Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences by Public Health Departments in Major Cities

Marybeth Shinn, Nancy Van Devanter, Amy Bleakley, Kathyrn Tannert Niang, Sarah Perl, Neal L. Cohen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Individual behavior and social contexts are critical determinants of health. We surveyed commissioners or their designees in 22 departments of health serving US cities of at least 500,000 people to examine their use of scientific approaches to influence individual behavior and social contexts. Each department used behavioral or social science in its work, but only four departments were judged to have integrated these approaches throughout their operations, using both centralized and decentralized structures. Degree of integration was unrelated to collaboration with universities or communities but was related to use of explicit theories. Behavioral and social sciences were employed most frequently in the areas of HIV/AIDS and maternal and child health and in the service of changing individual behavior rather than larger contexts, although across departments many health problems and approaches were involved. Commissioners generally found the approaches valuable, but articulated barriers to more widespread adoption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-624
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Volume80
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2003

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Behavioral Sciences
behavioral science
Social Sciences
Public Health
public health
social science
Health
health
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
HIV
AIDS
determinants
university
community

Keywords

  • Behavioral science
  • Public health departments
  • Social science

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

Cite this

Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences by Public Health Departments in Major Cities. / Shinn, Marybeth; Van Devanter, Nancy; Bleakley, Amy; Niang, Kathyrn Tannert; Perl, Sarah; Cohen, Neal L.

In: Journal of Urban Health, Vol. 80, No. 4, 12.2003, p. 616-624.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Shinn, Marybeth ; Van Devanter, Nancy ; Bleakley, Amy ; Niang, Kathyrn Tannert ; Perl, Sarah ; Cohen, Neal L. / Use of Social and Behavioral Sciences by Public Health Departments in Major Cities. In: Journal of Urban Health. 2003 ; Vol. 80, No. 4. pp. 616-624.
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