The Certificate in Digital Health Promotion

Program Overview

The Certificate in Digital Health Promotion uses Psychology to build digital health promotion campaigns and interventions. Learn how to combine principles of psychology and health behavior change, to build more engaging digital health technologies and campaigns.

Over two days, Dr. Cugelman will teach you the key principles of digital behavior change, and show you how to build evidence-based online health behavior change interventions.

Whether you are building apps, online health promotion campaigns, social marketing campaign, educational website, or any other digital interventions, this workshop will provide you with a massive shopping list of evidence-based principles, and show you how to combine them into interventions that work.

Learning Outcomes

  • Apply principles form the behavioral sciences to your online technologies and campaigns
  • Analyze and design more persuasive websites, social media profiles, online campaigns and apps
  • Critically assess digital technologies, to quickly assess which ones are employing proven principles, and which are not
  • Reverse engineer the key factors that make popular technologies successful.Then use them for your campaign
  • Improve your existing technologies or campaigns, by identifying gaps and opportunities
  • Use prototyping tools to model complex multi-channel digital campaigns and user engagement processes
  • Use rapid testing, to quickly assess and improve your design work


Behavioural Science Made Practical

This workshop fuses knowledge from numerous fields into a simple package that is intuitive and practical. All ideas are presented at a conceptual level, with visuals models, practical examples, and many screenshots of websites, apps, social media campaigns, desktop software, and online ads. Moreover, you’ll learn Dr. Cugelman’s Interactive Influence Model, which is the most comprehensive and intuitive system for the design and analysis of digital intervention psychology.

The content is presented at a conceptual description, but it’s derived from a large body of research, including:

  • Behavioral sciences
  • Evidence-based behavioral medicine
  • Persuasive technology
  • Behavioral economics
  • Perception psychology
  • Motivational psychology
  • Evolutionary psychology
  • Marketing communications
  • Social marketing
  • Online marketing
  • Human computer interaction
  • Usability studies
  • And more

Why Attend

Human motivation has not changed much in hundreds of thousands of years. However, the way that people communicate with each other keeps on changing, as each new communication media presents new opportunities for people to communicate and interact with each other.

In our digitally connected world, thing that matters in persuasive technology is not the technology, but rather the way that human needs are expressed and satisfied through technologies. This workshop will show you the human side of technology, the deep psychological forces that are satisfied through computer mediated communication, and also, human computer interaction.

Research shows that online interventions can be twice as effective as traditional health promotion campaigns, with the average social marketing campaign impacting the behaviour of roughly 5% of the population [1], and online interventions impacting roughly 10% [2]. This workshop will show you the psychological factors that explain the power of digital media, and show you how to leverage it to improve your digital health promotion work.

Who Should Attend

This course is designed for persons who plan, build, and deploy health technologies or campaigns, including:

  •  Health Promotion/Public Health Promotion Specialists
  • Tech savvy health promotion specialists
  • Interactive designers working in the health or safety field
  • Digital marketers or community managers promoting health
  • Communication specialists
  • Health technology developers
  • Researchers

Not sure if you should take this course? Contact us to learn more: +1 (416) 736 2100 ext 22170 or


Obtain exclusive resources

Participants will learn to use Dr. Cugelman’s Persuasive Design Toolkit, a system that packages the leading behaviour change theories and science within a framework that is easy to understand and apply. You will also receive a copy of all slides, exercise handouts, and checklists.



[1] Snyder L. B. (2007). Health communication campaigns and their impact on behavior. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior 39(2) S32-S40.

[2] Cugelman, B., Thelwall, M., & Dawes, P. (2011) Online interventions for social marketing health behavior change campaigns: A meta-analysis of psychological architectures and adherence factors. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 13(1), e17.


Program Content

Day 1:

On the first day, you will learn how health behavior change psychology operates in digital media, gain a background in key theories, and start learning roughly 50 core principles of persuasive technology. Participants will enjoy a series of lectures followed-by group exercises designed to reinforce your ability to recognize how websites and mobile apps utilize interactive psychology to design health behavior change technologies.

Day 2:

The second day finishes the core curriculum on persuasive technology principles. After, participants learn to audit websites, mobile apps and social media, in order to develop skills reverse engineering the psychological principles that drive intervention efficacy. The following modules look at common design patterns, such as health risk screeners, longer-term processes of change, trackers, and more. This is followed by hands on evidence-based design, with exercises where participants prototype interventions, and then the workshop ends with a final module on using research to develop high impact digital interventions.




Brian Cugelman - PhD, MA

Senior Scientist and Director - AlterSpark

Since 1997, Brian has built an extensive career in social mobilization, digital campaigning, and program evaluation. Brian obtained his PhD in Online Social Marketing and his Masters in Business and Computers.

As a practitioner, the United Nations General Assembly has recognized the outcomes of his digital campaigning work. As a researcher, the world’s top e-health journal has published his research on the science of behaviour change technology. Then as a consultant, Brian has been invited to act as an expert advisor on digital engagement for the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Additionally, Brian received special invitations to train Samsung, Microsoft, Saleforce, and even the Pentagon to present his research to the Cyber Influence Project.



Schulich Executive Residence on Campus

The Executive Learning Centre features:
• 60 executive style guest rooms on 12 floors each with a queen size bed
• Complimentary high speed internet access
• In room coffee/tea maker
• Wheelchair accessible

Call Reservations: (416)-650-8300      Book on-line: E-mail:


“Brian’s workshop on ‘Health Behaviour Change Websites and Campaigns’ was extremely comprehensive. It was nice to attend a workshop that touched on so many evidence-based aspects of persuasion and behaviour change. From process to practice, this course touched it all. Looking forward to seeing future research from Dr. Cugelman.”

- Jason Haug, Program and Project Management Officer/Project Officer, Ottawa Public Health (Attended HBC in Ottawa 2014)

“This is one of the only workshops I’ve attended, on any topic, that has given me practical skills and tools I can apply in my role as a professional communicator.”

- Chris Sulymka, Communications Coordinator, University of British Columbia (Attended HBC in Vancouver 2014)

 “It’s hard to imagine someone more uniquely qualified and credible than Brian to guide on examination of where digital design principles and best practice for prompting behaviour change intersect.”

- Ian Parker, Health Promotion Coordinator, Yukon Government (Attended HBC in Vancouver 2014)

“Brian did a great job of presenting many interesting concepts backed by research.”

- Shauna Gammon, Lead User Experience Designer/Product Manager, Ayogo, Inc. (Attended HBC in Vancouver 2014)