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Center for Health Behavior Research

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 dozens of community-based organizations, nonprofit service-oriented organizations, health care providers, schools and government agencies providing health and social services.

Jun Ma, MD, PhD, professor of academic internal medicine and geriatrics and associate head for research in the Department of Medicine of the UIC College of Medicine, directs this center.

Dr. Ma develops, tests, and disseminates new delivery models of behavioral interventions and examine neurobiological mechanisms of behavior and behavior change in multiple major chronic conditions that are the leading causes of morbidity and disability in the United States and globally. These span cardiovascular (e.g., coronary heart disease, hypertension), metabolic (e.g., obesity prediabetes, metabolic syndrome), pulmonary (asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), and psychiatric conditions (e.g., depression).

The Center nurtures and supports the development of University of Illinois at Chicago researchers at all stages of their careers.

Learn how — join our Wednesday Meetings.