Health Behaviors Research Branch (HBRB)
A world in which individuals, families, and communities engage in healthy lifestyles to prevent cancer, improve treatment outcomes, extend life, and optimize health and well-being.
To support and catalyze research on the discovery, development, testing, and implementation of effective strategies to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors for cancer prevention and control. HBRB is within the National Cancer Institute's (NCI) Behavioral Research Program (BRP), in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences (DCCPS).
The branch aims to support research at multiple levels of analysis to improve cancer-related health behaviors and risk factors. Recognizing that a multilevel perspective is essential to fully understanding and improving cancer risk behaviors, the branch supports research that focuses on multiple behavioral influences – individually and in combination – at the biological, psychological, behavioral, social, environmental, sociocultural, and policy levels.
News and Highlights
The branch studies the following behavioral risk factors:
Behavior genetics, diet, physical activity and sedentary behavior, energy balance, obesity, sun safety and tanning, alcohol use, sleep and circadian dysfunction, adherence to cancer-related medical and behavioral regimens, and other emerging cancer risk behaviors.
HBRB synthesizes and disseminates findings, recommendations, and priorities of successful strategies in prevention and behavioral change interventions. The branch aims to:
- Plan, develop, and coordinate research on lifestyle behaviors and cancer prevention.
- Provide leadership in developing methodologies for improved empirical study of cancer-relevant behaviors and the psychosocial and built environment.
- Plan, develop and coordinate research focused on effective strategies to reach population sub-groups at greater risk for certain cancers.
- Develop, support, and evaluate the most effective clinical and community-based strategies.
- Solicit input and communicates regularly with the extramural community to refine methodology and evaluate effectiveness.
- Plan, administer, and evaluate demonstration project research, including diffusion and dissemination of successful strategies in prevention behavioral change interventions.
- Sponsor workshops, symposia and other collaborations that disseminate research findings.
- Plan and participate in training programs to advance behavioral health research.
- Synthesize and disseminate findings, recommendations, and priorities to target organizations and individuals.
Initiatives and Measures
HBRB Grant Portfolio and Funding Opportunities
An important ‘ah-ha’ moment came when discussing a colleague’s work involving the pairing of brain stimulation with exposure-based behavioral treatment (an oft avoided therapy) to enhance adherence and improve outcomes among individuals with OCD. I thought, ‘Why couldn’t the same approach be applied to vulnerable individuals who avoid or don’t enjoy physical activity?’”Ana M. Abrantes, Ph.D. Other HBRB Featured Grantees
My ah-ha moment came when I realized all the errors in our data processing that I focused on obsessively were only creating a couple of minutes of error a day at the personal level. I realized I needed to get out of this rabbit hole and look around at the majority of successful predictions we were creating. I have now accepted that perfection in such behavioral & environmental matches are not possible, and I focus on the larger probabilities that time and space may influence behavior.”Jacqueline Kerr, Ph.D. Other HBRB Featured Grantees
The 'ah-ha' moment that I repeatedly experience is the importance of interpersonal relations in determining health behavior. Direct personal contacts with change agents, opinion leaders, and peers have been an essential aspect of my successful cancer prevention interventions and, more recently, relationships within organizational contexts, especially as influenced by policy, have emerged as influential for improving individuals' prevention practices.”David Buller, Ph.D. Other HBRB Featured Grantees
Read peer-reviewed manuscripts, funding analyses, and reports on behavioral research issues in cancer prevention and control.
Career and Training Announcements
View our scientific, administrative, and fellowship opportunities.
Data and Tools
Get information about data collection and analysis tools, cancer control publications, and other resources to support behavioral researchers.
Meet Our Staff
Our team of accomplished scientists and research associates, fellows, and administrators is dedicated to advancing behavioral science research in cancer prevention and control.HBRB Staff