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 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.
  • 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."