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Health Psychology Concentration


The health psychology concentration is available to UK Psychology doctoral students in any lab in any of the three psychology areas (Clinical; Cognitive Neuroscience; and Developmental, Social, and Health). Note: Students in the DSH area are not required to complete the health psychology concentration, nor are students pursuing the concentration required to be in the DSH area.

The discipline of health psychology focuses on the interactions among psychology, behavior, and physical health.  Topics in health psychology include, but are not limited to: health behavior performance and change; psychophysiology, psychoneuroendocrinology, and psychoneuroimmunology; treatment interventions in multidisciplinary or interprofessional healthcare settings; and psychological adjustment to chronic disease and other health conditions.  Health psychologists often engage in clinical and academic research and are important clinical team members in medical and other healthcare settings (e.g., rehabilitation hospitals, VA medical centers).

The goal of the UK health psychology concentration is to provide a training emphasis in health psychology that, along with the core training provided by the student’s major area of study, leads to the knowledge and applied competencies associated with being a health psychologist.

Academic requirements: 4 courses (12 credit hours), which include 2 core courses, 1 elective course, and 1 allied discipline course.  

Core Courses:

PSY 626/BSC 626:  Survey of Health Psychology

PSY 627/PGY 627:  Proseminar in Physiological Psychology

Elective Courses: Elective courses are offered in the Department of Psychology and the Department of Behavioral Science in the College of Medicine. Examples of elective courses include:

BSC 760:  Aging, Health, and Decision-Making

BSC 770:  Psychosocial Issues in Health and Aging

BSC 773:  Psychosocial Oncology

BSC 778:  Behavioral Factors in Selected Diseases

BSC 779:  Behavioral Factors in Death and Dying

PSY 710:  Psychoneuroimmunology

Allied Discipline Courses: Exposure to an allied discipline can be met through courses offered in the College of Public Health (CPH; Epidemiology; Health, Behavior, and Society; Gerontology) and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Promotion.  Students with the appropriate preparation may also meet this requirement through courses offered in the Departments of Physiology, Microbiology and Immunology, and Anatomy and Neurobiology.  Examples of Allied Discipline courses include:

CPH 600:  Health Services and Systems Organization

CPH 601:  Environmental Health

CPH 604:  Foundations of Health Behavior

CPH 605:  Epidemiology

CPH 640:  Women’s Health

CPH 644:  Rural Health Disparities

CPH 648:  Eliminating Health Disparities

CPH 740:  Introduction to Maternal and Child Health

CPH 961:  Study of the Older Person

GRN 612:  Biology of Aging

GRN 731:  Elder Mistreatment

GRN 772:  Aging and the Life Course

GRN 773:  Ethics and Aging

KHP 547:  Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity

KHP 602:  Promoting Physical Activity for Youth

KHP 609:  Health Coaching

KHP 673:  Health Promotion and Behavior Change

KHP 674:  Foundations of Health Promotion

KHP 678:  Sexual Health Promotion

Research requirements: At least one research project in health psychology must be completed for the concentration. Thesis and dissertation research or an independent research project may be used to fulfill this requirement. A proposal for a project to meet this requirement should be submitted to and approved by one of the Health Psychology Core Faculty before undertaking the project. A final copy of the project should be provided to the coordinator. If the project is a thesis or dissertation, a member of the core faculty should be on the student’s committee.

Clinical requirements: Clinical students must also complete 2 different placements in relevant* clinical practica, with a minimum total of 500 training hours.

*“At least 50% of clinical service delivery with health-related issues of patient, family members, and/or interprofessional care teams.” (APA Division 38)

Examples of relevant clinical practica include:

UK Orofacial Pain Clinic

UK Adolescent Medicine Clinic

UK Women’s Health Center (internship only)

Bluegrass Health Psychology

Cardinal Hill Rehabilitation Hospital

UK Markey Cancer Center (forthcoming)

Core Health Psychology faculty:

Jessica Burris (Coordinator, 2021-2022)

Kate Leger

Suzanne Segerstrom (Coordinator, on sabbatical 2021-2022)

Affiliated faculty:

Christal Badour (PSY)

Susan Barron (PSY)

Josh Beckmann (PSY)

Peggy Keller (PSY)

Mark Prendergast (PSY)

Anita Fernander (BSC)

Nancy Schoenberg (BSC)

John Wilson (BSC)

Aaron Beighle (KHP)

Marc Cormier (KHP)

Liz Fettrow-Whitney (KHP)

Melinda Ickes (KHP)

Kristen Mark (KHP)

John Watkins (GRN)

Meghan Marsac (COM, Pediatrics)

Marc Kiviniemi (CPH)

For further information about the concentration in health psychology please contact:

   Jessica Burris
    Health Psychology Coordinator
    Department of Psychology
    University of Kentucky
    Lexington, KY 40506-0044