The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH), led by Director Stephen T. Higgins, PhD, is an interdisciplinary research center committed to investigating relationships between personal behavior patterns (i.e., lifestyle) and risk for chronic disease and premature death. Our work has historically focused on health disparities for the most vulnerable populations, particularly among the socioeconomically disadvantaged where these risk factors are overrepresented.


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Located in Burlington, VT at the University of Vermont, Larner College of Medicine, VCBH researchers have 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 increase understanding of vulnerability to unhealthy behavior and the use of incentives and other behavioral and pharmacological interventions to support healthy behavior change interventions and policies.

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Upcoming VCBH Events

Monthly Lecture Series

"Mammography Screening Utilization in Vermont and Beyond: Long-Term Trends and COVID-19 Impacts"
Brian Sprague, PhD
February 15, 2023
Davis Auditorium, UVM Medical Center

"Exercise in Acute Care Patient Populations: Hard to Do but Worth the Effort"
Michael Toth, PhD
March 15, 2023
Davis Auditorium, UVM Medical Center

"Health Literary in Cardiovascular Rehab: Bridging Gaps for Better Health Outcomes"
Paul Oh, PhD
April 19, 2023
Davis Auditorium, UVM Medical Center

"Changing the Default: Moving to an Opt Out Approach for Treating Tobacco Use Disorders"
Kimber Richer, PhD
May 17, 2023
Davis Auditorium, UVM Medical Center

View videos and slides from our FY23 series
on our FY23 Archives Page.


Visit the Center on Rural Addiction



VCBH Career Opportunities

Check back soon for openings.

VCBH has multiple postdoctoral openings with Dr. Sarah Heil.

Visit our Career Opportunities page to learn more about open positions and how to apply.



  • Project Leader Sherrie Khadanga, MD Receives Inaugural Award
    VCBH Project Leader Sherrie Khadanga, MD received the inaugural Wohlgemuth Fellowship Award in March for her proposed study titled “Remote Smoking Cessation in Hospitalized Cardiac Patients: Bridging the Post-discharge Care Gap.”
  • VCBH Presents Preventive Medicine Ninth Special Issue, November 2022
    The November 2022 Special Issue of Preventive Medicine is now available. The ninth in a series that focuses on behavior change, health, and health disparities, this issue includes select research in the field of tobacco control and regulatory science. VCBH Director Stephen Higgins, PhD organized the selection of papers and acted as guest editor.
  • PTSD and OUD Study Highlighted in News
    This month, local news affiliate WCAX interviewed VCBH Project Leader and Assistant Professor Kelly Peck, PhD about his prolonged exposure therapy (PET) study that examines cognitive behavioral therapy treatment for PTSD in people currently receiving buprenorphine or methadone medication maintenance.
  • Innovative Approaches Hold Promise for Improving Rural Health Across Region
    Located in a rural state with a population among the oldest in the nation, the Larner College of Medicine has long been committed to finding innovative ways to provide and improve access to health care for not only the elderly, but also all residents, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. Several research initiatives at the college focus on new approaches to help patients in these regions.
  • VCBH Working on Low Nicotine Studies
    VCBH Director Stephen Higgins was interviewed by CBS affiliate WCAX about the center's current research examining "how lowering nicotine levels in cigarettes and e-cigarettes affect people’s need to smoke."