Preventive Medicine Special Issues

PM Special Issue Cover

The November 2017 Special Issue of Preventive Medicine (PM) is the fourth in a series that focuses on behavior change, health, and health disparities. Contributors to these Special Issues are selected from participants in the VCBH's Annual Conference on Behavior Change, Health, and Health Disparities. 

The topics covered in the Special Issue are of critical importance to improving U.S. population health. There is broad scientific consensus that vulnerable populations are at a significantly higher risk for poor health outcomes due to an increase in tobacco use. Vulnerable medical populations, like those diagnosed with diabetes or heart disease, also present with higher rates of obesity. Personal behaviors such as tobacco use and physical inactivity/obesity are among the most important modifiable causes of chronic disease and its adverse impacts on population health. Hence, effectively promoting health-related behavior change needs to be a key component of health care research and policy. Additionally, the potential health impacts of llegalizing recreational marijuana use is arguably one of the most controversial public health issues to date. It is important these implications be considered using the best available scientific evidence.

Preventive Medicine Fourth Special Issue, November 2017

           To share the latest research in effectively addressing and managing these problems, Stephen T. Higgins, Ph.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Director of the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH) at The Robert Larner, M.D. College of Medicine at The University of Vermont, collaborated with experts on a fourth annual Special Issue of the journal Preventive Medicine, titled “Behavior change, health, and health disparities.” 

            “The U.S. ranks near the bottom on measures of population health relative to other industrialized countries despite spending orders of magnitude more on health care than any other nation.” Higgins writes in his introduction. “Population health experts agree that the area of personal behavior, or lifestyle, such as substance abuse, physical inactivity/obesity, and non-adherence with medical regimens is the single largest contributor to this situation.”

            The takeaway, explains Higgins, is that, "behavior change represents an essential step in improving population health generally and curtailing health disparities more specifically."

            The Special Issue features 22 scientific papers about leveraging behavioral science.

Articles on the topic of potential health impacts of legalizing recreational marijuana use include:

 Articles on the topic of tobacco use in vulnerable populations include:

 Articles on the weight management and physical activity in vulnerable medical populations include:

Contributors to the Special Issue are selected from participants in the 2016 Annual Conference on Behavior Change, Health, and Health Disparities organized by the VCBH.

Special Issue: Behavior Change, Health, and Health Disparities

November 2016

Volume 89, Supplement, Pages 1-182

Edited by Stephen T. Higgins



Special Issue: Behavior Change, Health, and Health Disparities

November 2015

Volume 80, Supplement, Pages 1-106 

Edited by Stephen T. Higgins



Special Issue: Behavior Change, Health, and Health Disparities

November 2014

Volume 68, Supplement, Pages S1-S80

Edited by Stephen T. Higgins


Supplemental Issue on Incentives and Health

November 2012

Volume 55, Supplement, Pages S1-S124 (1 November 2012) Incentives on Health

Edited by Stephen T. Higgins, Kenneth Silverman, Stacey C. Sigmon and Neal A. Naito