Research, Education, Community
The VCBH resides within the College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, with the director and administrative offices being located within the Department of Psychiatry. Participating investigators, collaborators, and advisors represent multiple academic departments in the College of Medicine and four colleges within UVM as well as three other universities (Brown, Johns Hopkins and Kentucky). The VCBH is further strengthened by interdisciplinary collaborations with key community healthcare leaders and distinguished scientific advisory panels.
The focus of the VCBH is on investigating relationships between personal behaviors and risk for chronic disease and premature death, with a specific focus on understanding mechanisms underpinning risk, and developing effective interventions and policies to promote healthy behavior. A common thread across VCBH research projects is the application of knowledge from the disciplines of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology to: (a) increase understanding of vulnerability to unhealthy behavior, and (b) the use of incentives and other behavioral and pharmacological interventions to support healthy behavior change interventions and policies.
The contribution of socioeconomic factors to vulnerability and the need for interventions and policies to promote health and reduce disparities in disadvantaged populations is an overarching VCBH focus. To our knowledge, the VCBH is the only NIH-funded center that is applying the disciplines of behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology to tackling these enormous, interrelated U.S. public health challenges.