About Us

What are Population and Public Health?

Population and public health look 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.

Director’s Message

Dr. Peter Berman

Welcome to the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia! As a new arrival myself to UBC and Vancouver, I am delighted to share with you my excitement and enthusiasm for our school, university, and field of study.

Our School, bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Coast Mountains, and the vibrant city of Vancouver, provides a beautiful and stimulating setting for research, learning, and action to improve the public’s health. More than 350 students complete masters, doctorates, and residency programs investigating local and global health issues. Our excellent 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. We are fortunate to dedicate ourselves to improving human well-being at the intersection of knowledge and social change.

SPPH is noting its tenth anniversary as a school, having been established in 2008.  The coming years will be filled with dynamic opportunities to grow and develop, educate the next generation of public health scholars and activists, and use our discoveries to improve the health of populations worldwide. Come on in and learn more about us!

Dr. Peter Berman of the School of Population and Public Health


  • 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.


Looking for policies, forms or committee information?

View our resource page >


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: Jacek Kopec

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 faculty, students, staff, and guest speakers, who share new and innovative research, and current issues in population and public health.

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



Hear from students and alumni in our research and professional graduate programs
November 26, 2018Hear their stories and find out why we’re one of the top public health schools in Canada. Read More >

Celebrating our 2018 SPPH Fall Graduates
November 26, 2018Congratulations to all the School of Population and Public Health’s 2018 Fall graduates! Students will have their degree conferred this Friday, November 30. Read More >

People recently released from prison face challenges in accessing medical care
November 22, 2018The findings suggest that discrimination on the basis of imprisonment is a significant barrier for people trying to access physician care upon release. Read More >

Combating antimicrobial resistance with World Antibiotic Awareness Week, November 12-18, 2018
November 15, 2018Scientists say drug-resistant bacteria could become a greater threat to human health than cancer or diabetes, but most people don’t know it. Read More >

Meet Our Alumni: Scott Emerson, MSc
October 18, 2018  Scott Emerson graduated from the Master of Science (MSc) program at the School of Population and Public Health in early 2018, and is now a Research Coordinator at UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP), a collaborative, interdisciplinary research network that focuses on complex early child development (ECD) topics. “From a career perspective, the most […] Read More >

SPPH’s Dr. Gina Ogilvie is lead author on paper that finds no association between HPV vaccination and risky sexual behaviours
October 15, 2018The study provides an evaluation of population-level changes in sexual behaviours among adolescents before and after implementation of the HPV vaccination program in British Columbia schools.  Read More >

SPPH’s Jennifer Gardy and Professor Santa Ono Host UBC Blue & Goldcast
September 19, 2018The Blue and Goldcast is a monthly podcast cohosted by Jennifer Gardy and Santa Ono.  Jennifer is an assistant professor at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, a Canada Research Chair in Public Health Genomics, and a Senior Scientist at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control. And she’s a talented communicator, acting as […] Read More >

SPPH Grand Rounds Begin Friday September 21st
September 19, 2018SPPH Rounds: Where Matters: Health and Economic Impacts of the Built and Natural Environment Speakers: Larry Frank, James Lu, James Stiver and Lyle Walker Date: September 21, 2018 Time: 9:00 – 10:00 am Location: Michael Smith Laboratories Room 102 Read More >

SPPH recognizes our Postdoctoral fellows for National Postdoc Appreciation Week
September 14, 2018"I hope this research can help reshape the prevailing dementia narratives of disability and decline to a new narrative of capability and capacity." Postdoctoral Fellow Gloria Puurveen Read More >

SPPH Professor Dr. Boris Sobolev’s Hip Fracture Study
September 13, 2018“Our study was concerned with effects of possible changes in policy for the timing of surgery on mortality in the population of patients with hip fracture in Canada,” says lead author Boris Sobolev, a Professor in the School of Population and Public Health. 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.