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

 

 

Professor Jean Shoveller appointed to CIHR Governing Council
January 5, 2018School of Population and Public Health Professor Jean Shoveller has been appointed to the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Governing Council. Read More >

Older patients and families could pay the price of slowing health care spending
January 2, 2018Canada and British Columbia are no exceptions to the worldwide trend of smaller increases to health-care spending. But the impacts of slowing growth in health-care spending should be examined, according to new research by Associate Professor Kimberlyn McGrail. Photo credit: StockSnap/Pixabay Read More >

Research Highlight: Saving lives through interventions that address pre-eclampsia
December 7, 2017Professor Joel Singer outlines how the Gates Foundation-funded CLIP cluster randomized controlled trial aims to save lives through community-level interventions that address pre-eclampsia. Photo credit: Pexels/Pixabay Read More >

Battling zombies with brains: SPPH celebrates career of Professor Emeritus Morris Barer
December 6, 2017Professor Emeritus Morris Barer has been battling zombies for much of his career. But forget cricket bats and crossbows: for 40 years, Dr. Barer has been using health services and policy research to deal with ‘health care zombies’ Read More >

Meet Our Graduates: The importance of lived experience and an open mind
November 30, 2017Master of Public Health graduate Jennifer Lee discusses why lived experience is a form of expertise that is just as or more important than letters behind a name. Read More >

SPPH community helping to launch BC Global Health network
November 29, 2017School of Population and Public Health students, faculty, and alumni are helping to launch a global health network in British Columbia. Read More >

Meet Our Graduates: How flushing toilets can spread infection – and UV light can kill it
November 27, 2017MSc OEH graduate Jesse Cooper explains why his research looking at how flushing toilets can contribute to pathogen transmission in healthcare facilities could help stop infections and protect patients. Read More >

Research Highlight: Investigating how children’s health behaviour changes when starting high school
November 22, 2017Research Highlight: Professor Louise Masse's project will examine how physical activity, sedentary behaviour and diet changes when children move from elementary to high school, with the potential to change unhealthy behaviours seen during this period. Photo credit: stevepb/Pixabay Read More >

Study finds no added risk for home births in rural areas
November 20, 2017Elizabeth Nethery, a PhD student in the school of population and public health, compared the outcomes for rural women who have babies at home to those in other, more populated, parts of the U.S., to investigate access to care in rural areas. Photo credit: Jason Lander / flickr. This photo has been cropped 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 

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UBC Media Experts Guide
UBC Library

 

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