About Us

What are Population and Public Health?

Population and public health looks at the big picture.

Rather than treating one patient at a time, public health works to find what causes disease and health issues, and then finds solutions for a community as a whole. Examples of public health measures range from Dr. John Snow removing a pump handle to stop the spread of cholera through contaminated water in London, to obesity prevention programs, policies to improve the cost-effectiveness and patient outcomes of health services, healthy city design, social and emotional learning programs for children, and asbestos removal from homes and workplaces.

As the Public Health Agency of Canada describes, public health “is the organized effort of society to keep persons healthy and prevent injury, illness and premature death. It is a combination of programs, services & policies that protect and promote the health of all Canadians.”

Population health focuses on specific populations, or communities, looking at the broad range of factors that influence health, called ‘social determinants.’ These factors include things like economic status, early childhood development, gender, and social structure. The World Health Organization refers to these as the conditions in which people are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life.

Our School has a strong history in population and public health

From faculty and students working on the front lines of the 2014 Ebola outbreak, to those working on the overdose crisis here in British Columbia, to researching the deadly effects of air pollution, and investigating the cost and benefits of universal coverage for pharmaceuticals, our faculty, students, and staff, work every day to help everyone achieve their best possible health, no matter who they are, where they live, or how much they earn.

Co-directors’ Message


Welcome to the School of Population and Public Heath at the University of British Columbia!

Our School, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Coast Mountains, and the vibrant city of Vancouver, provides a stimulating setting for research and learning. Our more than 350 students complete masters, doctorate, and residency programs investigating local and global health issues.

Our renowned faculty study diverse issues such as preventing and controlling epidemics, designing healthy cities, understanding health needs of distinct communities such as Indigenous peoples and sexual minorities, and investigating and improving the effectiveness of health systems.

Our School was established in 2008, and we look forward to the next decade so we can: continue to grow and develop, educate the next generation of public health scholars, and use our discoveries to improve the health of populations worldwide.

Professor Carolyn Gotay and Professor Chris Lovato, interim co-directors of the School of Population and Public Health



Milestones

  • 2008The School is created by the UBC Senate
  • 2009The inaugural strategic plan is released
  • 2010The School moves to own building at 2206 East Mall
  • 2011The School of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (SOEH) merges with School
  • 2012Several centres and units, such as Aboriginal Peoples’ Health, the Human Early Learning Partnership, the W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied Ethics, and Population Data BC become part of the School.
  • 2014The Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health is created.

Resources

Looking for policies, forms or committee information?

View our resource page >

Divisions

The School is organized in four Divisions, each acting as a nexus for SPPH faculty who share common research and interests, and also for internal governance and accountability.

Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Public Health Practice

This Division addresses the fundamentals and practice of biostatistics and epidemiology, and contributes to the understanding of the etiology and prevention of disease through excellence in research. It also integrates public health teaching, research and practice with a focus on improving well-being and preventing disease at a population level.

Division head: Jane Buxton

View page


Health in Populations

This Division addresses population health perspectives on improving the health and well-being of Indigenous peoples, women, children, youth and their families; and, the determinants of population health, including social, biological, and developmental forces, throughout the life course from birth to death.

Division head: Patricia Spittal

View page


Health Services and Policy

The Health Services and Policy Division addresses the organization, regulation, accessibility, utilization, and allocation of health care resources, and the resulting costs and health effects.

Division head: Boris Sobolev

View page


Occupational and Environmental Health

This Division focuses on health effects and prevention measures related to chemical, physical, biological, and psychosocial hazards, and to the design of buildings, workplaces and communities.

Division head: Mieke Koehoorn

View page


Our Strategic Plan

Dowload our Strategic Plan

SPPH Events

Grand Rounds
Grand Rounds, the School’s monthly seminar series, runs during the academic year. Presenters include both faculty, students, staff, and guest speakers.

OEH Seminars
The best of current research in the Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (OEH) field is presented at these weekly seminars. Attendance is mandatory for MSc OEH students.

UBC Learning Circle
UBC Learning Circle is a partnership between UBC’s Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health (CEIH) and the First Nations Health Authority. Attendance is by video conference or online webinar. Pre-registration is required.

News and Newsletters

 

 

Future health professionals receive new training to better care for Indigenous people
October 18, 2017Students from 11 of UBC’s health-related programs will come together for the first time for a new learning experience designed by the Centre for Excellence in Indigenous Health to help students better serve Indigenous people. Read More >

A lesson for Canada: Quebec pharmacare system creates winners and losers
October 10, 2017Quebec spends $200 more per person than the rest of Canada to provide prescription drug coverage to everyone in the province, finds new research that could inform plans for a nationwide universal drug plan. Read More >

Meet our alumni: Shannon Waters, PHPM Residency Program
September 27, 2017As a family doctor, Shannon Waters became frustrated at seeing people coming in to her clinic still unwell, despite having treated them previously. So she decided to pursue a residency in Public Health & Preventive Medicine. Read More >

New tool maps nature across Vancouver to boost mental health
September 27, 2017Emily Rugel, a PhD candidate at SPPH, has been studying the link between access to natural spaces and mental health. In a recently published study, Rugel created a Natural Space Index to more precisely measure exposure to nature across Metro Vancouver. Read More >

One step closer to a Hepatitis C vaccine
September 26, 2017New research has confirmed that infection with one hepatitis C virus type does not protect against subsequent infection with different types of the virus, and that a prophylactic vaccine consisting of a cocktail of virus types might be the way forward. Read More >

Early guidance can help future moms fight fear of childbirth
September 20, 2017A new University of British Columbia study suggests that providing women with early knowledge about pregnancy and childbirth could help reduce the numbers of unnecessary C-sections. Read More >

Health care, education key to keeping women out of prison
September 19, 2017Women in provincial prisons require health care to address trauma, addiction and chronic diseases in order to lower reincarceration rates, according to a new study that of women leaving a B.C. correctional centre. Read More >

Preventable dental problems land many in the emergency room
September 14, 2017More than 12,300 visits to B.C. emergency rooms (ER) every year for non-traumatic dental problems could be prevented if people had better access to dental care, according to new UBC research. Read More >

Meet Our Alumni: Matthew Carroll, MHSc
September 12, 2017Despite having never really heard of Edmonton before - other than how cold it always was - Matthew Carroll moved from Australia to the University of Alberta to take on his current role as an assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Alberta. Read More >

Back to School: Meet MHSc student Adriana Lima
September 5, 2017As part of the Back to School series, we spoke with Adriana Lima, a Master of Health Science student who is looking forward to new challenges after many years of clinical practice, and the diversity that UBC offers. Read More >

Contact Our Staff and Faculty

Academic Program Contact Information

MHA Program email Phone: 604 822-2366
MHSc Program email Phone: 604 822-5405
MPH Program email Phone: 604 822-9207
MSc Program email Phone: 604 822-5405
MSc OEH Program contact Phone: 604 822-2827
PhD Program email Phone: 604 822-5405
Residency Program email Phone: 604 822-7646

SPPH Contact Information

Faculty Directory
Staff Directory

More Contact Information 

UBC Directory
UBC Pt Grey Campus WayFinder
UBC Media Experts Guide
UBC Library

 

To send feedback on our website, e-mail the Senior Communications Specialist.