Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content


 Welcome to the Community Health & Development Specialty Area Site

The Community Health and Development specialty area in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas helps to prepare students interested in building healthy and well-functioning communities. Students and faculty in this specialty area contribute to addressing a myriad of socially important problems and goals in communities (e.g., substance abuse, violence, education, child and youth development, independent living of people with disabilities, well-being of older adults). The premise for social problem solving supported by the faculty and students in this specialty area is that problems don't occur or reside within individuals or groups, but rather in the environment in which individuals or groups behave and operate. Therefore, students in this department are trained to systematically examine problems in communities based on the principles and methods of applied behavioral science.

Contact Photo
Research/Specialty Areas
Dr. Jomella
  • Positive Youth Development
  • Urban Neighborhood Development
  • Prevention -(Youth Violence, Adolescent Substance Abuse)
  • Community Capacity-Building
  • Community-Based Participatory Research


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead

 Student Competencies Supported through Specialty Area Courses

Key specialty area courses include the following: Community Leadership (ABSC 150), Building Healthy Communities (ABSC 310/710), and Community Health and Development Practicum (ABSC 690). The course sequence culminates in a two-semester practicum (ABSC 690) arranged with faculty members and representatives of community organizations or governmental agencies (e.g., in public health, child advocacy, independent living, youth development).


The three principle courses in the Community Health and Development specialty area trains students in community-building skill or competency areas listed below. The practicum provides opportunities for students to apply knowledge and skills with community partner organization and agencies in many of these key competency areas.


1. Creating and Maintaining Coalitions and Partnerships
2. Assessing Community Needs and Resources
Analyzing Problems and Goals
Developing a Framework or Model of Change
Developing Strategic and Action Plans
Building Leadership
Developing an Intervention
Increasing Participation and Membership
Enhancing Cultural Competence
Advocating for Change
Influencing Policy Development
Evaluating the Initiative
Implementing a Social Marketing Effort
Writing a Grant Application for Funding
Improving Organizational Management and Development
16. Sustaining the Work or Initiative