Department of Health and Human Development

An older adult and a younger adult practice health exercises

Who We Are

The Department of Health and Human Development (HHD) blends wellness and healthy life principles with applied developmental science and evidence-based practices to address 21st century problems in diverse, real-world contexts.  Interdisciplinary professionals in HHD apply recommended practices to support our most vulnerable children, youth, and adults in education, healthcare, and human service settings. Our interdisciplinary emphasis enables emerging professionals to become effective leaders by fusing strategies in health and developmental science to address real-world inequities through effective interdisciplinary collaboration. Our work is rooted in social justice, individual potential, equity, and inclusion for all. 

What We Do

HHD professionals are leaders who enhance wellness across the lifespan by fusing expertise in applied developmental science and health.  Our HHD professionals…

  • Are equipped for leadership, development, and wellness through an equity lens
  • Apply real-world research to design innovative interventions to help all children, youth, adults, and families, especially those who are most vulnerable
  • Examine the needs for changes in systems and contexts to help all citizens within urban, suburban, and rural settings to thrive
  • Create evaluations and interventions that address structural inequalities to well-being in everyday life settings and routines
  • Engage in community-engaged practice partnerships to blend research and practice to positively impact the lives of individuals and programs in the community
  • Collaborate with policy-makers and government leaders to incorporate developmental and health-focused thinking into decision-making about policies, regulations, and supportive services

Who You Will Become

Pitt HHD students will embrace the primacy of responsive relationships as the basis for personal growth, teamwork, and life success.  As Pitt HHD students, you will become…

  • Future leaders in your chosen specializations by modelling ethical behavior and equitable professional practices
  • Specialized professionals with competencies in both applied service and applied research
  • Enlightened professionals with career directions in applied developmental psychology (e.g., children with special healthcare needs-child life, behavioral health, infant mental health, child and youth development, program evaluation), exercise science and physiology, early childhood intervention
  • Committed professionals who understand the importance of enlightened public policies and who use social advocacy as a tool for our promoting the progress of our most vulnerable citizens.

Supported Academic Programs

Our HHD Community Partners

The faculty of HHD have numerous community partners who play very important roles in the lives of our students and our professional lives for internships, service, research, and advocacy.  We recognize some of the most enduring ones:

  • Pittsburgh Public Schools
  • Carnegie Museum of Natural History
  • 47 Allegheny County School Districts
  • Council of Three Rivers American Indian Center
  • Pennsylvania Training & Technical Assistance Network (PATTAN)
  • Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education
  • The LEND Center at the UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
  • Homewood Children’s Village
  • Alliance for Infants and Toddlers, Inc.
  • Allegheny County Department of Human Services
  • Pace School
  • Propel Schools
  • Allegheny Intermediate Unit (AIU)#3
  • Education Law Center
  • The Arc of Pennsylvania
  • Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST)
  • The Children’s Institute of Pittsburgh
  • Child’s Way
  • Our Clubhouse
  • Boys and Girls Clubs of America
  • Sarah Heinz House
  • Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh
  • The Fred Rogers Company

Related Outreach and Collaboration

Department Faculty

Thomas Farmer (Chair)

Kelliann Davis (Associate Chair)

Elizabeth Nagle (Associate Chair)

Thomas Akiva

Heather Bachman

Stephen Bagnato

April Chambers

Kevin Crowley

Carl Fertman

Laura Fonzi

Brian Galla

Robert Gallen

Bethany Barone Gibbs

Susan Gillis Kruman

Fredric Goss

Anne Hays

John Jakicic

Mary Margaret Kerr

Roger Klein

Christopher Kline

Diana Knoll

Bridget Lee

Carli Liguori

Kevin McLaughlin

Esohe Osai

Cynthia Popovich

Renee Rogers

Sharon Ross

Sally Sherman

Carma Sprowls-Repcheck

Tanner LeBaron Wallace

Ming-Te Wang

Shannon Beth Wanless