Zilber student in the UWM Community Garden

The community and behavioral health master’s program at UWM focuses preparing its students through innovative approaches to community engagement and collaborative practice.

Community and behavioral health master’s students apply a social justice and equity-centered approach to public health training and practice. Methodical approaches address quantitative, qualitative and community-engaged techniques.

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Program Format

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Alumni Spotlight

“I am a program manager at MCW for the Collaborative for Healthcare Delivery Science. We focus on the intersection of health services research and clinical operations and innovation to design, implement, and engage in rapid-cycle, testing and evaluation of interventions deployed for improvement purposes in the clinical enterprise (Froedtert Health and Children’s Wisconsin).

“I manage the entirety of the program, including the budget and finance pieces, administration and the education components we support, but my main responsibilities are managing the projects we take on and assisting with results dissemination.”

Annie Penlesky, MPH – Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

Annie Penlesky, MPH – Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

Our community and behavioral health master’s coursework addresses topics and materials such as:

  • Theories and frameworks in social and behavioral science
  • Evidence-based methods for program planning, implementation and evaluation

Community & Behavioral Health Promotion MPH (48 credits)

All students enrolled in the MPH program take a common set of core classes. The core curriculum consists of at least 20 credit hours, including at least three credits field experience and a two-credit capstone seminar. In addition to the common core, students complete the required coursework in one of five specialization tracks. Students must maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better in order to progress through the program.

MPH Required Common Core Courses (at least 24-25 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics (3 credits)
PH 703: Environmental Health Sciences (3 credits)
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 705: Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
PH 706: Perspectives in Community and Behavioral Health (3 credits)
PH 708: Health Systems and Population Health (3 credits)
PH 733: Overview of Qualitative Methods for Public Health (1 credit)
PH 790: Field Experience in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 791: Leadership in Public Health (1 credit)
PH 800: Capstone in Public Health (2 credits)

Required Courses (15 credits)

PH 701: Public Health Principles and Practice (3 credits)
PH 725: Theories and Models of Health Behavior (3 credits)
PH 726: Community Health Assessment (3 credits)
PH 727: Program Planning and Implementation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health (3 credits)

Methods “S”electives- choose two (Six credits minimum)

PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 776: Qualitative Approaches in Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
PH 831: Community Engagement and Participatory Research Approaches in Public Health (3 credits)

Electives – Choose one (Three credits minimum)

PH 719: Social Justice in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 740: Special Topics in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 752: Public Health and Mental Health (3 credits)
PH 999: Independent Study (1-3 credits)
KIN 732: Physical Activity and Health across the Lifespan (3 credits)

Other classes as approved by advisor.

Please note: All courses are subject to change. Please consult the Academic Catalog for the most up-to-date information.

Community & Behavioral Health Promotion track competencies

  1. Demonstrate a broad knowledge and understanding of community and behavioral health theories and their application to health promotion and prevention.
  2. Apply relevant theories, concepts and models from the social and behavioral sciences to public health research and practice.
  3. Engage and include key stakeholders in the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies and interventions.
  4. Demonstrate cultural humility and collaborative skills when working with disadvantaged individuals and diverse communities on public health problems and solutions.
  5. Identify and operationalize social and community-level solutions to public health problems.
  6. Develop and apply collaborative partnership and engagement skills with diverse community agencies and stakeholders to address health disparities and promote health equity.
  7. Assess for potential social and behavioral factors influencing the health of individuals and communities.
  8. Assess the strengths and limitations of social and behavioral science interventions and policies within the context of health promotion.
  9. Apply qualitative and quantitative methods to the assessment of public health problems, the articulation of community strengths, and the evaluation of prevention and intervention programs.
  10. Identify and apply theoretically grounded, evidence-based approaches to the development and implementation of social and behavioral science interventions.
  11. Facilitate and/or lead the planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs, policies and interventions.
  12. Integrate principles of social justice and human rights into planning, implementing and assessing public health interventions.
  13. Develop and apply effective health communication strategies with diverse stakeholders.

Careers in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion

Graduates with community and behavioral health master’s degrees work for health nonprofits, community research organizations, hospitals and other jobs with a health education or health programming component. Job growth for health educators, community health workers and health services managers is higher than average, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Young Cho
  • Associate Professor, Community & Behavioral Health Promotion
Paul Florsheim
  • Professor and Program Lead, Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Amy Harley
  • Acting Dean and Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs
Emmanuel Ngui
  • Associate Professor and MPH Director
Lance Weinhardt
  • Associate Dean for Research. Professor, Community & Behavioral Health Promotion
Musa Yahaya
  • Lecturer

Faculty Research Interests

  • Substance abuse risk factors among minority populations.
  • Effective substance abuse intervention and treatment programs.
  • Public health issues relevant to high-risk adolescents.
  • Interpersonal developmental processes related to health and mental health across the lifespan.
  • Physical activity participation, healthy food consumption and subsequently chronic disease prevalence in low-income and racial/ethnic minority communities.
  • Health inequalities in maternal and child health populations.
  • Disparities in obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease with a focus on the role of social determinants of health.
  • Disparities in the neighborhood food environment and in access to healthy and nutritious foods.
  • Developing effective primary and secondary HIV-prevention interventions for resource-poor settings.