banner image

Health Psychology Emphasis

Meeting Demands for Psychologists in Integrated Care

Ready to take the next step? Apply Now
Upcoming Admission Events Sign Up Here

There is an enormous and increasing need for clinical psychologists who are prepared to work effectively in medical settings. Physical and mental health are inextricably intertwined, and health care systems are struggling to provide comprehensive care.

Guided by empirical literature, PAU’s Health Psychology Area of Emphasis will prepare students with foundational knowledge and skills to conduct cutting-edge assessment, treatment, and consultation in interprofessional care environments.

Reducing Health Disparities

Health behavior are largely determined by structural and social factors.  Integration of psychologists into medical settings helps reduce health disparities for people of color, sexual and gender minorities, and others with marginalized identities by enhancing access to behavioral health services, reducing stigma, and facilitating holistic care.

Emphasis Objectives

  • Recruit, train, and mentor psychologists to thrive as clinicians, program developers, researchers, and future leaders in integrated health care settings.
  • Prepare psychologists who exhibit cultural humility, an understanding of structural, systemic, and social determinants of health, and the agency and skills to develop community- and population-level advocacy and intervention to reduce health disparities for people of color, individuals with minoritized sexual and gender identities, and those who hold other marginalized identities.
  • Provide psychologists with foundational knowledge and cutting-edge applied skills in core areas of Health Psychology/Integrated Care, including health behavior theories; understanding of medical culture; interprofessional consultation and teamwork; community- and population-level advocacy and intervention; and evidence-based assessment and intervention for common presenting problems in medical settings (e.g., chronic pain, insomnia, obesity, nicotine/alcohol/other substance use disorders, chronic illnesses such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease, life-threatening conditions such as cancer and HIV/AIDS).
  • Enhance psychologists’ understanding and practice of personal wellness and resiliency skills for self, patients, and other health care providers.

Emphasis Requirements

Students will complete coursework, research, and clinical training in Health Psychology and Integrated Care.

Mathew Cordova, PhD headshot
Matthew Cordova, PhD, Director, Health Psychology Emphasis Area, Core Full Professor

Dr. Cordova leads the Health Psychology Emphasis Area, training future psychologists to work effectively in integrated health care settings.


In addition to the basic program course requirements, students in this emphasis area must take three required courses and at least two elective courses:

Required Courses (all 3):
  • CLIN893: Provider Wellness
  • CLIN851: Health Psychology I
  • CLIN852: Health Psychology II
Elective Courses (at least 2):
  • CLIN835: Supervision, Administration, and Management in Behavioral Health
  • CLIN838: LGBTQ
  • CLIN839: Substance Use and Addictive Disorders
  • CLIN859: Clinical Emergencies and Crises: The Suicidal Patient
  • CLIN888: Clinical Practice of Pediatric Psychology
  • CLIN883: Mental Health Disparities
  • CLIN891: Psychology of Mindfulness and Meditation
  • BOTH of these 1.5 unit  courses:
    • PSYS541: Evidence-based Digital Interventions to Reduce Health Disparities
    • PSYS850: Technology and Mental Health for Children and Adolescents

Research Training

Students will complete a dissertation substantively related to the field of Health Psychology.

Clinical Training

Students will complete at least one year of field practicum placement or one predoctoral internship rotation, providing assessment and/or treatment in a Health Psychology/Integrated Care setting.

Eligibility & Completion

All PAU PhD students are eligible for the Health Psychology emphasis area. To complete this emphasis area, students must successfully complete all of the following:

  • All THREE required courses for the emphasis area
  • At least TWO electives in the emphasis area
  • A dissertation with a substantive focus on Health Psychology
  • At least ONE clinical practicum or predoctoral internship rotation in a health care setting
Students interested in completing the Health Psychology Area of Emphasis should contact Dr. Cordova to discuss their plan to complete the required coursework, practicum, and dissertation that meet the above requirements.