What is Behavioral Medicine?

Behavioral medicine is "the aggregate of the specific educational, scientific, and professional contributions of the disciplines of psychology, biomedical, and social sciences to the promotion and maintenance of health, the prevention and treatment of illness, the identification of etiologic and diagnostic correlates of health, illness, and related dysfunction, and to the analysis and improvement of the health care system and health policy formation."

Joseph Matarazzo, 1982, Oregon Health Sciences University

The Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine (CBPM) is a leading research center in the Lifespan Medical System. Research scientists and their teams work to discover new and improved health promotion and disease management approach, focusing on the role of human behavior in health and disease. We seek to integrate the social, behavioral, and biomedical sciences through clinical, community, and laboratory-based research.

Our Research

The Center's research draws upon the social and behavioral sciences as well as biomedical and public health sciences to address the leading lifestyle causes of disease burden and death. Our research portfolio includes both primary prevention (e.g., tobacco cessation, weight management, physical activity) and chronic disease management. We develop, implement, and evaluate interventions to reduce health risks, promote active participation in medical care, and enhance quality of life. We work with healthy volunteers as well as people living with a chronic illness or condition, such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes, or HIV.

Our research scientists conduct both basic and applied research. The basic research seeks to discover the mechanisms underlying behavioral factors in health and illness (e.g., examining the stress response among children and adolescents). Applied research seeks to translate these discoveries for clinical and public health improvement. Research scientists at the Center represent a range of academic disciplines, including clinical, health, and social psychology, medical anthropology, epidemiology, medicine, and biostatistics. All research scientists are faculty at Brown University and work closely with undergraduate and graduate students as well as clinical residents and postdoctoral fellows.

History of the Center

In 1976, the Division of Behavioral Medicine was founded at The Miriam Hospital and in 1990, the Center was established as the home for behavioral and preventive medicine research at the hospital. The Center continued to flourish and, in 1998, the Center was designated as the official site for behavioral and preventive medicine research at Brown University and the Lifespan Academic Medical Center.

Growth and Reputation

Over the past 30 years, the Center has enjoyed sustained growth. The Center has generated a cumulative total of well over $100 million in external research revenue support since its creation. Research scientists and their dedicated research teams have allowed the Center to earn a national and international reputation as leaders in the field.

The Center Today

For Fiscal Year 2019, CBPM employed 14 research scientists, 6 full-time administrative staff, and approximately 30 grant-supported research staff with research expenditures of approximately $5M. The day-to-day work of the center provides research scientists, trainees and staff the opportunity to live up to a critical mission:

  • To conduct innovative research involving interdisciplinary, biobehavioral approaches to the etiology, prevention, and treatment of disease.
  • To serve as the focal point for training, mentoring, and educating in behavioral and preventive medicine at The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.
  • To foster a professional community where individuals of all races, ethnicities, ages, sexes, gender identities, sexual orientations, abilities, religious beliefs, national origins or any other characteristic or identity belong and are valued.
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Center for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine
Coro Center West
1 Hoppin Street
Providence, RI 02903
Suite 309
1 Hoppin Street
Providence, RI 02903