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.


  • 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: 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: Arminee Kazanjian (Interim)

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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: Chris McLeod

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Director’s Message

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. Our School’s students, staff and faculty are deeply committed to improving the health of populations locally, nationally, and globally, and are consistently at the leading edge of innovation in teaching and research in this field.

I am thrilled you are interested in learning more.
Our School’s work addresses major challenges to peoples’ well-being, such as the need for greater health system effectiveness; the growing epidemics of non-communicable diseases; the human costs of substance use and poor mental health; and the challenge of creating and sustaining a healthy environment. We pay special attention to closing the gap to meet the needs of marginalized and disadvantaged populations.

The School of Population and Public Health draws on extraordinary resources from diverse fields of study to inform the next generation of public health professionals, researchers, and advocates. Engaging our world-class faculty, students, and staff, we transform our work from studies that we do into problems that we solve.

As the new Director of the School of Population and Public Health, I have found an exciting environment of excellence and ambition to make the world a better place. Our School recently noted its tenth anniversary and celebrated its birthday by being named one of the top global universities for social sciences and public health in 2019. We are fast becoming a destination where students obtain the best public health education in the world; and where faculty collaborate on solving today’s local, national and international public health issues. As we move into our School’s second decade, we will continue to expand our global presence and grow and engage with new and existing collaborators and partners.

The School of Population and Public Health is grateful to the University of British Columbia and our donors, collaborators, partners and friends. With your continued support, we look forward to the next ten years and beyond!

To contact Dr. Berman, please email executive.assistant@spph.ubc.ca

Dr. Peter Berman CV

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
Global Health events at SPPH bring expert and diverse multidisciplinary speakers from across UBC to share their expertise on global health equity and related topics. Events run throughout the academic year and provide students with opportunities to enrich their global health learning.

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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News and Newsletters



Congratulations to Dr. Perry Kendall on his recent appointment to the Order of Canada!
October 10, 2019Congratulations to Dr. Perry Kendall on his recent appointment to the Order of Canada! Read More >

Congratulations to SPPH Professor Shoveller on her new role
October 2, 2019  The School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) celebrates the career of Professor Jean Shoveller and wishes her well as she assumes the role of Vice President of Research and Innovation at the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Nova Scotia starting January 2020. Dr. Shoveller began her UBC career in 1999 as an Assistant […] Read More >

SPPH Director Releases New Edition of Seminal Book on Health System Reform
September 10, 2019The School of Population and Public Health is thrilled to announce the release of the third edition of Getting Health Reform Right: A Guide to Improving Performance and Equity, a book on health system performance in low- and middle-income countries co-authored by the recently appointed Director of SPPH, Prof. Peter Berman. First published in 2004 […] Read More >

Voices in Health: Upcoming Event
September 6, 2019EVENT DETAILS Date: Monday, October 28, 2019 Time: 4:00-6:00pm Location: Room B151, 2206 East Mall TOPIC Health policies have both direct and indirect consequences on population health. They can increase intervention uptake, facilitating healthier populations; while simultaneously generating non-health benefits, like the enhancement of equity and reduction of poverty. Traditionally, health economists have used cost-effectiveness analysis […] Read More >

2019 Canada Graduate Scholarships
August 27, 2019The Canada Graduate Scholarships are awarded to students who demonstrate a high standard of achievement in their studies on a Master’s or Doctoral level. The objective of this competition is to allow individuals to become fully immersed in their exceptional health research by providing financial support to select applicants. This year, an award of $17,500 […] Read More >

2019 MSFHR Health Professional Investigator Awards
August 21, 2019The 2019 recipients of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) Health Professional-Investigator (HP-I) awards have been granted funding for their work and research in direct patient care. School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) Associate Member Dr. James Johnston is among the 11 awardees. A tuberculosis physician at the British Columbia Centre for […] Read More >

Plaque Unveiling – Roberta Ellis Award
August 20, 2019The Roberta Ellis Award is bestowed annually to one student from SPPH who has demonstrated excellence in coursework, practicum, or research in the area of occupational and environmental health. Read More >

Reducing stigma saves lives
August 1, 2019Several UBC researchers are featured in a recent UBC story for their contributions to find solutions to the overdose crisis. Among them is SPPH Professor, Dr. Jane Buxton. Read More >

2019 Friedman Award for Scholars in Health
July 11, 2019Federico Andrade Rivas, a PhD student in SPPH, is among the 2019 recipients of the Friedman Award for Scholars in Health. Read More >

Thank you for making the 10th anniversary a success!
June 21, 2019With over 150 attendees, 24 speakers (including three alumni and two students), and 12 student and trainee posters, the event was a well-rounded snapshot of the outstanding work that has come out of our School. Read More >