The Heller School for Social Policy and Management

Behavioral Health

The Behavioral Health concentration prepares graduates for challenging careers developing research and policy that influence the quality, accessibility, and delivery of health care in the United States.

Focus of the Concentration

The U.S. health system is complex in its structure, processes, and outcomes. This trillion-dollar industry is the largest service industry in the nation, and is charged with the task of health promotion and prevention, and the diagnosis and treatment of ill health. Its knowledge base and technology expand at an exponential rate. The changes now redefining health care include: the continuing evolution of managed care, the concentration of provider institutions and insurers into fewer large competitors, the growing uninsured population, increasing concern with racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in health, increasing evidence for and awareness of the implications of behavior and lifestyle on health, and a search for lower-cost alternatives. In this environment, skilled health care managers, researchers, and educators who also have training in policy analysis are at a premium.

In the Behavioral Health concentration, we examine the U.S. health care system and its political, social, economic, and technical contexts. We focus on topics such as factors in the causation of ill health, the structure and processes of health care organizations and service delivery systems, approaches to financing health care, the delivery of substance use and mental health services, racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities, and health care and its role in social change.

Training Fellowship

Support for doctoral training is available through the Heller School or a grant from the National Institute for Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA).

All students in this concentration are advised by faculty and benefit from the research of the Institute for Behavioral Health, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy. The Institute for Behavioral Health examines the intersection of health, behavior and systems of care in order to promote healthier lifestyles and assist individuals in developing behaviors that lead to better health.

Required Concentration Courses

Sample Dissertations

  • Brooke Evans, 2019. "Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) Implementation in Vermont Medical Settings: A Mixed-Methods Study."
  • Jennifer Miles, 2019. "Examining the Effects of Licensed Recovery Residences on Alcohol and Other Drug Disorders in Massachusetts: A Multilevel Analysis."
  • Elisabeth Okrant, 2019. "Developing a Patient-Reported Outcome Measure for Substance Use Disorder Recovery: A Person-Centered Approach to Monitoring Changes in Recovery."
  • MeeLee Kim, 2019. "Exploring the Effects of  Community Risk and Protective Factors on Alcohol and Prescription Drug Misuse: Implications for Prevention."
  • Marianne Pugatch, 2019. "Female Veterans Returning from Wars In Iraq and Afghanistan Who Screen Positive for Alcohol Misuse in the Veterans Health Administration: Predictors of Follow-Up and Completed Referrals."
  • Scott William Formica, 2018. "Determinants of Technical Assistance Utilization and Impact on  Partnership Functioning, Prevention Infrastructure, and Underage Drinking: A Longitudinal Multi-Site Study."