Behavioral Medicine: A Key to Better Health

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Course Date: 09 September 2014 to 14 October 2014 (5 weeks)

Price: free

Course Summary

Learn how to change everyday behaviors for healthier lives using basic behavioral medicine concepts. Test yourself with virtual patient scenarios.

Course Instructors

Anne H. Berman

Dr Anne H Berman is an Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology at Karolinska Institutet. She has an intense interest in human behavior and, apart from psychology, has studied urban planning and law. Anne has been researching criminality and substance abuse issues for many years and is the initiator of a simple self-report drug screening test, the DUDIT, used in countries all over the world. Every week, Anne balances psychotherapy work with substance users, and research on digital interventions for problematic alcohol and drug use. Always inspired by a broad perspective, she particularly loves teaching behavioral medicine. Her work for this course is supported by the International Society of Behavioral Medicine, for which she is Education and Training Chair.

Sakari Suominen

Dr. Sakari Suominen, M.D., Ph.D. is Professor of Public Health at the Nordic School of Public Health and Associate Professor of Behavioral Medicine at the University of Turku. His main scientific interest is the association between sense of coherence – and related concepts of life meaning – with health and illness, both in cross-sectional and longitudinal settings. An additional special interest concerns health and welfare differences between the Finnish speaking population of Finland and Swedish and other migrant groups. Other research interests are the health of children and adolescents as well as public health management. Concurrently, Dr Suominen leads a research group with three full-time researchers at the Folkhälsan Research Center in Helsinki. He has published 80 international and 20 national scientific articles, as well as 46 other scientific or popular publications. Dr Suominen is chair of the Finnish Behavioral Medicine Section of the Finnish Society of Social Medicine and Nominations Chair on the International Society of Behavioral Medicine Board.

Course Description

We’ll start the first week by looking at what makes us motivated to change our behavior. We often feel motivated for change when we experience imbalance in life. One example of a key concept that helps us understand how imbalance arises is the effort-reward model, which states that ill-health is more likely to arise when there is a gap between the effort you make and how you are rewarded. To help people who are experiencing imbalance identify what they need to change, we will learn about Motivational Interviewing (MI), a counseling style that stimulates behavior change. You will have an opportunity to test basic techniques in MI with a “virtual bartender” who has sleep problems that he is trying to solve by drinking alcohol. The following four weeks will focus on coping with stress (week 2), improving sleep (week 3), increasing physical activity (week 4), and everyday behaviors (week 5) like hand washing, condom use and minimizing risky alcohol use.

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