Ph.D. in Health Services Research


Overview

The mission of the Behavior Analysis concentration in the Ph.D. in Health Services Research is to train the next generation of behavioral scientists and scientist-practitioners to work across disciplinary boundaries to expand scientific understanding and capability and to solve socially relevant problems.

The program relies on a junior-colleague model to develop world-class researchers, educators, and leaders inside and outside the academy.


Research Opportunity

Within the Behavior Analysis concentration, students can focus on a variety of research and application areas such as populations with learning differences (autism and dd), social justice, teaching sciences, animal behavior, behavioral neuroscience, and behavioral health and contingency management.

Conversations on meaning and action: Exploring social justice through the lens of applied disciplines (SJ Lab).  The mission of this lab is to create a voluntary and safe space for students and faculty who are specifically interested in exploring how applied behavior analysis and applied anthropology might intersect and contribute together in the realm of social justice. Conversation topics cover a wide range and include current events in our home community, societal systems, theoretical/ methodological perspectives, the relationships between science and meaningful social change, activism, and specific action projects. Conversations are designed to be fluid and generative; especially if they are directed towards understanding multiple perspectives and voices and advancing commitments to social justice. Current action projects focus on the prevention of human trafficking, increasing partner respect and equity, and decreasing vulnerability and increasing resilience of youth living in poverty. The overarching goal is to be together, to hear each other, to learn, and to practice and serve to the best of our capacities. Faculty advisors: Drs. Shahla Alai-Rosales & Alicia Re Cruz. Students must be enrolled in thesis hours, 5815, or be employed or volunteering at MLK to attend this lab.

Behavior Analysis Resource Center. A research and treatment team systematically assesses and develops treatment for behavior disorders exhibited by persons with developmental disabilities. This project has offices on the campus of the Denton State Supported Living Center and provides services to residents of the living center.  The project also provides training in behavior-analytic approaches to intervention for personnel at the center and employees of the Department of Aging and Developmental Services. Paid positions available for students who have demonstrated commitment. Faculty Supervisor: Drs. Richard Smith & Joe Dracobly.

Easter Seals North Texas Autism Programs.The mission of this lab is to provide service-learning experiences for students in the Department of Behavior Analysis, to offer the community evidence-based resources and expertise, and to produce pragmatic and humane research. Current service research opportunities include but are not limited to: systemic supports and measures; parent training and support; social behavior; reducing disparities and increasing access to behavior analytic services, and cultural responsiveness in behavior analytic interventions. All research takes place in the ESATP clinical sites in Carrolton and Ft Worth. The clinical sites have an emphasis on community inclusion and serving underserved populations. There are four part time UNT graduate assistantships. available every year.  These positions provide experience and training in program development and systems wide behavioral interventions. There are also 4-6 entry level and 2-6 mid-level clinical positions every year. Faculty supervisors: Dr. Shahla Alai-RosalesDr. Jesus Rosales, & Christine Gibson. Students must be enrolled in thesis hours, 5815, or be employed or volunteering at Easter Seals to attend this lab.

Little Learner Lab. The Little Learner Lab is dedicated to conducting applied research and providing professional practice opportunities related to behavioral interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder and related disorders. Research and practice opportunities are primarily supported by the UNT Kristin Farmer Autism Center (KFAC). Current research topics include: evaluating instructional arrangements that facilitate skill acquisition (e.g. matrix training), conditioned reinforcement procedures, observational learning, and stimulus control procedures during the treatment of behavior disorders. In addition to applied research opportunities, the Little Learner Lab also provides practicum and internship experiences related to the evidence-based practice of Applied Behavior Analysis. Faculty supervisor: Dr. Karen Toussaint.

Organization for Reinforcement Contingencies with Animals (ORCA). ORCA is a lab within the Behavior Analysis Department and also a registered UNT student organization. ORCA’s mission is to enhance the lives of animals and their guardians through behavior analytic research and to inform the public about these discoveries. Students learn about animal behavior and training, conduct research projects related to animal training, and volunteer with local community organizations. Current project sites include working with exotic animals at The Heard Museum and volunteering with a local service dog organization. Students conduct research related to applied animal training, human-animal interactions, and basic learning processes. These research projects are often conducted with students’ own pets or using the game PORTL. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Jesus Rosales

Constructional Life Design.This research laboratory group focuses on teaching individuals how to analyze and program their own lives. Our philosophy is based on the work of Dr. Israel Goldiamond and his Constructional Approach, which was used initially to treat individuals with severe behavior problems. Our research has helped streamline the constructional approach and has investigated how to apply it to a wide range of populations, including juvenile delinquents, failing college students, and parents of children with autism. Our goal is always to help people find greater satisfaction and success in their lives. Our current research focuses on applying the constructional approach to new populations and analyzing the components that make up the constructional approach. As well, we are working on developing methods to best teach others practitioners how to use this approach with clients. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Jesus Rosales-Ruiz

Strategies and Tactics in Application, Research, and Treatment – START Lab. The primary goal of this laboratory is on the application of behavioral principles to solve socially-relevant human problems. A substantive focus is on the use of digital and analog technologies to increase the precision as well as the scope of applied behavior analysis. Can we improve compliance with medical regimens? Motivate people to lose weight or exercise more? What role might technology play in allowing us to program and implement the relevant contingencies of reinforcement? Students in this lab will generate ideas, develop or adapt technologies, and use them to implement protocols to produce behavior change.
All participants will be expected to acquire basic programming, data analytic, presentation, and writing skills through participation in local, regional, national, and international conferences, publications, and grant applications.  We meet Thursdays at 2:00 PM in Chilton Hall – Room 360. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Manish Vaidya.

Behavior Analysis and Cognition – STIMULUS CONTROL Lab. The primary goal of this laboratory is the pursuit of fundamental knowledge in the area of stimulus control. Sidman has suggested that a thorough-going behavioral analysis of stimulus control may allow us to displace the language of “cognition” and “intelligence” just as a thorough-going analysis of contingencies allows to displace the language of “purpose” and “intentionality”.  The focus in this laboratory is on the experimental analysis of phenomena often abandoned to other psychological approaches – concept formation, abstraction, short-term remembering, and attention. Each of these, and other interesting topics, are approached from a radical behaviorist perspective.
All participants will be expected to acquire basic programming, data analytic, presentation, and writing skills through participation in local, regional, national, and international conferences, publications, and grant applications.  We meet Thursdays at 2:00 PM in Chilton Hall – Room 360. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Manish Vaidya.

Teaching Sciences Lab.Members of the Teaching Sciences lab are interested in the development and delivery of effective instruction at the college level. Students who participate can obtain teaching and tutoring experience working with undergraduate students who are learning about basic principles of behavior analysis; participate in course redesign and evaluation; and lead or assist studies designed to improve our teaching efficiency and effectiveness, explore new or unfounded teaching strategies, and contribute to the existing scholarship of teaching and learning literature. Faculty Supervisor: Dr.Traci Cihon.

Neuroplasticity and Repertoire Restoration Laboratory. This laboratory will work to elucidate the role of the central nervous system in the support of lawful behavioral principles, to develop better behavioral tools for use in translational neuroscience, and to develop novel approaches to augmenting behavioral recovery from brain injury and disease. This laboratory will also work toward applying behavioral approaches to post-stroke and TBI therapy. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. April Becker

Neurobehavioral Laboratory. The primary focuses of the Neurobehavioral Laboratory are real time measures of behavior and brain activity, specifically Event Related Potentials, and how they relate to a Skinnerian perspective. Conceptually, the laboratory is involved in understanding how brain responses can help providing some missing pieces of the puzzle when it comes to comprehending complex human behavior. From an applied perspective the laboratory focuses on creating training procedures to help paralyzed patients gain operant control of their brain responses to move external devices and facilitate their overall independence. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Daniele Ortu.

Cultural Selection Lab. TThe mission of the Cultural Selection Lab is to consume and conduct research that contributes to our understanding of how cultural phenomena (e.g., metacontingencies) develop within a selectionist perspective. Lab members will engage in critical analyses of the existing behavior analytic literature on cultural analysis and design, will conduct experiments that extend this literature base, and will apply cultural level analyses to problems of social importance. Faculty supervisors: Dr.Traci CihonDr. Daniele Ortu and Dr. April Becker

Skill-Acquisition Interventions Laboratory (SAIL). This laboratory will focus on research and practice related to the efficacy and efficiency of skill-acquisition interventions. These aims will be addressed by conducting applied and translational research on topics like conducting component analyses of instructional procedures (e.g., error correction, prompts), developing and validating assessments to identify learner-specific instructional components, and evaluating the effects of decrements to treatment integrity (i.e., implementation errors or failures). An emphasis will be placed on assessing and teaching auditory discrimination which is behavior that comes under the control of sounds and words in one’s environment. This lab will also seek to teach case conceptualization and a problem-solving approach for students interested in providing and supervising early-intensive behavioral intervention with children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and developmental disabilities. Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Sam Bergmann

 


Attending UNT

Admission Requirements

You must meet the admission requirements for the Toulouse Graduate School® and the following program requirements. The graduate school admission requirements are outlined on their website. (The deadline to apply is January 15 each year for the following fall admissions start.)  The program requirements are:

  • A GPA of 3.5 or better
  • Acceptable GRE scores
  • Commit to a career in behavior analysis
  • Three reference letters
  • Statement of interest

Degree requirements

  • 18 semester hours of core HSR courses
  • 15 semester hours of BEHV concentration courses
  • 9 semester hours of dissertation
  • 9 semester hours of electives

Toulouse Graduate School University of North Texas

1155 Union Circle #305459
Denton, TX 76203-5017

Telephone: 940-565-2383
Fax: 940-565-2141
E-mail: graduateschool@unt.edu