Basch, Charles E. (ceb35)

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Faculty Banner
Basch, Charles
Richard March Hoe Professor of Health and Education
Health & Behavior Studies

530A Thndk

Educational Background

B.S & M.S. State University of New York; Ph.D. Southern Illinois University

Scholarly Interests

Behavioral epidemiology. Health education program planning and evaluation. Urban and minority populations.

Link to Google Scholar, click here.

Selected Publications

Basch CH, Kecojevic A, Berdnik A, Cadorett V, Basch CE.  An Analysis of the Most Widely Viewed YouTube Videos on Anal Cancer.International Journal of Preventive Medicine. 2017. September 19. [Epub ahead of print]. PMID: 29026506

MacLean S, Basch CH, Reeves R, Basch CE.  Brief Report: Portrayal of Generalized Anxiety Disorder in YouTube videos. International Journalof Social Psychiatry. 2017. September 8. [Epub ahead of print]. 

Basch CH, Hillyer GC, Garcia P, Basch, CE. Clostridium difficile on YouTube: A need for greater focus on prevention. Journal of Infection and Public Health. 2017. August 26. [Epub ahead of print].  PMID: 28851505

Basch CH, Basch CE, Zybert P, Reeves R. What do Widely-Viewed YouTube Videos Say About Vaccines? Child: Care, Health & Development. 2017. January 19. [Epub ahead of print] 1-5. PMID: 28105642

Basch CH, Kecojevic A, Cadorett V, Basch CE. Advertisements for Children's Entertainment Products in a Popular Parenting Magazine: Sedentary or Active? Health Promotion Perspectives. 2017;7(1):47-49. PMID: 28058242 

Basch CH, Chun-Hai Fung I, Berdnik A, Basch CE. Widely Viewed English Language YouTube Videos Relating to Diabetic Retinopathy: A Cross-Sectional Study. Journal of Medical Internet Research: Diabetes. 2016;1(2):1-8.

Basch CH, Mongiovi J, Berdnik A, Basch CE.  The Most Popular YouTube Videos with Content Related to Multivitamins. Health Promotion Perspectives. 2016;6(4):213-216. PMID: 27766240

Basch CH, Menafro A, Mongiovi J, Hillyer GC, Basch CE. A Content Analysis of YouTube Videos Related to Prostate Cancer. American Journal of Men’s Health.  2016. September 29. [Epub ahead of print] 1-4. PMID: 27694554

Basch CH, Yarborough C, Trusty S, Basch CE. Use of Protective Gloves in Nail Salons in Manhattan, New York City. Journal of Preventive Medicine and Public Health. 2016,49:1-3. PMID: 27499167

Basch CH, Basch CE, Hillyer GC, Berdnik A. YouTube Videos Related to Human Papillomavirus: The Need for Professional Communication.International Journal of Adolescent Medicine and Health. 2016. April 9. [Epub ahead of print] 1-4. PMID: 27060736

Basch CH, Basch CE, Zybert P, Wolf RL. Failure of Colonoscopy Knowledge to Predict Colonoscopy Uptake. Journal of Community Health. 2016,41(5):1094-9. PMID: 27098522

Basch CH, Basch CE, Zybert P, Wolf RL. Fear as a Barrier to Asymptomatic Colonoscopy Screening in an Urban Minority Population With Health Insurance. Journal of Community Health. 2016,41(4):818-24. PMID: 26831486

Basch CH, Kecojevic A, Cadorett V, Zagnit EA, Basch CE.  Sedentary Images in a Popular U.S. Based Parenting Magazine: 2010-2015.Health Promotion Perspectives.  2016, 6(2), 55-57.  PMID: 27386418

Basch CH, Mongiovi J, Hillyer, GC, MacDonald Z, Basch CE. YouTube Videos Related to E-Cigarette Safety and Related Health Risks:  Implications for Preventing and Emerging Epidemic. Public Health. 2016; 132:57-9. PMID: 26826891

Wolf RL, Basch CE, Zybert P, Basch CH, Ullman R, Shmukler C, King F, Neugut AI.  The Effects of Patient Preferences on Colorectal Cancer Screening in an Urban Minority Population with Health Insurance. Journal of Community Health. 2016;41(3):502-8. PMID: 26585609

Basch CH, Wahrman MZ, Shah J, Guerra L, MacDonald Z, Marte M, Basch CE. Glove Changing When Handling Money: Observational and Microbiological Analysis. Journal of Community Health. 2016;41(2):334-9. PMID: 26463082




Charles E. Basch is the Richard March Hoe Professor of Health and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he has been teaching courses, mentoring students and conducting research for the past 33 years. He specializes in planning and evaluating health education programs for urban minority populations to reduce health and educational disparities. His work has focused on individuals, groups, organizations, and social media, but has a common theme of translating research into practice. The health and education programs he has developed and evaluated are philosophically grounded in informed voluntary decision-making and rely heavily on building strong interpersonal relationships. Basch has directed grant-funded research and program development (primarily supported by the National Institutes of Health), described in many peer-reviewed publications indexed by the National Library of Medicine.  He speaks throughout the United States about ways to break down the silos between education and health, and involve local schools, health agencies and community organizations to reduce health barriers learning; his recent presentations include audiences at the National Academy of Sciences, Education Commission of the States, National Education Association, and the Obama White House. For more detailed information and publications, please see Contribution to Science below.

Presentations 2013-present (*indicates keynote presentation)


*Health Disparities Conference, Teachers College, New York, NY, March 15, 2013.

*Healthy Schools Campaign Webinar, March 21, 2013

*Surgeon General Regina Benjamin’s Working Group on Education and Health, Washington, D.C., May 1, 2013

*Learning Connection Summit. Seattle, Washington. May 16, 2013

*Healthy Schools Leadership Retreat. Vail, Colorado. June 13-14, 2013

*Children’s Health Fund, Annual Meeting of National Network Providers:  Healthier Students are Better Learners, New York, NY (October 2013).

*Learning Connection Summit, Brooklyn, NY  (October 2013).

Interviewed for Tufts University Project Child Obesity 180 Documentary:  Breakfast and the Achievement Gap Among Urban Minority Youth (November 2013). 

Invited presentation:  Educationally Relevant Health Disparities and the Achievement Gap, American Public Health Association, Boston, MA (With DHHS Assistant Secretary Howard Koh, November, 2013).

Invited presentation:  The Path Forward for Children in New York City:  What We Know and Why It’s Important, New York City Summit on Children, Earth Institute, Columbia University, New York, NY (November, 2013).

*Colorado Association of School Nurses, Healthier Students are Better Learners, Loveland, CO (November, 2013) 

*Coordinated School Health Summit, State of Kentucky:  Healthier Students are Better Learners, Louisville, KY (December, 2013)

Children’s Health Fund, Washington, DC (May, 2014)

*Conditions for Learning Summit, State of Tennessee, Murphysboro, TN (May, 2014)

Invited Presenter, Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC (June, 2014)

*Working to Improve Student Health, Washington, DC (July 2014)

Children’s Health Fund, Annual Meeting of National Network Providers:  Healthier Students are Better Learners, New York, NY (October 2014).

*Nassau/Suffolk County Zone of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Healthier Students are Better Learners, Suffolk County, NY (November 2014)

*Oral Health Colorado, Improving Dental Health for Colorado Students, Denver (November 2014).

New York Public Radio Interview, Improving NYC Schools by Improving Students’ Health (January 2015).

*Health Disparities Conference, Teachers College, Columbia University, An Innovative Model for Addressing Health Barriers to Learning: Research, Practice and Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline (March 2015).

Interview with Associated Press on Breakfast in the Classroom (April 2015).

*Western New York Learning Connection, Healthier Students are Better Learners, Rochester, NY  (April 2015). 

*School Health & Wellness Summit, New Haven, CT Public School System, Healthier Students are Better Learners, New Haven, CT (June 2015) 

*Arkansas State Department of Education, Healthier Students are Better Learners, Little Rock, AK (June 2015)

Invited Speaker and Moderator, Education Commission of the States, Student Health and Academic Success:  Data Informed Practices, Denver, CO (June 2015) 

*New York Academy of Medicine, Healthier Students are Better Learners New York, NY (October 2015).

*New York University Langone Medical Center, Patient and Family Education Conference (October 2015)

*Healthier Students are Better Learners, New York Academy of Family Physicians (Lake Placid, NY, January 2016)

*Healthier Students are Better Learners, New England Dairy Council (Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA, March 2016) 

*Healthier Students are Better Learners, University of Wisconsin (Madison, WI, April 2016)

Discussion Moderator on behalf of the National Education Association, Champions of Change Recognition Ceremony hosted by Valerie Jarrett (Senior Advisor to the President); this event was conducted at the White House (Washington, DC, May, 2016)

Participant and Presenter, Educational Testing Service and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (Princeton, NJ, May 2016)

Poster Presentation, Digestive Disease Week, Sources of Information, Knowledge, and Barriers to Colonoscopy Screening (San Diego, CA, May 2016)

*National Webinar, Healthier Students are Better Learners, EdCount (June 2016)


Richard March Hoe Professor of Health and Education (1999- ) and Professor and Chair (1996-2007), Associate Professor (1988-1996), Assistant Professor (1984-1988), Department of Health and Behavior Studies, Teachers College, Columbia University, New York, NY.


Principal Investigator, Determinants of Diet and Physical Activity in Children. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.


Principal Investigator, Washington Heights-Inwood Healthy Heart Program.  Mary Lasker Heart and Hypertension Institute, New York State Health Department.


Principal Investigator, Behavioral Epidemiology of Diet-Related Cancer Risk Reduction Among Recently Immigrated Latino Families. Cancer Research Foundation of America.


Principal Investigator, Preventing Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Among Urban Hispanic Families. National Institute of Dental Research, National Institutes of Health.


Principal Investigator, Ophthalmic Complications Prevention Trial. National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.


Principal Investigator, Hispanic Heart Healthy Milk Program. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health.


Principal Investigator, Tailored Communications for Colorectal Cancer Screening.   National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.


Principal Investigator, Evaluating Alternative Retinopathy Screening Interventions. National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.


Principal Investigator, Promoting CRC Screening in a hard-to-reach, low-income minority population, American Cancer Society.


Principal Investigator, Planning a Stage II Trial to Prevent ECC Progression, National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, National Institutes of Health

My research addresses a wide range of public health problems across the lifespan, but shares a common theme of putting new knowledge into practice through behavioral epidemiology, program planning and evaluation, and implementation science.  Beginning in 1985, I worked with Dr. Zybert and colleagues at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) to conduct a prospective longitudinal study of Hispanic children’s diet and physical activity.  This study revealed that whole milk contributed 40% of children’s total daily saturated fat intake, which supported policies requiring low-fat milk in federally-funded school food programs, now mandated. Applying findings from that study, working with colleagues at CUMC, I directed the Washington Heights-Inwood Healthy Heart Program, a six-year community-wide cardiovascular disease prevention demonstration program (in the community for the proposed RCT).  My subsequent work focused on an RCT demonstrating the efficacy of an educational intervention to increase rates of retinopathy screening among African Americans with Diabetes Mellitus (with colleagues at Albert Einstein College of Medicine) and two RCTs demonstrating the efficacy of alternative approaches to increase colon cancer screening in a hard-to-reach, largely immigrant, population of health care workers in New York City (conducted with Drs. Zybert and Wolf and colleagues at CUMC).  These three RCTs (cited below) were among the first studies to demonstrate the value of direct interpersonal contact for affecting health behaviors among urban minority populations with low levels of literacy, the central strategy in the proposed RCT.  The intervention strategies we studied, such as  telephone outreach, have been widely adopted and used.  As a behavioral epidemiologist, my work has and continues to discover determinants of various health behaviors that are amenable to change through education and to conceptualize and implement behavioral interventions that are acceptable, feasible and effective, so that they will be widely disseminated and used to prevent disease and promote health.

Basch CE, Walker, EA, Howard CJ, Shamoon H, Zybert, PA. The effect of health education on the rate of ophthalmic examinations among African Americans with Diabetes Mellitus. Am J Public Health. 1999; 89: 1878-82.  PMID:10589324

Basch CE, Wolf RL, Brouse CH, Shmukler C, Neugut A, DeCarlo L, Shea S. Telephone outreach to increase colorectal cancer screening in an urban minority population. Am J Public Health. 2006; 96(12): 2246-53.  PMID: 17077394

Basch CE, Zybert P, Wolf RL, Basch CH, Ullman R, Shumkler C, King F, Neugut AI, Shea S. A randomized trial to compare alternative educational interventions to increase colorectal cancer screening in a hard-to-reach urban minority population with health insurance. J Community Health. 2015; 40(5): 975-83. PMID: 25850386

Four lines of research relevant to the proposed study have been conducted over the past three decades:  Implementation Science; Dietary Behavior in Hispanic Children; Behavioral Epidemiology and Health Education Theory and Practice; and Children’s Health and Academic Achievement.

Each is outlined below with respect to historical background that frames the scientific problem, central findings, influence of the findings on the progress of science or the application of the findings to health, and my specific role in the described work.

Implementation Science

My earliest work focused on implementation science and I continue to retain interest in continuing to contribute new knowledge in this area.  In 1984, I was commissioned by the NIH to write a White Paper on disseminating and implementing health education programs in schools.  That was a first attempt to apply what little was known about diffusion of innovations to the fields of public health and health education.  Related research emphasized the importance of measuring and monitoring implementation fidelity to enhance the validity of outcome evaluations (as in proposed RCT), and improving understanding about attributes of innovations and dissemination methods that increase the likelihood that innovations will be acceptable to their intended target population, feasible to implement, and effective.   This research was conducted with my colleagues and mentors from Southern Illinois University.

Basch CE, Sliepcevich EM. Innovators, innovations and implementation: A framework for curricular research on school health education. Health Educ. 1983; 14(2): 20-24.  PMID: 6443902

Basch CE. Research on disseminating and implementing health education programs in schools. In proceedings of the National Conference on School Health Education Research in the Heart, Lung, and Blood Areas, School Health Research, and combined issue of J Sch Health.1984; 54(6) and Health Educ.1984; 15(4): 57-66. PMID: 6565121

Basch CE, Sliepcevich EM, Gold RS, Duncan DF, Kolbe LJ.  Avoiding type III errors in health education program evaluations: A case study. Health Educ Q. 1985; 12(4): 315-331. PMID: 407544

Basch CE, Eveland JD, Portnoy B. Diffusion systems for education and learning about health. Fam Community Health. 1986; 9(2): 1-26. PMID: 10280098 

Dietary Behavior in Hispanic Children

In the 1980s little data had been collected to describe the dietary patterns of Hispanic immigrant families in New York City, and there were no published studies on the reliability or validity of dietary behavior measurements.  We filled these gaps in knowledge through a 6-year prospective observational study involving ~240 Hispanic parent/child dyads from whom we collected dietary (and other) data through 18 in-person visits to our field site in northern Manhattan, the location for the proposed RCT.  There were many distinct scientific contributions from this study, which yielded over 30 publications in the biomedical and public health literature.  Those most relevant to the proposed RCT are demonstrating the reliability and validity of dietary measurements in young Hispanic children, and identifying low-fat milk as the primary source of saturated fat intake.  Findings from this study contributed to national policy changes in the availability of low-fat milk in the nation’s multi-billion dollar school breakfast and lunch programs serving Title I schools.  This work also demonstrated the importance of analyzing dietary behavior patterns and food sources rather than only nutrient intakes.  My role was Principal Investigator.

Basch CE, Shea S, Arliss R, Contento IR, Rips J, Gutin B, Irigoyen M, Zybert P. Validation of mothers’ reports of dietary intake by four to seven year-old children. Am J Public Health. 1990; 81(11): 1314-1317. PMID: 2240296

Basch CE, Shea S, Zybert P. Food sources, dietary behavior and the saturated fat intake of Latino children. Am J Public Health. 1992; 82(6): 810-815. PMID: 1580243

Basch CE, Zybert P, Shea S. 5-A-DAY: Food sources, dietary behavior and the fruit and vegetable intake of Latino children. Am J Public Health. 1994; 84(5): 814-818. PMID: 8179054.

Basch CE, Shea S, Zybert P. The reproducibility of a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire among low-income Hispanic mothers and children. Am J Public Health. 1994; 84(5): 860-863. PMID: 8179065

Behavioral Epidemiology and Health Education Theory and Practice.

One of the greatest challenges and limitations in health education practice is that the causal mechanisms explaining why interventions work are not well understood.  The field has moved away from a nomothetic conceptualization of health behavior—thinking that behavior patterns of a group can be understood in one way—to recognizing their idiosyncratic nature.  Nevertheless, the status quo in the continuum of research is that even when rigorous efficacy trials demonstrate that interventions can work, in too many cases they do not confer benefits to their intended population because they are too time consuming, costly, complicated or otherwise unacceptable and unfeasible.  Understanding the causal mechanisms—constructs that explain what works for whom—results in defining innovations that are much easier to translate to the public because they enable flexibility in accomplishing goals rather than requiring strict adherence to highly scripted implementation protocols.  The main contribution of my work in this area has been to develop behavioral measurement methods to improve understanding about the acquisition and maintenance of health behaviors.  Findings reveal the importance of understanding the ‘models of rationality’ used by individuals to form health habits.  In turn, this has informed approaches to intervention development, which is philosophically and ethically grounded in helping people make informed decisions about health.  Most of this work was conducted independently.

Basch CE, Gold RS. The validity of reliability assessments. J School Health. 1985; 55(5): 191-195. PMID: 3847676.

Basch CE. Focus group interview: An underutilized research technique for improving theory and practice in health education. Health Educ Q 1987; 14(4): 409-446. PMID: 3319971

Basch CE. Preventing AIDS through education: Concepts, strategies and research priorities. J Sch Health. 1989; 59(7): 296-300. PMID: 2796306

Basch CE, De Cicco IM, Malfetti JL. A focus group study on decision processes of young drivers: Reasons that may support a decision to drink and drive. Health Educ Q. 1989; 16(3): 389-396. PMID: 2793494

Children’s health and academic achievement

Schools are one of the most powerful social institutions that shape the lives of youth.  But schools have never embraced addressing students’ health needs as fundamental to their mission.  The central finding from my research, which integrates cross-disciplinary knowledge from fields ranging from molecular biology and neurosciences to child development and public health, is that health barriers to learning exert powerful, yet largely overlooked, effects on children’s life trajectories. A second central finding was that academic achievement among urban minority youth is affected simultaneously by multiple health problems that have synergistic effects, and, therefore, a set of problems affecting youth must be addressed to increase the magnitude and consistency of effects on academic achievement.  This is antithetical to current research, evaluation, policy and practice that address students’ health problems in a categorical way.  A third original contribution to science was to delineate the causal pathways through with specific health problems affect academic achievement—sensory perceptions, cognition, school connectedness, absenteeism, and dropping out. This line of research is a priority for improving the health of the nation because educational attainment is one of the strongest predictors of overall health status, quality of life and longevity.  I have been fortunate to assist school systems in many parts of the United States to develop policies and practices addressing children’s health problems that, in turn, influence their access to educational opportunity and their life trajectories.  This work has largely been conducted on my own, and taken the form of knowledge synthesis, and increasing awareness and interest about the reciprocal causal relationships in the health—education connection, for example through consultation and presentations with the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences; Surgeon General’s Working Group on Education and Health; National Coordinating Committee on School Health and Safety; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; many state and urban education agencies; many professional organizations; National Conference of State Legislators; Education Commission of the States; Educational Testing Service; National Public Radio (WNYC); and, most recently, the White House.  This work is primarily conducted independently.

Basch CE.  Healthier Students are Better Learners:  A missing Link in School Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap.  Reprt commissioned by the Campaign for Educational Equity.  New York:  Teachers College, Columbia University, 2010, pp. 1-106.  ( 

Basch CE. Healthier students are better learners: high-quality, strategically planned, and effectively coordinated school health programs must be a fundamental mission of schools to help close the achievement gap. J Sch Health. 2011; 81(10): 650–62. PMID: 21923878.

Basch CE, Basch CH, Ruggles KV, Rajan S. Prevalence of sleep duration on an average school night among 4 nationally representative successive samples of American high school students, 2007-2013. Prev Chronic Dis. 2014; 11(E216): no pp, epub. PMID: 25496556

Basch CE, Gracy D, Johnson D, Fabian A.  Health barriers to learning and the education opportunity gap.  Progress of Educational Reform 2015;15(3)1-8.  Report commissioned by the Education Commission of the States ( ).  


Related Articles


Phone Them and They Will Come

Telephone outreach can dramatically increase the incidence of screening for colorectal cancer (CRC) in an urban minority population, according to a new study led by Charles Basch, TC's Richard March Hoe Professor of Psychology and Education.


TC's Basch Participates in White House Meeting on "Let's Move" Initiative

Charles Basch, Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education, was one of a small group of people from around the nation to participate in a meeting at the White House on April 9th that focused on First Lady Michelle Obama's "Let's Move" campaign to prevent childhood obesity.


Effective Learning Requires Healthy Bodies and Minds, Says Chuck Basch

Ahead of Dr. Howell Wechsler's annual Tisch lecture on Feb. 12, Basch and Wechsler tell C.M. Rubin, Huffington Post, that health issues prominent among low-income urban minority youth, limit their motivation and ability to learn.


Citing Research by TC's Basch, PediaVision to Give Free Children's Vision Screenings in Florida

Basch's 2010 research about the need for schools to provide health care and counseling to low-income students sparked the project.


"Healthy Kids Learn Better," TC's Chuck Basch Tells a Boston Public School Conference

The Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education spoke about the connection of health care, nutrition and other support services to academic success for low-income students.


Writing the Book on School Health

The October issue of the Journal of School Health focuses on closing the achievement gap. The material all comes from Teachers College


Basch's Health Research Cited in Huffington Post Piece

A piece in The Huffington Post by physician and best-selling author Mark Hyman cites "landmark" work by TC health education faculty member Charles Basch in documenting "the self-evident premise that kids' brains don't work if they don't eat well and don't move their bodies. Basch's 2009 paper, Healthier Students are Better Learners: A Missing Link in Schools Reforms to Close the Achievement Gap, brings together a wealth of information about a group of health issues that disproportionately affect the academic performance of students from poor and minority backgrounds.


TC's Basch Meets with U.S. Education Secretary to Outline Health Strategies

Charles Basch, TC's Richard March Hoe Professor of Health Education, was one of four experts who met recently with U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to discuss the connection between health disparities and the minority achievement gap and propose ways that schools can promote student health and wellness.


Compelling Evidence for Mounting a Nationally Coordinated School Health Effort

TC's Charles Basch details the impact of seven educationally relevant health disparities - and how they affect students' school performance. Click here to see the video of Basch, Matt Yale of the U.S. Department of Education, Howell Wechsler of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Jane Quinn of the Children's Aid Society. Click here to access a study by Basch on this subject, and click here for summary slides of the study.


Healthier Students Are Better Learners: A Missing Link in Efforts to Close the Achievement Gap

The Campaign for Educational Equity releases today the latest report in its Equity Matters series,"Healthier Students Are Better Learners." The report focuses on "educationally relevant health disparities" in seven areas -- vision; asthma; teen pregnancy; aggression and violence; physical activity; breakfast; and inattention and hyperactivity -- that disproportionately affect the educational opportunities and outcomes of urban minority youth.