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.


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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

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.

Division head: Chris McLeod

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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
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 

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News and Newsletters



In Memoriam: David Sterling
February 11, 2020The School of Population and Public Health is sad to announce the passing of Dr. David Sterling. David had recently retired to British Columbia following an illustrious academic career at the University of Northern Texas (https://www.unthsc.edu/school-of-public-health/dr-david-sterling/). He was generously donating his precious retirement time to teach students in the MSc(OEH) degree program. Although David’s time […] Read More >

SPPH PhD Student Leads Study on the Health Effects of Living Near Major Roads
January 23, 2020Living near major roads or highways is linked to higher incidence of dementia, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and multiple sclerosis (MS), suggests new research led by SPPH PhD Candidate, Weiran Yuchi. Read More >

Congratulations to Kim McGrail and Rosemin Kassam on their new Appointments with UBC Health
January 14, 2020Dr. McGrail has been announced as the New Director of Research for UBC Health, while Dr. Kassam has been confirmed as the New Director of Research for UBC Health. Read More >

TrueNTH: Peer Support for Men with Prostate Cancer
January 13, 2020Dr. Arminee Kazanjian at the School of Population and Public Health addresses the unique needs of men living with prostate cancer in her one-on-one peer support program, the TrueNTH (True North) Peer Navigation Solution. Read More >

Helping hands, thriving families
January 10, 2020Prof. Patti Janssen was featured by Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies for her extensive work in prenatal education and improving health outcomes in mothers & children in BC and worldwide. To read more about this publication, please click on this link. Read More >

Dr. Nadine Caron named founding First Nations Health Authority Chair in Cancer and Wellness at UBC
January 6, 2020Dr. Nadine Caron, co-Director of the SPPH Centre for Indigenous Health and Canada’s first female First Nations general surgeon, has been appointed to a newly created UBC position dedicated to improving cancer outcomes and wellness among Indigenous peoples. Read More >

Congratulations to our SPPH Class of 2019
December 6, 2019SPPH faculty and staff celebrated with students, family and friends at a reception held at Sage Bistro on Friday, November 29, 2019. Read More >

When Antibiotics Fail
November 12, 2019The report estimates that resistant bacterial infections were responsible for over 14,000 deaths in Canada in 2018, with around 26% of bacterial infections currently resistant to first-line antimicrobials. Those with weaker immune systems and/or pre-existing medical conditions are most susceptible to AMR exposure and developing resistant infections. The Panel asserts that action must be taken to protect vulnerable populations, including socially marginalized groups, those living in poverty, the homeless, and people with substance use disorders. Read More >

Young Alumna Shares Wisdom With Current Students
November 5, 2019Bianca Malouf attributes much of her professional success to being at the right place at the right time and the MScOEH program provided her key opportunities to become an Industrial Hygienist. Read More >

Celebrating our SPPH Fall Graduates
October 23, 2019Graduates and their guests are invited to attend a reception on Friday, Nov. 29 at Sage East after the Convocation Ceremony in the Chan Centre. Read More >