Chair’s Corner

The Department of Population and Public Health Sciences aims to improve population and public health, locally and globally, through its pursuit of high-impact, inter-disciplinary research and the training of outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, professionals and future leaders, based from its position within the Keck School of Medicine of USC and in collaboration with partners around the world.

Howard Hu, MD, MPH, ScD, Chair Department of Population and Public Health Sciences
Howard Hu, MD, MPH, ScD Chair Department of Population and Public Health Sciences


Howard Hu, MD, MPH, ScD, is the Flora L. Thornton Chair of the Department of Population and Public Health Sciences and Professor, Keck School of Medicine, at the University of Southern California.

Hu is an author on over 300 peer-reviewed publications, and he has served on the Board of Directors for Physicians for Human Rights (Nobel Peace Prize co-winner, 1997), the Board of Population and Public Health Practice of the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences, the Board of Environmental Studies and Toxicology of the National Research Council, the External Advisory Council of the U.S. National Institute for Environmental Health Sciences, and as Chair of the Research Commission for the International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (Nobel Peace Prize, 1985).

Hu’s research interests include environmental and molecular epidemiologic research related to heavy metals, potential endocrine disruptors, other neurotoxicants, carcinogens, etc.; gene-environment interactions; epigenetic dysregulation; fetal/early life exposures and long-term effects; aging-environment interactions; environmental health, health inequities, health disparities and human rights; health and the global environment; “Big Data” for population health; and environmental sensitivities/multiple chemical sensitivities. He is Principle Investigator on the Early Life Exposures in Mexico to Environmental Toxicants (ELEMENT) project, and leader of the Global Burden of Disease-Population Health initiative. He has been a recipient of the Progress and Achievement Award from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the Award of Excellence from the American Public Health Association and the John Goldsmith Award for Outstanding Contributions from the International Society for Environmental Epidemiology.

Hu earned his BS in biology at Brown University, his MD at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and his MPH, MS and ScD from the Harvard School of Public Health. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and Occupational Medicine, having trained at Boston City Hospital and Harvard respectively. He began his academic career in 1990 in the Department of Environmental Health at Harvard School of Public Health, with a dual appointment at Harvard Medical School, and rose through the ranks, gaining tenure and becoming a full Professor in 2002. In 2006, he was recruited as Chair and Professor to the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at University of Michigan School of Public Health, with dual appointments in Epidemiology and Medicine, where he held the endowed NSF International Chair. Hu was most recently the Founding Dean of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto, where he advanced a number of innovative initiatives involving healthy cities, big data for population health, the integration of the Institute for Health Policy Management and Evaluation as well as the Joint Centre for Bioethics into the School, and the establishment of the endowed Waakabiness-Bryce Institute for Indigenous Health.