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.


VCBH logo

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.

Stay Connected with VCBH

Join our mailing list to get the latest
on news and events.

Follow us on our social media channels

Twitter icon circle Facebook icon circle LinkedIn icon YouTube Icon  

Visit the Center on Rural Addiction



Upcoming VCBH Events

Monthly Lecture Series
View videos and slides from our FY22 series
on our FY22 Archives Page.

We'll be back on September 21, 2022 for our new series with Dr. Steven Shoptaw from UCLA.


VCBH Career Opportunities

Check back soon for openings.

VCBH has one postdoctoral opening with Dr. Sarah Heil.

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



  • Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Finds Improvement for Those Receiving Medication for Opioid Use Disorder When Contingency Management Used
    A systematic review and meta-analysis of “Contingency Management for Patients Receiving Medication for Opioid Use Disorder” and accompanying podcast appear today in JAMA Psychiatry. Led by the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH) at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, the podcast features VCBH Director Stephen T. Higgins, PhD discussing the examination, completed by first author Hypatia Bolívar, PhD and the VCBH team, of the utility of the behavioral intervention contingency management (CM) for addressing key clinical problems common among patients enrolled in MOUD.
  • Co-locating Contraceptive Services with Opioid Treatment Programs Offers Cost-Effective Approach to Preventing Unintended Pregnancy
    The trial, led by Sarah Heil, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry at the Vermont Center on Behavior and Health at the University of Vermont’s Larner College of Medicine, tested a novel two-component intervention informed by behavioral economics that combined contraceptive services co-located with an opioid treatment program with financial incentives for attending follow-up visits in an effort to increase initiation and continuation of prescription contraceptive use
  • Phil Ades, MD Receives Distinguished Mentor Award
    On Friday, June 11, 2021, Phil Ades, MD, associate director of VCBH and director of cardiac rehabilitation in the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at the UVM Medical Center, received the UVM Larner College of Medicine's Department of Medicine’s Distinguished Mentor Award.
  • More States Looking at COVID-19 Vaccine Incentive Programs
    As the US begins to see demand for COVID-19 vaccines plateau, some states have started implementing incentive programs to encourage residents to get one of the three vaccines available: Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson. Recently announced incentive programs are supported by numerous research studies that support the efficacy of incentivizing vaccine adherence.
  • Biden-Harris Administration Announce Drug Policy Priorities Including Focus on Contingency Management and Reimbursement
    On April 1st, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced the Biden-Harris Administration’s drug policy priorities (PDF) for year one. Priority one is an expansion of access to evidence-based treatment, which includes identifying and addressing “policy barriers related to contingency management interventions (motivational incentives) for stimulant use disorder” as well as exploring “reimbursement for motivational incentives and digital treatment for addiction, especially stimulant use disorder.”