Debra Bruns

Associate Professor


  • Post Masters Certificate, Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, The University of Alabama, 2022
  • MSPH, Public Health, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 2009
  • PhD, Health Sciences, Touro University International, 2007
  • MSN, Community Health Nursing, Jacksonville State University, 2000
  • BSN, Bachelor Science in Nursing, The University of Alabama Huntsville, 1993


Dr. Bruns received her Ph.D. in Health Sciences with an emphasis in International Health and Epidemiology from Touro University. Her doctoral preparation included directed studies in the areas of statistics, health promotion, and disease prevention. She completed a National Research Service Award

(NRSA) Institutional Research Training Grant (T32) post-doctoral residency in Outcomes Research at the University of Alabama – Birmingham. Along with a Master of Science in Nursing she holds a Master of Science in Public Health and a post master’s certificate in Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. She is a board-certified Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Dr. Bruns has worked in a variety of patient care settings, including child and adolescent psychiatry, neurological trauma, critical care, and organ donation. She maintains a clinical practice at Children’s of Alabama Hospital in the Psychiatric Emergency Department. Currently she teaches Epidemiology, Health Policy and Politics, Population Health, research, and theory courses at the graduate level. She is Quality Matters certified instructor.

Dr. Bruns has published and presented nationally and internationally related to her research interest areas of psychiatric and mental health, international health promotion, community health promotion, and organ donation. Her research interest includes mental health of women and children, primary prevention of psychiatric illnesses, and maternal mortality. She is currently conducting research based in the Cuban health model of prevention and how to apply those methods in the United States.

In addition to her faculty responsibilities, Dr. Bruns is a member of the Alabama state Maternal Mortality Review Committee, the city of Birmingham Women’s

Initiative, and is the Chair of the University of Alabama Medical Institutional Review Board (IRB). She is involved in several professional organizations including SIGMA, American Public Health Association, and the Southern Nursing Research Society.

Areas of Interest

  • Health Promotion & Wellness
  • Mental Health
  • Social Determinants of Health & Health Disparities
  • Rural Health