Students specializing in Health Psychology have a primary affiliation with one of the four core areas (Clinical, CNS, Developmental, or Social), but pursue coursework and research that is specifically designed to train them for a career in health-related research. A unique strength of our Health program is its interdisciplinary focus, which supplements the training a student receives in his/her core area with cutting-edge interdisciplinary coursework, methodological training, and research opportunities. The Department of Psychology has had a formal specialization in Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine for over 15 years. This specialization is intended to train psychologists who are experts at integrating psychological knowledge with current biomedical information about health and illness. This includes understanding psychological processes involved in how people stay healthy, why they become sick, and how they respond when they do become sick. Clinical students pursuing this specialization also gain extensive training and experience in applying this knowledge in the provision of psychological services to medical patients and consulting with health care professionals.
One of the strengths of the health psychology specialization at the University of Utah is that it is a highly collaborative endeavor among faculty who have expertise in different areas of psychology (primarily clinical, developmental, and social). As a result, students gain a broad and integrative perspective on the psychology of health and illness. In addition, research and clinical training utilizes a variety of sites within the University of Utah Medical Center, Primary Children's Hospital and the Veterans Administration Medical Center. In these settings, students work closely with clinical health psychologists, physicians and other health care professionals. Students in any of the four Ph.D. tracks (clinical, cognition and neural science, developmental, social) can pursue a specialization in Health Psychology. Students who pursue this cross-area specialization work under the supervision of a core health faculty member and complete all requirements of their home area in addition to coursework and research in health psychology.