNC Doctoral Hooding Ceremony and Gillings School Commencement, on the UNC campus

Sunday May 14: UNC Spring Commencement on the UNC Campus

Gillings Events Calendar UNC Academic Calendar

Academic Calendars: 2016 – 2017 and 2017 -2018

Cristina Leos and Liz Chen, doctoral students in health behavior and Vichi Jagannathan, an MBA candidate at Yale posed after pitching Real Talk, their award-winning mobile app.

Cristina Leos and Liz Chen, doctoral students in health behavior and Vichi Jagannathan, an MBA candidate at Yale posed after pitching Real Talk, their award-winning mobile app. they designed.

Health Behavior Newsfeed

Health Behavior Matters newsletter


Hannah Prentice-Dunn, health behavior alumna

The Health Behavior Alumni page has updates, features and events.

Review Health Behavior Matters and scroll through recent issues.

Download older printed newsletter from the Health Behavior Alumni page