Center for Health Behavior Research

The Center for Health Behavior Research (CHBR) tracks the development and progression of health-related behaviors, and develops and tests programs to improve health and social behaviors. As the CHBR builds evidence about what approaches succeed in improving these behaviors, it shares these best approaches with communities and researchers across the country.

The leading causes of death and disability are primarily the result of behavioral risk factors. Society can make major progress in reducing premature death and improving quality of life by changing everyday behaviors such as diet, tobacco use, and low physical activity.

CHBR is part of the Institute for Health Research and Policy housed at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The center works with more than 100 community-based organizations, nonprofit service-oriented organizations, health care providers, schools and public health departments. View our list of partners

Robin Mermelstein, IHRP director, professor of psychology, and clinical professor of community health sciences, directs this center.

Researchers in CHBR aim to:

  • Identify the predictors of smoking patterns by tracking the smoking experiences of 1,200 adolescents over ten years and evaluating their risk factors, including possible genetic markers for smoking. [more]
  • Find approaches to prevent the recurrence or progression of prostate cancer by tracking 400 men diagnosed with early-stage prostate cancer, studying their medical treatment and lifestyles, and conducting biochemical and molecular studies of their tumors and surrounding fat tissue. [more]
  • Foster positive social development of kids by testing in Chicago Public Schools a curriculum designed to reduce problem behaviors and academic underachievement and tracking the program’s effects on more than 500 students. [more]
  • Promote the use of evidence-based tobacco treatment by providing a free toolkit to evaluate smoking cessation programs for youth. [more]

As part of the University of Illinois at Chicago, CHBR nurtures and supports the development of researchers through all stages of their careers.