HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE WEBSITE INFORMATION

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1 WHAT IS HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE? HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE WEBSITE INFORMATION Health Behavior Science majors explore and analyze how human actions, cognitions, communications, and environment affect health, relationships, chronic disease, and quality of life across the lifespan. More specifically they work to promote healthy lifestyles through education, policy change, assessing needs, developing and implementing programs, counseling and coaching individuals, creating media and materials, and evaluating the impact and outcome of their efforts. As medical costs skyrocket, it has become clear that the health of individual Americans has an effect on society as a whole. The cost of treating preventable conditions is passed on to everyone via increased taxes and health insurance premiums. Health behavior science majors and health promotion professionals emphasize improvements in: Diet Exercise Positive Attitudes and Behavior Stress Management This may seem simplistic, but students who take on health behavior science as a career become intimately familiar with the intricacies of physical and mental health, and the challenges of motivating individuals, communities, and societies toward health improvements. Students majoring in health behavior science have a strong interest in health issues, education, business, and behavior change. WHAT DOES A HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE PROFESSIONAL DO? Health Behavior Science professionals work within a variety of settings and among a diversity of population groups. Within medical facilities they work one-on-one with patients or families, or engage in efforts to reach out to a community or at-risk population. Within college settings they work to promote student health via resident life, recreation and health programs, or counseling and educational programs. In public health settings they work primarily with local and state public health departments, and often serve on statewide councils or national committees that address specific health issues. In non-profits, they work to address the health issues of interest to the organization via program development, needs assessment, marketing and communication, and community outreach. Within worksites they work in wellness or worksite health promotion programs, medical offices, and employee assistance programs. Due to their skills and training, health behavior science majors also work well in health-related businesses that provide a specific product or service. In this capacity, marketing and market research, or delivery of a specific service is common.

2 Issues that health behavior science majors address include: Obstetrics Tobacco HIV/AIDS and Sexual Health Heart Disease Obesity Diabetes Teenage Pregnancy Bone Disease Personal Fitness Maternal and Child Health Global Health Mental Health Drug and Alcohol Abuse The particulars of this career depend on your chosen specialty. Many positions require professionals to perform some or all of the following tasks: Planning health promotion and education activities Conducting workshops, training sessions, and courses on health concerns Identifying target populations for health behavior interventions Developing and implementing public media or social marketing campaigns Conducting pre-program and post-program surveys Providing screening services for individuals Conducting program evaluations to determine impact and effectiveness Coaching or counseling individuals so that they can obtain optimal health KEY SKILLS Presentation and Writing skills--must develop the ability to express their knowledge, research, or opinions in a clear, concise, and engaging manner Critical thinking and problem solving--must be able to see patterns that emerge in individual behavior, as well as among population groups, and identify those factors that are contributing to illness or health. Project management skills--must learn to coordinate efforts of other health professionals, researchers, or agencies to effectively implement programs Interpersonal communication skills--must be able to communicate, educate, and motivate others through the communication with individuals and groups. Data analysis skills--must be able to utilize math and statistics to analyze data sets to determine what is causing a behavior or health outcome, or to determine the impact of a program, or to determine the health needs of individuals and communities.

3 Understanding of dynamic development--health behavior science majors examine how people and groups grow and change over time. They learn to apply theories to understand the behavioral choices people make, as well as to guide their efforts to promote health and reduce disease. Health knowledge--must understand mechanisms for achieving optimal health, as well as mechanisms that lead to chronic disease. Other Key Skills Include: Assessing individual and community needs Planning and developing health promotion programs Implementing health promotion programs Managing programs and personnel Evaluating health promotion programs Acting to change health policies Building coalitions Identifying resources and making referrals Developing audio, visual, electronic, Internet, and print materials WHAT COURSES ARE WITHIN THE HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE MAJOR? Personal Health Management Anatomy and Physiology Health Behavior Theory and Assessment Nutritional Concepts Nutrition and Activity Behavior Change Strategies Physical Activity Behavior Development of Health Promotion Programs Research Methods and Statistics for Health Behavior Sciences Health Behavior Science Internship PERSONNEL QUALITIES OF A SUCCESSFUL HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE PROFESSIONAL When you embark on a degree path as health behavior science you should consider whether your personal qualities are suited for this career. Some important questions to ask yourself are: Do I like working with people? Do I work well with others in a collaborative manner for a single purpose? Am I interested in how we use and care for our bodies? Am I interested in working as an educator, researcher, or manager? Would I consider myself a "people person"? Do I care if people are healthy?

4 Am I concerned about how people eat, exercise, act or think as it relates to their well-being? Am I interested in helping people improve their health and quality of life? Am I concerned about how our environment can impact our individual and societal health? If you answered yes to the above questions, than Health Behavior Science, and Health Promotion is a good fit for you. WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH A DEGREE IN HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE? EXAMPLE JOBS AND TITLES Wellness Program Coordinator Community Health Educator Case Manager Specialist Program Coordinator Community Resource Educator Health Promotion Coordinator Cancer Community Educator Health Fitness Specialist Health Coach Health Educator Manager Health and Wellness Health Promotion Manager Health Promotion Director Worksite Health Specialist Risk Reduction Program Coordinator Account Manager Director/Program Promotions Event Coordinator Instructor/Teacher Marketing Representative Marketing Services Coordinator Market Researcher Social Marketing Professional Operations Coordinator/Manager Health Policy Analyst Public Health Professional Epidemiologist Exercise Specialist Project Director Nutritionist SAMPLE WORK SETTINGS Alternative Health Care Center Assisted Living Facility Birthing Center Chiropractic Office Community Centers Dance Studio Dentist Office Hospitals Health Insurance Company International Health Organization Mental Health Facility Non-Profit Organization Nursing Care Facility Pharmaceutical Sales Industry Pharmacy Private Health Clinic Public Health Agencies Rehabilitation Institutes Research Center Spa/Health/Fitness Club Substance Abuse Clinic University/College Health Center

5 Youth Center Multiple Private Health Product/Service Businesses GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS Air Force Medical Services Army Medical Department Center for Disease Control and Prevention Consumer Product Safety Commission Department of Agriculture Department of Labor Department of Social Services Department of Veteran Affairs National Institutes of Health Occupational Safety and Health Administration Office of Personnel Management Employee Health Programs Office of Public Health and Science Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Health Affairs) Office of the Surgeon General State and Territorial Health Departments U.S. Department of Health and Human Services LINKS TO HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE JOBS AND CAREER OPPORTUNITIES Public Health Partners: National Strength and Conditioning Association: National Mental Health Association: Society for Public Health Education: American Public Health Association Career Site: Center for Disease Control and Prevention: Chronicle Careers: Coalitions for Health Communication Job Postings: Health and Wellness Jobs: Health Career Web: Healthcare Jobs: Health Promotion Career.Net: Idealist.Org: Wellness Connection: CAREER POTENTIAL United States Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects behavioral science careers will grow by about 10% through the year As more behavioral scientists demystify their work, many more businesses and organizations will carve out room in their budgets to explore ways that they

6 can help them achieve their goals. Others predict expected growth by 18% through Growth is being primarily driven by the rising cost of health care. PREPARING FOR UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE--HEALTH BEHAVIOR SCIENCE In your junior or senior year, take the SAT and have your scores sent to the University of Delaware You will have to take courses in most of the subjects under the university core curriculum required of all undergraduates, in addition to your major courses. Talk with your high school counselor about preparing for college, including the entrance exams (SAT) that you should take during your junior year. In your senior year, submit your application for admission by March 1 (apply online at and request that your high school transcript be sent to the UD admissions office. Advanced Placement courses can count toward college credit at UD. For details, visit... HOW TO PICK A MINOR Within the Health Behavior Science major students are required to complete a minor. Minors provide an opportunity to specialize in a specific discipline related to the major, AND position you better for jobs within the field of health behavior science. Options include: Business Administration Coaching Science Disability Studies Entrepreneurial Studies Leisure Service Management Nutrition Psychology Strength and Conditioning Your choice of minor will depend on what your career goals and aspirations are. Your academic advisor can help you make this choice during your first or second year of college. CHARTING YOUR PATH THROUGH ACADEMIC ADVISING Behavioral Health and Nutrition faculty members will help you each semester to select the courses you will need to take to obtain your degree and achieve your career goals. You should meet with a faculty member (who you will be assigned to once accepted into the major) each semester. If you are not in the major and wish to talk to someone about the program please contact Sue Coffing at or

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