Mission & History

Among the nation's leaders in population and public health

Since its founding in 1977, the Department has consistently ranked among the top 10 Schools of Public Health in terms of competitively-awarded funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health.


To improve population and public health locally and globally through the pursuit of high-impact, transdisiplinary research; the translation and communication of knowledge; and the training of outstanding students, professionals and future researchers, educators and leaders.

A new phase of growth

We are embarking on a new phase of growth, building on our current strengths and leveraging greater international awareness of the role of public health, to expand research and education in new and exciting directions.

Translating evidence into action

We pursue innovations in transdisciplinary collaborations by leveraging unique investments in world-class research among the residents of Southern California and beyond. We help translate evidence into actionable policies, so that Los Angeles and other urban communities around the world can become more sustainable, equitable, and healthy.

Applying an integrated, transdisciplinary approach

Transformation and novel team-science approaches are needed to address today’s many pressing population health issues – current and future pandemics, tobacco and substance abuse, pollution and climate change, health disparities with attention to race, sex, age, socio-economic status and other relevant factors, unsustainable healthcare systems, and understanding the risk factors that continue to drive obesity, cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, dementia and cognitive impairments, and other chronic diseases.  These challenges are over-lapping and inter-connected in ways that demand coordinated and integrated evidence-based solutions that utilize ‘big data’ and state of the art analysis methods to identify novel risk factors and associated “precision public health and medicine” approaches to improve human health.

Building on established strengths

With 110 full-time faculty, an average of 800 trainees per year, and deep partnership across USC and beyond, Population and Public Health Sciences is positioned to address these wide-ranging population health issues with a broad research and education agenda that leverages one of the largest and most diverse populations in the urban U.S.– Los Angeles County, as well as other communities. Ready access to these populations positions Population and Public Health Sciences researchers to evaluate and generate the evidence needed to rectify multiple health disparities and transition populations toward health equity and wellness.