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Behavioral and Community Health (BCH) Concentration

Behavioral and Community Health

MISSION: The PhD track in Behavioral and Community Health is uniquely crafted to train students in leadership and community-based participation, in the domains of healthcare and health policy. This program is designed to meet the aspirations of students seeking to create change in the intersection of healthcare, policy, and the social experience. Fundamentally participatory in nature, this PhD track expects students not only to become proficient in research and theory, but also to acquire the tools and experience to apply theory to practice. This program establishes the necessary intellectual framework to understand community-based leadership, and then provides the opportunities to exercise it, professionally and personally.

The BCH track and is designed for social scientists, behavioral scientists, community health researchers, clinicians, community organizers, and health policy specialists. This track will develop proficiency in various research methods, both qualitative and quantitative in nature. Particular emphasis will be given to translating theory to practice and understanding the applied nature of policy measures. The BCH track will provide students with proficiency in policy evaluation, community intervention, leadership development, community engagement, and community-based participatory research.

Students in the BCH track will understand the intersection of health, policy, and society, and the shared relationship among them. In the shifting healthcare environment, attention will be given to marginalized groups, like immigrants, those of racial minority, those with disability, those of lower socioeconomic status, and others. It is expected that graduates of the BCH track will be trained to be experts in community leadership, policy analysis, grass roots mobilization, and community health.

OBJECTIVES: the objectives of the PhD track in Behavioral and Community Health are:

  • To train students in the practice and exercise of leadership in community health;
  • To provide students with the analytical and methodological framework to research behavioral and community health questions;
  • To expose students to the policymaking process, and how matters of public policy are internalized by diverse communities;
  • To engage students in opportunities to exercise leadership skills in public health challenges.

By the completion of this program, students are expected to be able to:

  • Apply fundamentals of leadership to public and community health challenges;
  • Understand community dynamics and how to address them;
  • Become effective change agents in healthcare;
  • Create relationships with diverse communities;
  • Communicate a clear mission, measurable goals, and mechanisms of action for community health issues;
  • Understand the application of public policy to the social experience;
  • Engage community members in issues of health policy.

INSTITUTIONAL SUPPORT

Stony Brook University's Behavioral and Community Health Track is ideally situated in the Stony Brook University School of Health Technology and Management, which is home to experts in such disciplines as occupational therapy, physical therapy, health care policy and management, and disability studies. However, this program and incorporates the expertise of a variety of disciplines, including public health, social welfare, and medical ethics. All housed in Stony Brook University's Health Sciences Center, these areas of academic inquiry dovetail seamlessly with the mission of the Behavioral and Community Health track.

What sets this program apart from many others in the field is Stony Brook University's emerging Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development. The purpose of this center is to provide the formal mechanism by which future leaders in community health can collaborate with community members and underserved groups. This center will bring together representatives from diverse communities across Long Island and elsewhere, to help address the challenges that community members face, and it will allow students to engage directly with community members in a highly integrated way. Through this Center, students and community members will work together to understand how matters of policy are internalized, understood, embraced, and acted upon by diverse groups. Additionally, it will allow students and faculty members to devise measures to assist community members in aligning traditions and values with policy objectives, and to ensure that policy objectives meet social needs. Finally, this center will provide the vehicle by which underserved communities and social groups can exercise leadership, build their social capital, and invest in their future.

The Center for Community Engagement and Leadership Development provides a unique opportunity for students in the Behavioral and Community Health track to apply knowledge to practice. This Center will allow for the critical translational side of the educational experience, bringing together diverse communities who will most greatly benefit form students' work.