Jul 07, 2022  
2021-2022 College of Liberal Arts 
2021-2022 College of Liberal Arts

Public Health

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About the Program

The focus of Public Health is on the prevention of diseases, disabilities, and disorders through a variety of practices and programs. Public Health involves critical thinking and decision-making about health and healthcare on a population level. The study of Public Health is inherently interdisciplinary, as sociocultural, political, and economic issues determine the quality of a society’s health. As such, Public Health is of significant interest to sociologists, economists, anthropologists, humanists, and policy makers, as well as biologists and health care providers. Public Health has a long and venerable history, and the research it stimulated has been shaping health care policy since the outset of the Industrial Revolution. Recently, the field has been the focus of much debate among policy makers, health care providers, and ordinary individuals, due in part to the high costs of healthcare in the U.S. Health in today’s world must be understood in a broader context, however, as inequities in healthcare provision and outcomes exist both in the U.S. and across the globe, resulting from government policies, sociocultural influences, and other factors.

The Public Health major is an interdisciplinary program that bridges the biomedical sciences, social sciences, and humanities. In contrast to the individual patient-centered approach of clinical medicine, Public Health offers a population-level approach to solving health problems with a strong focus on scientific, social, and ethical principles. As students move through the major, they learn about healthcare and policy issues and gain an understanding of the depth and breadth of Public Health practice. The structure of the major reflects the interdisciplinary nature of the field, allowing students the flexibility to explore the aspects of Public Health that are most interesting to them.


  • Director: Christina McKittrick, Associate Professor, Biology
  • Professors: Jonathan Reader, Sociology
  • Associate Professors: Brianne Barker, Biology; Frances Bernstein, History; Merel Visse, Director of Graduate Program in Medical and Health Humanities
  • Assistant Professors: Lisa Jordan, Environmental Studies and Sustainability; Mengxiao Phoebe Tang, Political Science
  • Adjunct Faculty: George Van Orden; Chris Kirk



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