Transcript Slide 1

Sharing Psychology in Public
Brenda M. DeVellis, PhD
Professor of Health Behavior & Health Education
Research Professor of Psychology
Robert F. DeVellis, PhD
Professor of Health Behavior & Health Education
Adjunct Professor of Psychology
The Learners
All graduate students:
We enroll 35 students/year to our 2 year
MPH program and 8-10 doctoral
students per year
Entering doctoral students must have
prior a master’s degree in a related field
The Learners (contd.)
Goal of MPH program – to prepare analytic
practitioners for positions in health education
planning, management, and evaluation.
A national and international reputation for
articulating and promoting community based
participatory research in public health.
Disciplinary Composition of the
• 7 of 20 faculty are psychologists
• 2 are sociologists
• Remainder trained in health behavior &
health education
• Since 1970, Department Chairs have been
psychologists or sociologists
Three Conceptual Domains
• Health Communication: e.g.,web-based
interventions, risk communication
• Interpersonal and social processes in health and
illness: e.g., social support, peer and family
• Community Engagement: how communities and
organizations bring about social, structural, and
policy changes
Role of Psychology in
• Psychology is a core discipline for health
• Understanding and influencing health
Is Psychology Required?
• First semester 4-credit required course in Social
and Behavioral Foundations of HBHE with 60%
of content psychology
• Both MPH and PhD students have a social and
behavioral science comp question focused on
applying theory and/or conceptual models to a
public health problem
Examples of Psychological
Content in Curriculum
• In required course:Social Learning
Theory,Theory of Planned Behavior,Social
Cognition, Social Support
• In elective course: emotions, coping and
health, self-esteem, stereotyping, altruism
and civility,health professional-patient
• PhD students must take 10 credits of
advanced social/behavioral sciences from:
– anthropology
– sociology
– psychology or
– departmental courses in Health Disparities
and Advanced Psychological Theory.
• I teach the latter
Challenges in Teaching
• Highly variable prior preparation
• Hostility toward research and theory
• Lumping the world by disease categories
rather than concepts
• Demonstrating relevance
• Huge scope of problems individual
students want to address – multiple levels
Interdisciplinary Collaboration
Hallmark of public health
Within public health disciplines
With medicine
With social sciences
Joint appointments
Opportunities and Barriers
• Extensive opportunities and few barriers
• School of Public Health Dean trained in
health behavior and a champion of
behavioral principles and theories
• Excellent relationships with colleagues in
psychology, including social, clinical, and
Preparing for the Future
• NIH is a major source of funding for
psychological research
• Addressing health problems is typically a multilevel enterprise
• Methods, theories, and approaches from
psychology play a critical role
• Psychology should acknowledge and engage
these challenges