Who We Are


The Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine (BSSM) is an interdisciplinary department that contributes to the mission of the College of Medicine through research, teaching, and service. We emphasize the influence of individual, interpersonal, and community factors on health, in the context of social and societal forces. Our work integrates community partnership with principles and methods from behavioral sciences, social sciences, and the humanities to advance knowledge and promote health, especially for the underserved.

Our commitment to the mission of FSU COM is demonstrated through:

  • Classroom and practice-based teaching, mentoring, and other educational efforts.
  • Service activities that support the COM, advance our professions, and improve the health of individuals and communities.
  • Conducting cutting edge research that advances knowledge and leads to improvements in interventions, healthcare practices, and health outcomes.


Group BSSM Department photo


Teaching is a core area where BSSM works to promote the mission of FSU COM. Members of the department teach regularly in courses at the College of Medicine—some serve as course directors, others facilitate discussion groups and give lectures, and some offer electives such as medical Spanish. Members of BSSM also serve in a variety of other teaching and mentoring roles, whether at the College of Medicine, the regional campuses, affiliated institutions, or other departments at FSU.


Service is an important way in which members of BSSM advance the mission of the College. Faculty and staff members serve on numerous committees that advance the mission, work with mission-based student service learning groups such as FSUCares, and promote the mission through service activities in professional organizations.

Members of the department are also active in a variety of community, advocacy, and governmental organizations that promote the mission. Some also provide direct services to promote the health of underserved Floridians, including AHEC tobacco cessation training programs, bioethics consults, and mental health services.


Areas of research focus include social and behavioral aspects of chronic disease prevention and maintenance with a particular focus on HIV, psychological and medical aspects of healthy aging, mental health, substance use and addiction, health care service optimization and policy, and bioethical and historical conceptual foundations of science and medicine. BSSM draws on a wide variety of research and methodologies, including intervention development and implementation science, policy, and program evaluation, comparative effectiveness research, clinical trials, epidemiology, and preventative science. BSSM also has a major focus on health care workforce development and clinical skill-building.