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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Director’s Message


SPPH Leadership


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: Ying MacNab

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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.

SPPH’s Strategic Framework for 2020-2025 is presented below.

View upcoming and previous OEH Seminars

Division head: Chris McLeod

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Our Strategic Plan

The School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) is developing a new strategic plan. The strategic planning process began in Summer 2019 with key stakeholder interviews among students, faculty and staff. These were followed by a small group retreat, which resulted in a draft Strategic Framework that has guided our subsequent strategic planning. Engagement with the School community continued throughout the first half of 2020, and culminated in a virtual retreat in September and October 2020 to which the whole community, including all faculty, staff, and student representatives were invited. SPPH will release a draft strategic plan consultation in early 2021. More information will come as it is available.

SPPH Events

Below is a list of drop down menus detailing the groups that host seminars for SPPH. If you are hosting an event or wish to publish your seminar on our Events calendar please contact hrproject.coordinator@spph.ubc.ca and we will process your request accordingly.

Seminars presenting content about advancing research and teaching of applied ethics. Topics include the application of normative methods to core issues in science and technology ethics and policy, organizational ethics, animal welfare, health, the environment, and research ethics.
CAE Events Page

Seminars presenting content about a sustainable health system in BC and Canada while delivering high quality, effective and accessible care.
C2E2 Events Page

Work in Progress (WiP) seminars provide investigators with an opportunity to present ongoing research, obtain feedback from colleagues and peers, and make new connections for their projects.
CHEOS Events Page

CHSPR hosts a monthly lunch seminar focused on health services research and health policy topics. Faculty, staff, postdocs, and students are invited to present their work in progress and give feedback to others. We hold seminars on Tuesdays (usually) from 12-1. Seminars are listed at http://chspr.ubc.ca/events/

Seminars presenting content about improving the health and well-being of children through interdisciplinary research and mobilizing knowledge.
HELP Events Page

This monthly global health event series enriches the global health offerings available to students by bringing expert and diverse multidisciplinary speakers from across the greater UBC community and beyond to share their expertise on global health equity and related topics.
Global Health Event Series Page

The UBC Learning Circle is an ongoing video conference and computer webinar initiative that encourages sharing knowledge about our health and well-being.
Learning Circle Sessions Page

More details will be posted regarding the MPH sessions when available.

The MSc OEH Seminars provides content about occupational and environmental hygiene, policy analysis, health and safety, and more.
OEH Seminar Series Page

The School of Population and Public Health is thrilled to announce a monthly speaker series for the 20/21 academic year called Voices in Health, featuring renowned public and global health experts.
SPPH Voices in Health Seminar Page

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
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UBC Media Experts Guide
UBC Library


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News and Newsletters



Extensive Study in Canada to Assess COVID-19 Vaccine Immune Responses and Effectiveness among People Living With HIV
June 16, 2021People living with HIV are less likely to mount an adequate immune response, which may put them at higher risk for both serious COVID-19 illness and reduced response to COVID-19 vaccination. Read More >

One million naloxone kits distributed, 3000 deaths averted
June 16, 2021More than one million naloxone kits have been shipped in British Columbia, averting more than 3,000 deaths, thanks to the tireless work of the Take Home Naloxone Program at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) and Dr. Jane Buxton, Professor at the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) and harm reduction lead for […] Read More >

SPPH Welcomes Dr. Devon Greyson as Assistant Professor
June 15, 2021Dr. Devon Greyson joins SPPH in role of Assistant Professor on July 1, 2021. Read More >

Portraying life with dementia in new light and colour
June 15, 2021Led by Dr. Susan Cox, and UBC postdoctoral fellow Dr. Gloria Puurveen, the research project set out to explore the meaning of living well with dementia through the eyes of those with the disease and their care partners. Read More >

Experiences of frontline workers during COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care, and evaluation of interventions to reduce transmission in long-term care
June 9, 2021Brandon Yau and Rohit Vijh speak about the experiences of frontline workers during COVID-19 outbreaks in long-term care, and evaluation of interventions to reduce transmission in long-term care. Read More >

Spring 2021 Graduation
June 2, 2021Congratulations to our SPPH Graduates of Spring 2021! Read More >

SPPH Announces the Appointments of Drs. Mieke Koehoorn, Hugh Davies, and Craig Mitton to new Associate Director Roles
May 7, 2021SPPH is pleased to announce three new Associate Director appointments: Dr. Mieke Koehoorn, Dr. Hugh Davies and Dr. Craig Mitton. Read More >

Current Research in SARS-CoV-2
May 7, 2021In this edition of our Student Research Highlight, we present Aidan M. Nikiforuk and C. Andrew Basham. Read More >

Current Research in the Evaluation and Economics of Drugs to Treat Cancer
April 27, 2021    Graduate students across all educational programs at the School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) are working on diverse and important public health issues. In our new series, we will be hearing directly from current students and recent graduates about what they are working on, why it matters, and how their training at SPPH has prepared them to […] Read More >

Dr. Trevor Dummer Appointed Canadian Cancer Society Chair in Cancer Primary Prevention
April 26, 2021SPPH & CCS are pleased to announce Dr. Trevor Dummer as the endowed Canadian Cancer Society Chair in Cancer Primary Prevention. Read More >