Our Vision

Public Health Science students group photo

PHS students enjoy the fall weather at UVA. (Photo taken by Abby Sacks.)

To promote health, to foster respect, to advance health equity in Virginia and beyond.

The Department of Public Health Sciences in the School of Medicine works with clinicians and researchers to improve the health of individuals and populations.

We aspire to be the hub in the School of Medicine for the generation, analysis, interpretation, and management of clinical outcome and population health data, and to provide the leadership in research methods and in education to enable the highest quality of clinical and population health research in the School of Medicine.

Our Mission

The Department of Public Health Sciences mission is to provide excellence and leadership in innovative research, education, and community engagement strategies to advance clinical care, patient outcomes, and population health. We foster research and educational collaborations with clinicians, researchers, other professionals, and communities to improve health equity and overall population health and well-being.

Our Goals

Goal 1: Sustained collaborations with SOM and external partners to advance SOM strategic priorities for clinical outcomes and translational research and education.

Goal 2: Excellence and Leadership in Clinical Outcomes, Population, and Translational Research

Goal 3: Excellence and Leadership in Education about Clinical and Translational Research, Public Health Sciences, and Health Policy. 

Brief History

The Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS) was originally established in 1995 as the Department of Health Evaluation Sciences. It was created, under the leadership of founding Chair William A. Knaus, MD, to provide comprehensive and multidisciplinary scientific and analytical services to the University of Virginia Health System, as well as to other components of the University. The initial business plan described the development of an infrastructure designed to initiate and expand clinical, collaborative, and translational research and education throughout the School of Medicine.

Between 2002 and 2005, with the arrival of a new dean and vice president, the department re-energized, with the recruitment of senior leaders to head biomedical informatics and biostatistics, a name change to the Department of Public Health Sciences, and the establishment of a new Public Health Program under the direction of Ruth Gaare Bernheim, JD, MPH, who subsequently became PHS Department Chair in 2010.  The department also contributed in 2007 to the establishment of a new Center for Public Health Genomics, under the leadership of Stephen Rich, Ph.D., a Distinguished Board of Visitors Scholar.

DPHS continues its original mandate to lead and collaborate with other investigators on the generation, analyses, interpretation, and management of clinical outcome and population health data. Its mission focuses on supporting students, educators, and researchers throughout the School of Medicine and across University Grounds as they come together to learn about and develop: (1) improved ways to evaluate the efficacy of new and existing medical care and population health improvement practices, (2) the efficient and fair delivery of health services and (3) community interventions in public health practice and (4) health care policy.

Administrative Structure

  • Office of the Chair (Administration)
  • Biomedical Informatics: research and consulting on the application of computing and communications technology to biomedical research and health data. Biomedical Informatics manages the UVA Clinical Data Repository in support of clinical research at UVA.
  • Biostatistics: research and consulting on the use of statistical techniques and methodologies as they apply to the study of basic science and human health.
  • Translational Research & Applied Statistics: provides the analytical infrastructure for basic, clinical, and translational research at the University of Virginia, specifically in cancer and in close collaboration with faculty and staff in the UVA NCI-Designated Comprehensive Clinical Cancer Center.