Our Program

The goal of the Health Psychology Program at UCLA is to produce outstanding research scientists whose major focus is on the intersection of psychological processes and physical health and disease. More specifically, our program provides training in the development and use of basic theories and research findings in psychology to elucidate issues in physical and mental health and their interrelationship.

Researchers in our program study psychological responses to physical health conditions, the impact of mental health on the progression of chronic disease, biological processes that underlie mental and/or physical health, and interventions aimed at improving mental and/or physical health (e.g., among individuals with chronic disease). In addition, we study health behaviors (e.g., sleep, eating) that are relevant to both mental and physical health. Our research is conducted in a variety of settings, ranging from the laboratory to the community to medical systems.

Our research training spans diverse populations with regard to age, ethnicity, socioeconomic background, and health status. Starting with a firm foundation in psychology, we offer strong biological, methodological, and quantitative training, along with intervention and translational research. Our program is highly interdisciplinary and collaborative opportunities are available both within the Department of Psychology and across UCLA, including the David Geffen School of Medicine, the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, the School of Dentistry, and the Fielding School of Public Health.

Program Spotlight: UCLA’s Shelley Taylor awarded National Medal of Science at the White House

Dr. Shelley Taylor, UCLA Distinguished Professor Emerita of Psychology, was awarded the prestigious National Medal of Science for her “groundbreaking research into mental health and the power of human connection” and “helping to establish the fields of social cognition, health psychology and social neuroscience and increasing our nation’s well being” as cited by White House staff. Read more about the award and Dr. Taylor’s accomplishments here.

Program History

  • 1980

    The UCLA Health Psychology Program is established

    Prof. Bertram Raven established and directed the Health Psychology Program at UCLA in the early 1980s.

  • 1983-1995

    Profs. Christine Dunkel Schetter and Shelley E. Taylor direct the program in conjunction with a core faculty group.

    During this time, they established the core course, an undergraduate course, and a weekly lecture series, and they integrated the program more with clinical psychology training.


  • 1979:

    T32 training grant is established

    The Biobehavioral Issues in Physical and Mental Health grant (T32MH015750) is established at UCLA. It provides training for predoctoral and postdoctoral students in integrated biobehavioral and sociocultural approaches to the study of mental health and disorder, and comorbidities of mental and physical health. This grant has been continually funded by NIMH since 1985.

  • 2007

    Health Psychology PhD is established

    A Health Psychology major is added within the UCLA Psychology Department.