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Elaine Belansky, PhD 

Director, Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center & Associate Professor

Dr. Belansky is a social psychologist, a public health practitioner, community-engaged researcher, and educator.  She directs the Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center and Colorado Immersion Training in Community Engagement. Her research areas include studying how university and community partners can work together to translate evidence-based research into practice in school settings. She works with rural, low income schools in the San Luis Valley and southeastern Colorado to implement school-based environment and policy changes that support physical activity, healthy eating, mental health, and school engagement and decrease bullying, high risk sexual behavior, and drug use. Dr. Belansky has received funding from the CDC, NIH, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and The Colorado Health Foundation. 

Research Int​erests:

  • ​Child & Adolescent Health
  • Childhood Obesity Prevention
  • Physical Education
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
  • School Health
  • Community-Based Participatory Research
  • Dissemination and implemation strategies to shorten the research to practice gap

Courses Taught:

  • ​CBHS 6613: Program Planning and Implementation
  • Community-Based Participatory Research

Current Research Projects:

The Colorado Health Foundation:  Working to Improve School Health (WISH) (2016-2018):  The Rocky Mountain Prevention Research Center received a $1.1M gift from The Colorado Health Foundation to be a partner in ensuring all Colorado schools provide an environment and culture that promotes health and wellness equitably for students and staff by 2025.  Working to Improve School Health (WISH) is a two-year project led by Drs. Elaine Belansky and Ben Ingman and has four initiatives:

  • ​Provide grant writing assistance to 36 rural school districts serving 44,364 students in the San Luis Valley (SLV) and southeast Colorado (SEC) to help those districts receive "Creating Healthy Schools" funds from the Colorado Health Foundation.
  • Facilitate rural school districts across the SLV and SEC through the Assess, Identify, Make it Happen ("AIM XL") strategic planning process to develop district-level comprehensive health and wellness plans addressing physical, social-emotional, and academic health.
  • Train and support school health and wellness leaders across the state on AIM to increase opportunities for healthy eating, physical activity, health education, and staff wellness.
  • Participate in a research collaborative with Colorado State University and University of Northern Colorado to address important questions about school health in Colorado.


  • ​2009 President's Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Colorado
  • 2010 Distinguished Service Award, Colorado Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance 
  • 2012 Community-Based Participatory Research Award, National Community Committee, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


  • ​​Steering Committee Member, Healthy Schools
  • Successful Student Editorial Board, Youth and Society


  • University of Colorado, PhD, Psychology, 1994
  • University of Colorado, MA, Psychology, 1993
  • George Washington University, BA, Psychology, 1989 

Colorado School of Public Health

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