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Biobehavioral Health Sciences

How can we use what we learn about the lives of patients to improve our ability to care for them?

In the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences we look at physical, psychosocial, and behavioral health from multiple perspectives, including biological, social, political, and historical. 

Finding new solutions

We approach healthcare from all angles, bringing cultural awareness and environmental variables into the patient care discussion. Our teaching methods focus on how biological, behavioral, and sociocultural factors influence health care and patient outcomes.

Biobehavioral Health research is in high demand today and covers such topics as health behaviors, genetics and epigenetics, chronic disease, bioethics, global health, physiological processes, environmental exposures, and health disparities.

Developing healthcare leaders

We mentor and support our community of scholars and strive to develop leaders who use their knowledge to enhance patient care, symptom management, and the health of the public.

Department programs

Nurse Practitioner 


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)


Department News

  • Hodgson Appointed Chair of NIH Committee

    Nancy A. Hodgson, PhD, RN, FAAN , the Anthony Buividas Term Chair in Gerontology and Associate Professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing has been appointed Chair of the Clinical Management of Patients in Community-based Settings (CMPC) Study Section in the Center for Scientific Review of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

  • The Clinical Educator and Autism Advocate

    Penn Nursing’s clinician educators are all about relationships. Through their practice, scholarship, patient care and teaching, they create deep and sustaining connections that inform nursing practice, advance knowledge and enhance care.

  • Effective Interventions for Lifestyle Behaviors

    At a national workshop in Bethesda, Maryland, Heath Schmidt , PhD, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, joined colleagues from the University of Pennsylvania to discuss translating neuroscience, pharmacology, and behavioral science into improved treatments for smoking cessation.