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


February Lecture Series: Erin Winstanley, PhD

Visiting Professor
University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine
February 21, 2024
12:00-1:00 PM
Davis Auditorium, UVM Medical Center

March Lecture Series: Cancelled

Many of the VCBH's faculty and trainees will be attending the SRNT annual meeting in Scotland at this time and will not be available for this month's lecture.

Visit the Center on Rural Addiction



VCBH Career Opportunities

Predoctoral & Postdoctoral Research Fellowships. Click here for more information.

Health Care Professional needed to work with a Principal Investigator to deliver prolonged exposure (PE) therapy via telemedicine to research participants. Click here for complete job posting.


VCBH Fellow Selected as Instructor at the University of Illinois-Springfield

June 19, 2020 by Nicole Twohig

Hypatia (Tia) Bolívar, Ph.D., a TCORS postdoctoral fellow, will join the University of Illinois-Springfield as a psychology instructor.

The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH) is delighted to announce that Hypatia (Tia) Bolívar, Ph.D., a TCORS postdoctoral fellow, will join the University of Illinois-Springfield as a psychology instructor. Her position will include teaching and mentoring undergraduate psychology students. 

While at VCBH, Dr. Bolívar assisted in ongoing research on very-low nicotine content cigarettes in vulnerable populations as well as working with her primary advisor, Dr. Diann Gaalema, on examining smoking and non-cigarette tobacco use in patients with cardiovascular disease. She is currently leading a meta-analysis on the effects of contingency management in the treatment of behavioral problems with individuals with opiate use disorder.

“Although my time at VCBH was shorter than I anticipated, my experience has been excellent. I learned a great deal about conducting research with vulnerable populations and am extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn from several esteemed leaders in the field of behavior change,” said Dr. Bolívar.

Dr. Bolívar’s work on smoking in cardiovascular patients resulted in a first-author publication in press at the Journal of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. She is a co-author on two studies examining the effects of smoking on vulnerable populations that are both currently under review.