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Zilber School students at the Hunger Taskforce Farm

Students in our community and behavioral health doctorate program are trained at the graduate level in health promotion and behavior change from a public health perspective.

Focal areas of coursework and research include maternal, infant and child health, adolescent health, teen parents, health disparities, obesity, nutrition, food security, HIV and STDs, adolescent health, substance abuse, mental health and built environment. 

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Spotlight on Research

African-American babies in Milwaukee are three times more likely to die before their first birthday than white babies. It’s a fact that’s remained stubbornly resistant to change, despite widespread community efforts.

Emmanuel Ngui, associate professor in community and behavioral health promotion, is working to improve those numbers. He says social determinants – poverty, lack of jobs, discrimination, lack of access to health care – are underlying factors that make it hard to move the needle on infant mortality rates. Within that context, though, he’s focused much of his work on one particular piece of the effort – looking at the impact of African-American fathers on maternal and child health.

Emmanuel Ngui
Emmanuel Ngui is committed to lowering infant mortality rates

Students in the PhD in community and behavioral health promotion program gain experience and exposure in key areas of public health (environmental health, epidemiology, biostatistics, and policy and administration), which allows them to be integrated into the broader public health profession upon graduation.

Public Health PhD: Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

A minimum of 72 credits of coursework beyond the bachelor’s level must be completed to earn the degree, at least 35 of which must be earned in residence at UW-Milwaukee. The course list consists of required common Ph.D. core courses, CBHP core courses, research and methods courses, and elective courses. Also, students will be required to complete three credits of supervised research under the tutelage of the primary advisor prior to the required dissertation research requirement. This is to ensure that all students obtain hands-on, supervised research training. After achieving dissertation status, students will enroll in three research credits per semester for at least two semesters.

Required Core PhD Courses (12 credits)

PH 711: Intermediate Biostatistics 1 (3 credits)
PH 759: Intro to Regression for Understanding the SDOH (3 credits)
SOC WRK 962: Applied Multiple Regression Analysis (3 credits)
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 801: Seminar in Public Health Research (3 credits)
PH 819: Social and Environmental Justice in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 859: Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities in the United States (3 credits)

CBHP PhD Required Courses (36 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics (3 credits)
PH 725: Theories and Models of Health Behavior (3 credits)
PH 727: Program Planning & Implementation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 776: Qualitative Approaches in Public Health Policy and Administration (3 credits)
PH 820: Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice (3 credits)
PH 823: Applied Analysis of Binary Outcomes in Public Health Research 2 (3 credits)
PH 826: Principles of Community Intervention Research (3 credits)
PH 827: Research Design in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion (3 credits)
PH 831: Community Engagement and Participatory Research Approaches in Public Health (3 credits)
PH 919: Core Seminar in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion (3 credits)

Required Advanced Quantitative Courses (three credits)

PH 715: Applied Categorical Data (3 credits)
PH 716: Applied Survival Analysis (3 credits)
PH 717: Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis (3 credits)
SOCIOL 982: Advanced Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
ED PSY 823: Structural Equation Modeling (3 credits)
ED PSY 826: Analysis of Cross-Classified Categorical Data (3 credits)

CBHP Elective Courses (nine credits)

ANTHRO 744: Theories of Social Action: Understanding Agency & Social Structure (3 credits)
ANTHRO 803: Survey of Cultural Anthropology (3 credits)
PH 752: Public Health and Mental Health (3 credits)
PH 758: Social Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 768: Cancer Epidemiology (3 credits)
PH 769: Critical Perspectives on Nutritional Epidemiology and the Food System (3 credits)
HS 917: Seminar in Health Outcomes Assessment (3 credits)
SOCIOL 715: Systematic Sociological Theory (3 credits)
SOCIOL 910: The Sociology of Inequality (3 credits)
SOCIOL 982: Advanced Quantitative Analysis (3 credits)
GEOG 834: GIS and Society (3 credits)
GEOG 926: Advanced Geographic Information Science: Geographic Modeling (3 credits)
SOC WRK 705: Individual Behavior and Social Welfare (3 credits)

Pre-Dissertation Research (three credits)

PH 990: Research and Dissertation (3 credits)

Doctoral Thesis (nine credits)

PH 990: Research and Dissertation (9 credits)

Total Credits (72) Please note: All courses subject to change. Please consult the Academic Catalog for the most up-to-date information.

Community and Behavioral Health Doctorate Competencies

PhD Core Competencies

  1. Formulate and test a hypothesis using basic statistical methods.
  2. Apply statistical inference to guide research decision-making relevant to public health problems and issues.
  3. Critically evaluate scientific literature and identify how epidemiological and population health data can be used to answer research questions and inform program development and policy decisions aimed at promoting health equity.
  4. Demonstrate critical thinking skills necessary for formulating research questions, identifying theory to frame research questions, and identify and employ appropriate methodologies for addressing a public health research question.
  5. Apply social and environmental justice framework when asking and addressing research questions impacting the public’s health.

Community and Behavioral Health Program Competencies

  1. Describe and critically evaluate the utility of key social and behavioral science theories for public health research.
  2. Design and implement theory driven community and behavioral health promotion research.
  3. Apply social and environmental justice philosophies, theories, and frameworks to public health research and the interpretation of research findings
  4. Describe the social-political-historical contexts that have shaped the development of community engaged research including community based participatory approaches
  5. Describe the contributions of community engaged approaches to community and behavioral health research and interventions
  6. Critically appraise different methodological strategies in developing and implementing community engaged research
  7. Apply qualitative and advanced quantitative methods to the study of public health problems, the assessment of community strengths and the evaluation of prevention and intervention programs.
  8. Use research findings to advocate for policies, programs, and resources that improve the health of communities.
  9. Demonstrate respect for the integrity and perspectives of others in all professional contexts
  10. Demonstrate an advanced understanding of how to manage ethical issues in community and behavioral health research and practice

Careers in Community & Behavioral Health Promotion

Studying public health at UW-Milwaukee allows for opportunities to apply doctoral research to real-world settings. Community and behavioral health doctorate graduates will be well-prepared scientist-practitioners, able to lead interdisciplinary research and work with a range of communities on our most pressing population health issues. Demand for public health professionals is high in local, state and federal government, academia, and within non-governmental and community-based organizations across the United States and around the world. This PhD program prepares students to work in these sectors and more.

Young Cho
  • Associate Professor, Community & Behavioral Health Promotion
Paul Florsheim
  • Professor and Program Lead, Community and Behavioral Health Promotion, Licensed Clinical Psychologist
Amy Harley
  • Interim 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

Community and Behavioral Health Doctorate Faculty Expertise

  • 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.