Social and Behavioral Sciences

The Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences prepares students from diverse backgrounds to become successful and engaged scholars and policy-makers in the areas of medical sociology and nursing that emphasize health equity, social determinants of health and environmental justice. Our research is informed by social science theories and methodologies with a strong social justice orientation.

Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS) is a department within the School of Nursing. 


The principal aim of the SBS Doctoral Program in Sociology is to educate students interested in professional careers as sociologists in both academic and applied contexts. Graduates contribute to the advancement of sociological knowledge with an emphasis on the study of health broadly conceived. All students are trained in-depth in the sociology of health, illness and medicine. Additionally, students may specialize in the following areas: 1) global health and global health policy; 2) race, class, gender and health disparities; and 3) science, technology, and medicine studies. Violence as a health problem, HIV/AIDS, health demography and global health are also areas where faculty have strong expertise. Extended training in social theory and both qualitative and quantitative research methods is required.

The Nursing Health Policy specialty program prepares nurses from the Master's and PhD programs in Nursing to provide leadership in health policy in institutions and organizations, including legislative organizations, nongovernmental advocacy and policy organizations, and regulatory and licensing bodies. Graduates contribute to and improve health policies to benefit patients, communities, the public, and the nursing profession. Additionally, doctoral graduates are prepared to assume academic positions where they can initiate and contribute to health services and policy research and teaching, providing leadership as health policy nurse specialists.


The research goal of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences is to 1) advance knowledge in nursing contributions to health policy and in sociology through theoretically informed, methodologically rigorous qualitative and quantitative research and 2) examine the broad dynamics of health, healing, and the production of knowledge and technologies and their applications in these domains with special focus on addressing inequities. Department faculty are actively involved in a wide variety of research activities in local, national and global arenas. Topics are related to the teaching programs and the mission of the department and include tobacco control, health disparities, commercial and social determinants of health, gender and HIV/AIDS, biomedicalization, anti-violence, health workforce, health demography, aging and long-term care policies both domestically and globally.


Brandee Woleslagle Blank, Academic Program Manager
Echo Rowe, Administrative Analyst for the Institute for Health & Aging


Kelsey Holt*
Gina Intinarelli-Shuler**
Jennifer James
Julene Johnson
Angela Kaslow**
Kyung Mi Kim**
Linda Louie**
Christina Martinez**
Michael Matrone**
Tim McAfee
Erin McCauley
Patricia McDaniel
Ulrike Muench
Daniel Navon**
Anna Oh**

* holds a joint appointment at the UCSF School of Nursing
** volunteer faculty member at the UCSF School of Nursing

Emeriti Faculty

Patricia Benner
Carroll Estes
Charlene Harrington
Ruth Malone
Robert Newcomer

Contact Us

Mailing address:

Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences
490 Illinois St., Floor 12, Box 0612
San Francisco, CA 94143
[email protected]