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

VCBH 11th Annual Conference
"Smoking and Other Tobacco Use Among Women and Girls"
October 5-6, 2023
Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain
More Information

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


Visit the Center on Rural Addiction



VCBH Career Opportunities

Check back soon for openings.


  • 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 Director Gives Plenary Lecture at Brown University School of Public Health
    Stephen Higgins, PhD, Director of the VCBH, presented a plenary lecture at Brown University School of Public Health on November 4, 2022. The presentation, "Leveraging the Reinforcement Process to Improve Health," is now available for viewing on YouTube.
  • Contingency Management and Addiction Recovery
    On September 7, 2022, AP News published "Candy, cash, gifts: How rewards help recovery from addiction," an inside look at how contingency management (CM), an evidence-based therapy rooted in behavioral economics that provides incentives or rewards for a desired behavior, is gaining support across the country and with the federal government. VCBH Director Stephen Higgins contributed to the story.
  • 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."
  • Financial Incentives Delivered via App Show Positive Outcomes for Pregnant Smokers
    A new study, led by researchers and colleagues at the Vermont Center of Behavior and Health, published in JAMA Network OPEN found that using a smartphone app (DynamiCare Health Inc) that monitored smoking and delivered incentives to participants’ debit cards, showed promise in achieving similar results to clinic-based best practices with financial incentives.