Scholarly Concentration: Prevention Research


Faculty Director

Judith J. Prochaska, PhD, MPH


TO Preising, JD, MA Ed


Objectives and Goals

The Prevention Research (PR) Application aims to provide future physicians with exposure to and training in the field of prevention research and related areas of scholarship. PR students will:

    1. Study patterns of chronic diseases in diverse communities and settings and examine how prevention can promote health and health equity at individual, family, community, and population levels;

    2. Read, analyze, and evaluate prevention research and become involved with related research that encourages health promotion and social responsibility.

Students also will have the opportunity to focus on a Stanford Medical Scholars research project via:

    3. Applying coursework to a scholarly research project where they can design, implement, and assess health and wellness solutions, addressing preventable health challenges in a community or research setting.



Students must complete 12 units of Scholarly Concentration coursework. Students undertaking both a Foundation Area and an Application Area must complete 6 units in each.


PR students will complete two required foundational courses:

CHPR 228: Theoretical Foundations and Design of Behavioral Intervention Trials (Autumn)

This course centers on the knowledge and skills, respect and thoughtful practice of designing health promotion interventions that are relevant, theoretically-informed, have broad impacts, and can endure. The course provides an in-depth review of intervention approaches for health promotion and disease prevention and covers the leading theories of behavior change. The class follows an integrative model to demonstrate similarities and differences between the theoretical approaches, seeking what is useful and worthwhile in each theoretical model rather than looking primarily for what is most easily criticized.

The course is intended to be practical in nature focusing on the specifics of needs assessments and intervention development and delivery and how these may vary across community settings, with diverse populations, addressing different behaviors, and leveraging traditional and emerging delivery channels. Intervention creation, delivery, effectiveness, and sustainability is carefully explored to identify and better understand the resources and other practical considerations necessary to produce, deliver, monitor, and disseminate an intervention with demonstrated effectiveness. Examples are drawn from across the behavioral spectrum and include tobacco control, physical activity, healthy diet, stress and distress, as well as consideration of the complexities of extending interventions to target multiple risk behaviors. Students develop a foundational understanding of behavior change theory, rigorous research methods, and creative design strategies to advance the health of individuals and communities.  Units: 3

CHPR 240: Prevention Research and Public Health: The Science of Healthy Living (Autumn)

This course is a coordinated seminar series by each of the faculty of the Stanford Prevention Research Center (SPRC) covering key (predominantly U.S.) health issues and preventive measures from prenatal health issues, through childhood and adolescence, to young to middle-aged, older and elderly adults, including large multi-center research projects, such as the Women’s Health Initiative. SPRC researchers focus on effective strategies for behavioral change in multiple risk factors, in particular smoking cessation, weight loss and maintenance, nutrition, and physical activity. Topics in this course include the value of “stealth interventions” to motivate behavior change (i.e., promoting personal values beyond individual health goals) and the use of innovative communication technology to enhance health promoting behaviors are introduced. Community-based interventions, worksite health, health policy research, and research methodology regarding study design to impact population health are emphasized. Finally, important principles of large dataset analysis (e.g., reproducibility, publication bias, and meta-analysis) to promote optimal health and disease prevention recommendations are presented. Units: 3

CHPR 250: Prevention Across Medical Disciplines: Evidence-based Guidelines (Winter)

Coordinated seminar series presenting evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention guidelines by research and clinical faculty of multiple divisions of Stanford's Department of Medicine, including cardiovascular medicine, oncology, nephrology, immunology and rheumatology, infectious diseases, endocrinology, gerontology and metabolism, gastroenterology and hepatology, hematology, blood and marrow transplantation, pulmonary and critical care medicine, general medical disciplines (including family medicine). Key prevention issues addressed in primary care and outcomes research, biomedical informatics research and the Stanford Prevention Research Center also presented. Enrollment priority given to CHPR Master's students. CHPR students must enroll for letter grade. Units: 3

CHPR 270: Prevention Across Surgical and Other Medical Disciplines (Spring)

This course is coordinated seminar series that presents evidence-based health promotion and disease prevention guidelines by clinical and translational research and population health science faculty of clinical departments other than Medicine (the focus of CHPR 260) of the Stanford School of Medicine, including; Anesthesiology & Perioperative, & Pain Medicine, Cardiothoracic Surgery, Dermatology, Emergency Medicine, Neurology & Neurological Sciences, Neurosurgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Ophthalmology, Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology, Pathology, Pediatrics, Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences, Radiation Oncology, Radiology, Surgery and Urology, CHPR master's program students must enroll for a letter grade and priority for enrollment will be given to current CHPR students. Units: 3

PR students may get approval from the Director to waive required foundational courses and take other pre-approved courses relevant to prevention research.

Scholarly Concentrations & the MD Program

The Scholarly Concentration (SC) program is a required, structured program of study in the Medical Student Curriculum that promotes in-depth learning and scholarship. The SC's provide medical students with faculty-mentored scholarly experiences in areas of individual interest combined with structured coursework to support this scholarship.