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Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences

Social & Behavioral Sciences: In Conversation with the Yale School of Public Health Department Chair

"I think for our department what binds us, and what creates our identity and culture is principles of equity and justice," says Trace Kershaw, Chair of the Social and Behavioral Sciences Department. "The way we study, the way we form the department itself is grounded in those principles. Once you focus on things like equity and justice, it’s hard not to make that a focus in every aspect of what you do."

Kershaw discusses how the department elevates student voices and ideas. "We really look at this department as shared with the students," he says.

He also describes the impact the department has made on the world, from U.S. Supreme Court cases improving the rights and well-being of LGBTQ individuals, to local housing laws, to student-created NGOs.

Our Research

Social and behavioral factors influence all states of health and disease. The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) conducts innovative research on social and behavioral determinants of health using quantitative and qualitative methods and a social justice approach to improving health among under-served populations. Using state-of-the-art technologies, SBS faculty, researchers and students conduct rigorous observational studies and create multilevel interventions. This research is strengthened by the department's ties with the Psychiatry, Psychology, Sociology and Anthropology departments, as well as the Law School. Below are the SBS areas of strength with a description of relevant faculty, research projects and centers.