"Behavioral medicine is the science of changing our behavior, so we as individuals can stay healthy and happy as long as we can. If you choose to join this five-week course on Behavioral Medicine, you will learn about basic behavioral medicine concepts and explore how they can be applied to help people who need to change specific lifestyle behaviors to attain better health. Working with “virtual patient scenarios” will give you a chance to test behavioral medicine interventions. You will also learn self-help tools based on behavioral medicine, for whatever you need to change in your life.
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.
To complete this course, you will need to set aside about 5-8 hours a week. You’ll use some of this time to watch course videos, answer questions designed to help you reinforce and retain what you have learned, and understand the homework required. The remaining time will be for course reading, mostly open access scientific articles, and solving homework tasks. You’ll be doing part of the work together with other participants in the course community. After the five course weeks, you can expect to know a lot more about understanding unhealthy behaviors and how to change them for better health!"