San Diego State University
Academic Level
Issue Area(s)
Key Personnel
San Diego State University
9245 Sky Park Court, Ste. 221
San Diego, CA 92123
United States

The Institute for Behavioral and Community Health Studies (IBACH) is San Diego State University's largest health research center and is administered through the San Diego State University Research Foundation. Created in 1982, IBACH encourages interdisciplinary collaboration. Housed within IBACH is the San Diego Prevention Research Center (SDPRC), which is jointly sponsored by the University of San Diego (UCSD) and the San Ysidro Health Center (SYHC) and has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) since 2004.


IBACH's mission is to improve health through research, application, and evaluation of principles and programs related to health promotion, disease prevention, and behavior change in community settings.  Under Dr. John Elder's leadership, IBACH's emphasis has been on research related to chronic-disease risk reduction, with a special focus on the Latino community.


IBACH and the SDPRC lead SDSU in graduate training for Latino students. In turn, SDSU is a federally designated minority-serving institution, ranked sixth in the nation for bachelor's degrees awarded to Latinos. In the past 11 years, seven Latino students working in IBACH and the SDPRC have received their PhDs, and three of these are tenured/tenure track professors. Another seven post-MA Latino graduate students are currently working toward their PhDs in public health or psychology. In turn, IBACH's influence on the health behavioral doctoral program sponsored jointly by UCSD/SDSU has been such that over one-third of all of the students (working with IBACH/SDPRC and non-IBACH faculty alike) over its six-year history have been Latino, probably the highest such concentration in any comparable program in the United States. To date, no Latino student has dropped out of the PhD program.  In addition to the PhD students, since 1987, 25 Latino students have received their MPH degrees working with IBACH (and the SDPRC). Because of the opportunities presented through research and mentoring efforts, both the MPH and PhD programs have managed to recruit highly qualified Latino students who, in most cases, have had their choice of graduate programs.  The final index of effectiveness of the training opportunities at SDSU's IBACH and the SDPRC has been the scientific output of these students and their faculty. Latino MPH and PhD students with IBACH and the PRC have appeared as first authors or co-authors of scientific manuscripts and book chapters 75 times in the past 22 years. 

Program Focus