About the PHPM Program

Improve the health and well-being of people where they work, live, and play

Public health and preventive medicine (PHPM) is the medical specialty primarily concerned with people’s health and well-being, with a particular focus on disease and injury prevention and control through health protection and health promotion activities. Encompassing a broad range of acute and chronic health issues, including those that may be related to environmental exposures, PHPM focuses on the health needs of a population.

Monitoring and assessing these health needs, a PHPM specialist develops, implements, and evaluates strategies for improving health and reducing inequity, and is competent in: 

  • Clinical medicine and the determinants of health
  • Epidemiology, biostatistics, and surveillance
  • Health promotion and prevention, and healthy communities
  • Environmental health, occupational health, health emergency management
  • Program and policy surveillance, planning, implementation, and evaluation 
  • Leadership, collaboration, advocacy, and communication

Career opportunities in PHPM

  • General public health practice as a medical health officer at the local or regional level
  • Specialist public health practice in communicable disease, environmental health, occupational health, and health promotion, at the provincial or national level
  • Executive medical leadership in planning and administration of health services in local and regional health areas, institutions, or government
  • Community-oriented clinical practice, with an emphasis on health promotion and disease prevention
  • Teaching and research at a university or institute

The PHPM Residency Program at a glance

Basic Details

  • A five-year specialty training program (for new entrants) or a three-year program (for re-entrants) that prepares residents for certification as specialists in PHPM in Canada
  • Based at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health (SPPH) and accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC)
  • Draws teaching faculty from public health physician specialists working across five regional health authorities, two provincial health authorities, and several provincial agencies