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


  • 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?

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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

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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.

News and Newsletters



Fetal reduction in multi-fetal pregnancies associated with better birth outcomes
May 8, 2017Faculty of Medicine researchers have found that reducing twin and triplet pregnancies to singleton or twin pregnancies was associated with a substantial reduction in complications, such as pre-term birth and very pre-term birth. Read More >

Understanding how to prevent cancer, 300,000 people at a time
May 5, 2017A pan-Canadian project involving more than 300,000 volunteers providing health information over 30 years is “open for business,” with a third round of funding beginning in April. Read More >

Betting on excellence: Mike Marin wins UBC Killam Teaching prize
May 1, 2017SPPH senior instructor Mike Marin has been recognized for excellence in teaching with a 2017 UBC Killam Teaching Prize, and details how a love of games of chance set him on the path to outstanding statistics teaching. Read More >

UBC study confirms that two doses of HPV vaccine provide long-lasting protection
April 28, 2017University of British Columbia researchers have provided the most conclusive evidence that two doses of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine provides just as much protection – for as long as five years – as the previous standard regimen of three doses. Read More >

Seven faculty and one staff member receive Long Service awards
April 27, 2017Seven School of Population and Public Health faculty members and one staff member have received Long Service awards - congratulations to the award winners! Read More >

Tool launched to help parents allow ‘risky play’
April 20, 2017A free online tool to encourage parents to allow their children to take part in ‘risky play’ is now live, developed by School of Population and Public Health and Department of Pediatrics Associate Professor Mariana Brussoni and her team. Read More >

Michael Brauer named 2017-2018 Wall Scholar
April 12, 2017Professor Michael Brauer is one of 10 Peter Wall Institute Wall Scholars for 2017-2018, and will research the relationships between health and the design of cities, and the delivery of city services. Read More >

SPPH signs Memorandum of Understanding with Hunan Provincial Department of Education
April 11, 2017The School of Population and Public Health has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Hunan Provincial Department of Education, with both organizations expressing a wish for future collaboration. Read More >

MSc OEH student Noreen Ma wins American Industrial Hygiene Association award
April 7, 2017Master of Science in Occupational and Environmental Hygiene (MSc OEH) student Noreen Ma has won the A.L. Reigert award, adjudicated by the BC Yukon American Industrial Hygiene Association. Read More >

Consumer behaviour causing premature deaths from air pollution
March 29, 2017Professor Michael Brauer is drawing attention to the human cost of our consumer behaviour by examining the number of deaths caused by air pollution from manufacturing goods. Credit: DaiLou/Flickr 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


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