Health Behavior

MPH student Jennifer Grant (center) conducts a focus group for parents as part of her summer practicum in Indonesia. Grant worked with Save the Children on a school-based health promotion program called Sehat.
Message from the Chair
"Our department aims to foster an environment where future public health leaders gain the knowledge and tools from experts in the field in order to create a healthier and more vibrant world." Read more.
Leslie Lytle, PhD
Professor and Chair

The Department of Health Behavior examines the ways in which social contexts and behaviors influence the health of populations.

We engage a cross-disciplinary approach to research, practice and education. Our faculty are at the forefront of research on domestic and global public health problems and students graduate with skill-sets for effecting positive change. Read more.

Our research strengths include:

  • Adolescent health
  • Community-based participatory research
  • Early detection and management of disease
  • Health communication
  • Health disparity reduction
  • HIV/AIDS prevention and control
  • Obesity, diabetes and weight-related behaviors
  • Tobacco control and regulation
  • Violence prevention

How can we reduce childhood obesity? According to Health Behavior Chair Dr. Leslie Lytle in an op-ed in JAMA Pediatrics, one effective way is to increase the “buy-in” from schools to enact healthier food practices and policies.


Doctoral student Laura Villa-Torres has a paper published in a special edition of December’s Journal of Adolescent Health, focusing on how youth have been and should be involved in the development of sexual and reproductive health policy and programming.

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