School of Population and Global Health

What is Population Health?

Further information

Find out what our postgraduates are researching

What do our graduates say?

I enjoyed all of it – the diversity added to the interest

A great start – would like more – especially on data collections

Range of speakers, topic selection, and interaction of participants was great

What do our graduates do? 

Cover of Careers in Population Health flyer - graduate stories

Population Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles and research for disease and injury prevention.

Population health professionals analyze the effect on human health of personal choice, genetics and the environment in order to develop programs that protect the health of your family and community. Population health is also known as public health.


Population health professionals aim to prevent problems from happening or re-occurring by implementing educational programs, developing policies, administering services, regulating health systems and some health professions, and conducting research.

Population health is at a community level and is about prevention, in contrast to clinical professionals such as doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured. It is also a field that is concerned with reducing health disparities and a large part of population health is the fight for health care equity, quality and accessibility. Many doctors study population health before or after their medical degree as it provides a broader view of how to improve community health.

Population health matters

The dramatic achievements of population health in the 20th century have improved our quality of life, including a world-wide reduction in infant and child mortality, and increase in life expectancy and the elimination or reduction of many communicable diseases. The top ten achievements in population health could be considered to be:

  1. Vaccination
  2. Motor-vehicle safety
  3. Safer workplaces
  4. Control of infectious diseases
  5. Decline in coronary heart disease and stroke deaths
  6. Safer and healthier foods
  7. Healthier mothers and babies
  8. Family planning
  9. Fluoridation of drinking water
  10. Recognition of tobacco use as a health hazard

Combined, these and other advances have been largely responsible for increasing the life expectancy of populations by about 25 years since 1900. Today, Population health leaders continue to strengthen their roles as advocates for improved population-based health and reduced health gaps in an international, global community.

Core areas

The field of population health is highly varied and encompasses many academic disciplines, including the following core areas:

  • Behavioral science/Health education
  • Biostatistics
  • Environmental health
  • Epidemiology
  • Health services management
  • International/Global health
  • Maternal and child health
  • Food and nutrition
  • Health policy and practice

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Last updated:
Wednesday, 28 October, 2015 4:51 PM