Doctor of Behavioral Health Program

Frequently Asked Questions

DBH FAQs

The DBH is an online professional graduate degree modeled on emerging new healthcare doctoral degrees such as the Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree. It is an applied degree designed to prepare graduates for doctoral careers in healthcare settings, especially integrated care in primary care clinics and hospitals. The curriculum (Clinical Concentration, Management Concentration) is based on achieving the "Triple Aim" of improved patient experience of care, improved population health and decreased cost of care. The DBH curriculum is unique in teaching our students how to: 1) apply evidence-based, integrated behavioral health interventions tailored for medical settings; 2) use population health management to target at risk patients; 3) lead quality management to improve processes and outcomes; 4) demonstrate cost savings and return on investment for healthcare leaders, and; 5) become healthcare business entrepreneurs to enhance their career path.

Integrated care is the systematic, coordinated treatment of medical and behavioral conditions, ideally in a medical setting such as a primary care clinic or hospital. Integrated care is focused on using behavioral approaches to improving medical management (e.g., medication adherence), improvement in lifestyle problems that contribute to disease such as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and tobacco smoking, and behavioral conditions such as depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse that are highly co-morbid with medical conditions. Integrated care has emerged as a key component of the transformation of healthcare from acute care to prevention and disease management in primary care and related settings. While integrated care is ideally practiced in primary care, in fact any setting with a patient population that has a need for both medical and lifestyle or behavioral treatment may include integrated care. For example, specialty mental health clinics may add physicians and nurses in “reverse integration” care. Health plans and other prevention and disease management companies maintain extensive disease management programs. Employers increasingly address employee medical and behavioral problems in workplace wellness programs.

The DBH students are a diverse group in terms of age, ethnicity, and educational background. Clinical concentration students represent both behavioral health (masters degree in social work, counseling, applied behavioral analysis, psychology) and allied health (nursing, physician assistant, occupational therapist, dietician). Management concentration students often have the same background as clinical students, but also include masters in business, public health and related fields. Most DBH students have been practicing in their respective field for over 10 years and are balancing work, family and education. Other DBH students enroll immediately after completing their masters' degree, and many older students enroll with a focus on transitioning to new career opportunities in integrated healthcare.

The Clinical concentration is designed for licensed clinicians who plan to practice in integrated behavioral healthcare programs. The Management concentration is designed for executives and managers that plan to design implement and evaluate sustainable integrated healthcare programs. Both concentrations share common core courses on evidence-based integrated behavioral health, population health, quality and performance improvement and entrepreneurship, and students may choose up to five electives from either concentration in order to tailor the curriculum to their professional career path. Many clinical concentration students also choose careers in management.

Yes. Most DBH students are balancing work and education and attend the DBH part-time. Part-time enrollment consists of at least 2 courses per semester, including summer session. Most part-time students complete the DBH within 3 years.

No. The Doctor of Behavioral Health (DBH) is not a psychologist (Ph.D. or Psy.D.) degree. The DBH is designed to address the unmet educational need for professional education and training to prepare behavioral health providers to practice as integrated care clinicians (Clinical concentration) or managers (Management concentration) in primary care and other medical settings.

Yes. All master's degrees that meet ASU Graduate College criteria are counted as 30 credit hours of the required 84 total credit hours to complete the DBH. This comes out to 30 credit hours from your master’s plus 54 credit hours (about18 courses) comprised of DBH core and elective courses.

An institution of higher education in the United States receives accreditation for its academic programs only after rigorous review and approval by one of the six federally-recognized accrediting bodies. Arizona State University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission by North Central Association of Schools and Colleges https://www.ncahlc.org. For students, this regional accreditation is essential for practical issues such as institutional transfer of credits and eligibility to apply for federal student aid. For more information about Arizona State University's 2013 accreditation visit, see http://hlc2013.asu.edu/accreditation.

The DBH was not designed for accreditation by the American Psychological Association Commission on Accreditation (APA CoA). The APA CoA requirements are designed primarily for psychologist doctoral degrees. The DBH curriculum is designed to meet the emerging needs of healthcare reform with a focus on entrepreneurship and marketing, achieving the triple aim to improve patient experience of care, population health and reduced cost of care and business or practice management. The APA CoA course curriculum is relatively fixed and requires many additional courses that are outside of the vision and mission of the DBH program. A clinical psychologist doctoral degree also requires a one year internship and one year post-doctoral requirement, whereas the DBH internship is designed to enhance the existing clinical and management skills of licensed clinicians or experienced managers that requires a shorter internship placement. Finally, psychologist doctoral programs require completion of a master’s degree equivalent to complete the degree, whereas the DBH applies 30 credit hours from the students existing masters degree towards the DBH.

MIHC FAQs

The Master of Integrated Health Care (MIHC) is a residential (classrooms on Downtown Phoenix campus) professional graduate degree designed to prepare graduates for students for careers in healthcare settings, especially integrated care in primary care clinics and hospitals. The curriculum [MIHC curriculum link here] is based on achieving the "Triple Aim" of improved patient experience of care, improved population health and decreased cost of care. The MIHC curriculum is unique in teaching our students how to: 1) apply evidence-based, integrated behavioral health interventions tailored for medical settings; 2) use population health management to target at risk patients; 3) lead quality management to improve processes and outcomes; 4) demonstrate cost savings and return on investment for healthcare leaders, and; 5) become healthcare business entrepreneurs to enhance their career path.

Integrated care is the systematic, coordinated treatment of medical and behavioral conditions, ideally in a medical setting such as a primary care clinic or hospital. Integrated care is focused on using behavioral approaches to improving medical management (e.g., medication adherence), improvement in lifestyle problems that contribute to disease such as poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and tobacco smoking, and behavioral conditions such as depression, anxiety and alcohol abuse that are highly co-morbid with medical conditions. Integrated care has emerged as a key component of the transformation of healthcare from acute care to prevention and disease management in primary care and related settings. While integrated care is ideally practiced in primary care, in fact any setting with a patient population that has a need for both medical and lifestyle or behavioral treatment may include integrated care. For example, specialty mental health clinics may add physicians and nurses in “reverse integration” care. Health plans and other prevention and disease management companies maintain extensive disease management programs. Employers increasingly address employee medical and behavioral problems in workplace wellness programs.

The MIHC students are diverse group in terms of educational background. Students with a new Bachelor’s degree interested in continuing to graduate education are a good fit, as are students who have earned a bachelor’s degree and are looking to return to graduate school to advance their career. Students who have an existing master’s degree in healthcare, management or related areas who are interested in re-tooling their career to take advantage of emerging opportunities in integrated healthcare are also a good fit for the MIHC. 

No, the MIHC is a full-time, cohort-based program only. Students enroll and begin coursework in the fall semester and finish the MIHC the following spring semester. 

An institution of higher education in the United States receives accreditation for its academic programs only after rigorous review and approval by one of the six federally-recognized accrediting bodies. Arizona State University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission by North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. For students, this regional accreditation is essential for practical issues such as institutional transfer of credits and eligibility to apply for federal student aid. For more information about Arizona State University's 2013 accreditation visit, see http://hlc2013.asu.edu/accreditation.

There are many new opportunities for health management positions in the field of integrated health care. These include positions in primary care and hospital setting, but also other healthcare settings. In addition, many traditional mental health and substance abuse treatment settings are moving to “reverse integration” models with physicians, nursing and other allied health providers working in these clinics and hospitals. The health plans and related companies that provide prevention and disease management programs and employee wellness and Employee Assistance Professional services are increasingly moving towards integrated health care. These settings share a common need for effective managers who can lead and implement programs to meet the medical and behavioral health needs of their patients. Below is a list of job titles that are a good fit for the MIHC graduate:

  • Site Administrators
  • Practice facilitator
  • Managed care manager
  • Hospital, health or social services administrator
  • Health care consultant
  • Health and social service manager
  • Clinical Director or manager
  • Behavioral health managers / directors
  • Case managers
  • Clinic managers
  • Compliance coordinators and managers
  • Clinical outcomes manager
  • Medical staff coordinator
  • Behavioral staff coordinator
  • Patient care coordinator / manager
  • Physician Relations director
  • Health Coach / Health Coaching administrator
  • Quality assurance or Quality improvement coordinator/manager/director
  • Wellness program administrator

For More Information

For enrollment information, start here http://asuonline.asu.edu/dbh

For detailed information about the DBH curriculum, please browse our College of Health Solutions DBH website https://chs.asu.edu/programs/schools/doctor-behavioral-health/programs