The Vermont Center on Behavior and Health (VCBH), established in 2013, is a research unit of the Department of Psychiatry that studies the relationships between unhealthy behavior patterns (e.g., substance abuse, physical activity, unhealthy food choices, non-adherence with recommended medical regimens) and risk for chronic disease and premature death. Through behavioral economics and behavioral pharmacology, we aim to understand the mechanisms underpinning vulnerability to unhealthy behavior patterns and develop effective behavior-change interventions.

Research includes both clinical research on behavioral and pharmacological treatments  for substance use disorders, especially opioids and nicotine, and human laboratory research on the behavioral effects of abused drugs.

Funding Sources

Major sources of research funding are the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the National Institute on General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). All of these sources can be used to support medical psychology graduate training. The VCBH offers a well-established, multi-faceted training program supported by a NIDA T32 training grant  and a NIDA/FDA Tobacco Centers of Regulatory Science (TCORS) center grant. These training programs support a combined 8 postdoctoral fellowships and 8 predoctoral fellowships. 

Path to a Ph.D.

Predoctoral fellows typically are full-time graduate students in the UVM Department of Psychological Science. The VCBH is fully integrated with the department, with faculty holding joint appointments in the Departments of Psychiatry and Psychological Science. The training period will be 4 to 5 years resulting in a Ph.D. in general/experimental or clinical psychology. Applicants must have completed their undergraduate degree in psychology, behavior analysis, or a related discipline. Trainees are selected on the basis of scholastic record and commitment to a career in substance abuse research. Stipend, tuition, health care coverage, and travel funds provided by NIH Institutional Training Awards.