Graduate degree: Ph.D. in community and behavioral health

The Department of Community and Behavioral Health examines the relationship between human behavior and community health and focuses on creating effective strategies for change. Community and behavioral health students learn how to design, implement, and evaluate interventions directed toward identified public health problems in communities. They learn how public and institutional policy, the media, and community organizations can promote healthy behavior and positive change.

Department faculty members come from a variety of disciplines within the social and health sciences, drawn together by an interest in health behavior and promoting healthy communities.

In addition to the Ph.D. degree in community and behavioral health, the department offers a subprogram for the Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) degree. see "M.P.H. Subprogram" below.

M.P.H. Subprogram

The Department of Community and Behavioral Health offers a subprogram for the Master of Public Health degree.

The M.P.H. subprogram in community and behavioral health prepares public health practitioners for a variety of positions in community development, health program implementation, and health education.

For detailed information about the M.P.H. degree, see the Master of Public Health, M.P.H. in the Catalog.

Graduate Programs of Study


The department houses two centers. The Prevention Research Center for Rural Health focuses on improving the health of rural Iowans. The National American Indian and Alaska Native Addiction Technology Transfer Center disseminates culturally legitimate evidence-based practice in substance abuse and behavioral health, and provides technical assistance, training, and systems change assistance to urban as well as tribal providers across the country.

Graduate students may have opportunities to work with ongoing research projects in the centers.

Community and Behavioral Health Courses

CBH:3102 Medical Anthropology3 s.h.

Major theoretical, methodological approaches; international health and development; biomedicine as a cultural system; ethnomedicine; anthropology and AIDS, human reproduction, epidemiology, ethnopsychiatry. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101 or ANTH:2100 or GHS:2000. Same as ANTH:3102, GHS:3102.

CBH:3150 Media and Health3 s.h.

Potential and limits of mass media's ability to educate the public about health; research and theory on the influence of information and entertainment media; theories, models, assumptions of mass communication in relation to public health issues. Same as GHS:3150, JMC:3150.

CBH:4105 Introduction to Health Promotion and Disease Prevention3 s.h.

Basic concepts, strategies, and methods of health promotion and disease prevention; health promotion in the context of public health, theories and principles that underpin health promotion; overview of policy formation and health promotion planning, implementation, evaluation.

CBH:4140 Feminist Activism and Global Health3 s.h.

How female gender intersects with culture, environment, and political economy to shape health and illness; reproductive health, violence, drug use, cancer; readings in anthropology, public health. Prerequisites: ANTH:1101. Same as ANTH:4140, GHS:4140, GWSS:4140.

CBH:5220 Health Behavior and Health Education3 s.h.

Common theories of health behavior and health education and their application to varied public health problems and settings.

CBH:5230 Public Health Issues in Overweight Management3 s.h.

Overview of overweight and obesity from a public health perspective, including epidemiology, measurement issues, and intervention approaches at individual, community, and policy levels. Prerequisites: CPH:5100 or CBH:4105.

CBH:5235 Community-Based Participatory Research3 s.h.

How community-based participatory research (CBPR) has emerged as a critical approach to conduct research and produce scholarship; opportunities, challenges, needed skills, and methods by which researchers and community members partner to conduct research that leads to community well-being and health; students share their experiences, explore, and learn through case studies, guest lectures, and interactive activities; application of research methods through a CBPR approach.

CBH:5305 Evaluation: Approaches and Applications3 s.h.

Program evaluation methods for use in public health and related educational and social service programs; methods, approaches, and planning strategies for conducting program evaluations; role and function of evaluation within program life cycle; basics of formative, process, outcome, and cost evaluation; development of evaluation questions with appropriate data sources, data collection methods, and analytic techniques; creation of a logic model to guide an evaluation plan and explain role of logic model in the process of evaluation. Prerequisites: CBH:5220 and BIOS:4120 and EPID:4400. Requirements: enrollment in College of Public Health.

CBH:5310 Qualitative Research for Public Health3 s.h.

Introduction to methods and theories of qualitative research that facilitate description and explanation of social phenomena related to health behavior, illness, prevention, and treatment in the public health domain.

CBH:5420 Communicating with the Community3 s.h.

Communication skills for research and practice settings, taught from a cultural perspective with reference to gender, age, ethnicity; individual and constructive interviewing, public speaking, conducting focus groups.

CBH:5435 Substance Abuse Prevention and Early Intervention3 s.h.

Prevalence and characteristics of several substance use disorders and the impact of such disorders on the individual, the community, and public health workers; how prevalence of substance use disorders varies among different ethnic and cultural groups, between men and women, across the life span, and through different socio-economic levels; how outcomes of substance abuse disorders vary at both the individual and community level as a function of these factors.

CBH:5440 Prevention and Early Intervention of Mental Health Disorders3 s.h.

Prevalence and characteristics of mental health disorders; differences between ethnicity and culture, gender, age, and socioeconomic background; primary and secondary prevention; assessment and tertiary treatment approaches to mental health disorders.

CBH:6115 Ethnographic Field Methods3 s.h.

Basic data-gathering techniques for field research in sociocultural anthropology. Same as ANTH:6115.

CBH:6205 Designing and Implementing Interventions3 s.h.

Theoretical foundations, phases, and skills necessary to plan, design, and implement a public health intervention program; techniques and strategies for designing and implementing public health interventions; emphasis on community engagement; evidence-based, culturally and contextually situated methods and skills to plan, design, and implement public health intervention program; analysis of case studies, individual and small group work on assignments and development of a data-driven program. Prerequisites: CBH:5220. Requirements: admission to College of Public Health.

CBH:6210 Health Communication3 s.h.

Theories, concepts, research associated with health communication; interpersonal and mass communication approaches. Same as COMM:6210.

CBH:6220 Health Communication Campaigns3 s.h.

Intervention design and analysis of health campaigns; theory, practice, methods; mass media, community, organization, and interpersonal approaches. Same as COMM:6220.

CBH:6230 Health Equity, Disparities, and Social Justice3 s.h.

Introduction to the concept of health equity and an overview of U.S. health disparities; students gain a better understanding of research and interventions through readings, lectures, reflection papers, in-class exercises, and research assignments. Same as EPID:6075.

CBH:6335 Research Methods in Community and Behavioral Health3 s.h.

Overview of quantitative research methods relevant to community and behavioral health; topics include major elements of behavioral and social science research, critical evaluation of research, and application of research methods in public health practice; opportunities for students to build skills for evaluation of research and application of quantitative research methods.

CBH:6405 Global Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health3 s.h.

Overview of global demographic trends in maternal, newborn, and child health; focus on low- and middle-income countries as well as programs, interventions, and policies that have successfully improved the health of women and children around the globe.

CBH:6410 Special Topicsarr.

Didactic material in community and behavioral health that may include tutorial, seminar, or faculty-directed independent work (e.g., literature search, project, short research project).

CBH:6415 Independent Study in Community and Behavioral Healtharr.

Pursuit of an interest in community and behavioral health requiring substantial creativity and independence.

CBH:7100 Community and Behavioral Health Doctoral Seminar1 s.h.

Introduction to the Department of Community and Behavioral Health; essential skills for success in academia, individual faculty member's work, and doctoral program requirements; for incoming Ph.D. students.

CBH:7200 Advanced Intervention Research3 s.h.

Intervention research development and implementation including conceptualization, design, development of research team and intervention approaches, statistical power, and research ethics. Prerequisites: CBH:6205.

CBH:7300 Advanced Behavioral Theories3 s.h.

Seminar on behavioral theory in public health; builds on student's previous training in theory with an emphasis on applications to guide research and thereby ensuring skills necessary to function as an independent scientist; examination of general principles of behavioral theory and several behavioral theories at different ecological levels; current state of theory development (i.e., gaps, future directions for research); emphasis on critical analysis and application of theory; students gain a better understanding of the role of behavioral theory in population health research. Prerequisites: CBH:5220. Requirements: doctoral standing.

CBH:7505 CBH Thesis/Dissertationarr.

Work on M.S. thesis or Ph.D. dissertation in community and behavioral health, with thesis/dissertation advisor.