Dr. Scott Walters
Regents Professor, Department of Health Behavior and Health Systems
Education & Experience:
I received my BA from Biola University, MA from San Diego State University, and PhD in clinical psychology from the University of New Mexico. I completed a clinical internship at the Boston Consortium in Clinical Psychology. Prior to joining UNT Health Science Center, I held positions as Assistant and Associate Professor at the University of Texas School of Public Health.
Teaching Areas & Public Health Interests:
I’ve been teaching courses at the college and graduate level for more than 20 years. At the undergraduate level, I taught introductory psychology, honors psychology, psychology of well-being and introductory statistics. At the graduate level, I taught courses on addictive behavior, thesis preparation, practice in health behavior change, motivational interviewing and theories of behavior change. My goal as a teacher is to help students connect different concepts, problem solve and apply the skills they have learned. To this aim, my courses involve a mix of didactic lecture, multimedia, discussion and experiential activities. I’ve received teaching awards from the University of New Mexico, the University of Texas School of Public Health, and the University of North Texas Health Science Center.
Professional Activities & Awards:
The translation of research into practice is an important, if often neglected, task. In addition to research, I’ve led a number of activities to help providers, agencies and systems adopt evidence-based practices. I’ve conducted more than 200 trainings for criminal justice workers, counselors and healthcare professionals in motivational and brief intervention strategies. I’ve written two books specifically for front-line providers, including college health workers (Talking with College Students about Alcohol: Motivational Strategies for Reducing Abuse) and criminal justice staff (Motivating Offenders to Change: A Guide for Probation and Parole). Finally, I’ve served as a consultant to develop Internet and mobile interventions for a variety of health behaviors, including commercially-available programs for alcohol and drug use, such as the e-CHECKUP TO GO programs that are site licensed by more than 600 colleges internationally.
My research looks at ways to use motivational interviewing and technology as behavioral health interventions. My experience ranges from brief interventions for underage drinking, to adults in the criminal justice system, to heavy drinkers in hospital settings, to people at risk of cancer or genetic disorders, to community-based health navigation. My current projects are testing ways to improve cancer risk screening, vocational success for veterans with a criminal history, alcohol interventions for adolescents, young adults and the homeless, and health advocacy for victims of interpersonal violence. I also serve as the Steering Committee Chair for the HEALing Communities Study, which is developing a national model to address the opioid crisis.