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

Professor Craig Mitton, interim director of the School of Population and Public Health

Welcome to the School of Population and Public Health 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 Peter Berman has been appointed Director, School of Population and Public Health, effective January 1st 2019



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: Jacek Kopec

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Global Health
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.

 

News and Newsletters

 

 

World policy-makers cite UBC-CFRI research in approving fewer HPV vaccine doses
April 10, 2014The WHO and European Community have endorsed two doses, which is likely to boost usage. Read More >

World Health Day: Tiny bugs, big health threat
April 7, 2014Mosquitoes can spread diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and West Nile Virus. Photo: James Gathany, CDC. Read More >

Cooking class study seeks to increase health outcomes for prostate cancer survivors and their partners
April 7, 2014Funding from the Canadian Cancer Society supports a study aimed at increasing health for prostate cancer survivors through an innovative cooking class intervention. Read More >

Students win in Round 1 of Canadian Evaluation Society annual Case Competition
April 2, 2014SPPH students Jackie Siegel, Zahra Remtulla, Petra Lolic, Laura Ball, and Crystal Sun form team which will compete in finals in June. Read More >

Sugary drinks weigh heavily on teenage obesity
March 26, 2014Students in B.C. schools where sugary drinks were available consumed them more often and were more likely to be obese on the BMI scale, according to new research. Photo: DdEeBb, iStock. Read More >

Canadians spend more on private health insurance for smaller payouts
March 24, 2014A new study found that Canadians paid $6.8 billion more in premiums than they received in benefits in 2011. Photo: David Barcroft, iStockphoto Read More >

Texting for HIV care in Kenya receives Grand Challenges funding
March 6, 2014The grant will enable expansion of a texting program to HIV patients in rural, remote parts of Kenya, increasing the likelihood that they remain on anti-viral therapy. Read More >

New leadership and CIHR funding renewal for CTN
March 5, 2014Dr. Aslam Anis takes over as National Director of CTN as it enjoys a funding renewal from CIHR to the tune of $22.75 million over five years . Read More >

South African healthcare workers face greater risk for TB, HIV
February 14, 2014UBC’s Annalee Yassi is helping South Africa implement World Health Organization occupational health guidelines. Photo: Martin Dee Read More >

Air pollution and asthma
January 30, 2014Depending on your genes, traffic-related air pollution can double the risk of asthma. Photo: Wikimedia Commons 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: 604 827-5470
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

 

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