Welcome from Chair

Mary Hawk

Welcome to the Department of Behavioral and Community Health Sciences (BCHS) at Pitt Public Health. We invite you to browse our website and get a sense of faculty, staff, and student interests. Our site also provides news about funded research, community partners, degree programs and courses, and recent publications and awards.

BCHS applies research on the dynamics of health behavior change to improve health in communities. We explore social determinants of health to understand the conditions in which health behaviors are produced, as well as to pinpoint the most effective intervention points and methods. Testing these interventions requires engaged community partners and multi-level and frequently mixed-methods analyses. Some examples of this work include explorations of the impact of social media on public health issues such as vaccine hesitancy, development of technology-enhanced interventions to reduce health disparities, and collaborative filmmaking as an advocacy tool to build reproductive justice. Our work frequently considers the role of intersectional stigma on minoritized and oppressed populations. The goal is better health for populations, including those who are historically excluded. We are committed to recognizing our privilege and leveraging it to address racism and improve health equity.

Our curriculum incorporates the latest advances in social, behavioral, and computational science. Students can take advantage of courses and earn certificates offered by centers within the department and school including the Center for LGBT Health, Center for Health Equity, and the Evaluation Institute for Public Health. Students can also earn a certificate in Community-Based Participatory Research and work with our Concept Mapping Center.

The department has a world-class faculty heavily involved in teaching, research, and community service locally, nationally, and internationally. We collaborate directly with an array of local and regional public health systems, and leaders of many of these organizations serve on our faculty. We are involved in national and international projects funded by NIH, CDC, USAID, and foundations. We are particularly noted for our community-based emphasis in research, practice, and evaluation. Faculty and student research extends from the US to Thailand, India, Nepal, and Peru, to name a few. 

Graduates assume positions in a variety of public health and related organizations, including federal, state, and local governmental organizations, as well as a range of private sector and public-funded agencies. MPH graduates are responsible for community health planning, research and evaluation, and administration of programs designed to improve the health of populations. PhD graduates go on to careers in public health research, teaching, and administration.

We are so glad you are exploring BCHS! Please contact Paul Markgraf with any questions about our program. We look forward to hearing from you.

Mary Hawk
Department Chair