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 13
or PH 759: Intro to Regression for Understanding the SDOH
or SOC WRK 962: Applied Multiple Regression Analysis
PH 704: Principles and Methods of Epidemiology3
PH 801: Seminar in Public Health Research3
PH 819: Social and Environmental Justice in Public Health3
or PH 859: Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities in the United States

CBHP PhD Required Courses (36 credits)

PH 702: Introduction to Biostatistics3
PH 725: Theories and Models of Health Behavior3
PH 727: Program Planning & Implementation in Public Health 3
PH 728: Program Evaluation in Public Health3
PH 729: Survey Research Methods in Public Health3
PH 776: Qualitative Approaches in Public Health Policy and Administration 3
PH 820: Maternal and Child Health Foundations, Policy and Practice3
PH 823: Applied Analysis of Binary Outcomes in Public Health Research 23
PH 826: Principles of Community Intervention Research3
PH 827: Research Design in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion3
PH 831: Community Engagement and Participatory Research Approaches in Public Health3
PH 919: Core Seminar in Community and Behavioral Health Promotion3

Required Advanced Quantitative Courses (three credits)

PH 715: Applied Categorical Data3
PH 716: Applied Survival Analysis3
PH 717: Applied Longitudinal Data Analysis3
SOCIOL 982: Advanced Quantitative Analysis3
ED PSY 823: Structural Equation Modeling3
ED PSY 826: Analysis of Cross-Classified Categorical Data3

CBHP Elective Courses (nine credits)

ANTHRO 744: Theories of Social Action: Understanding Agency & Social Structure3
ANTHRO 803: Survey of Cultural Anthropology3
PH 752: Public Health and Mental Health3
PH 758: Social Epidemiology3
PH 768: Cancer Epidemiology 3
PH 769: Critical Perspectives on Nutritional Epidemiology and the Food System 3
HS 917: Seminar in Health Outcomes Assessment3
SOCIOL 715: Systematic Sociological Theory3
SOCIOL 910: The Sociology of Inequality3
SOCIOL 982: Advanced Quantitative Analysis3
GEOG 834: GIS and Society3
GEOG 926: Advanced Geographic Information Science: Geographic Modeling3
SOC WRK 705: Individual Behavior and Social Welfare3

Pre-Dissertation Research (three credits)

PH 990: Research and Dissertation3

Doctoral Thesis (nine credits)

PH 990: Research and Dissertation9

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.