About the MS/PhD Program

Description of the Program

The Population Health Graduate program is focused on training tomorrow’s leaders in interdisciplinary research. The program offers a MS and PhD in Population Health, a MS and PhD in Epidemiology, and a PhD Minor.

History of the Program

Conceived as prevention as opposed to intervention, it was dedicated to the proposition that to avoid was better than to treat and it changed the way we look at health care. The program’s roots trace back to 1903 with the creation of a “hygienic laboratory” by the Wisconsin State Legislature. The program has been shaped throughout the years by influential leaders such as Alfred Evans, John Rankin, Donn D’Alessio, and finally, Javier Nieto, into the world-class program you will experience today.

Visit History of the Department for more information.

About UW–Madison

In achievement and prestige, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has long been recognized as one of America’s great universities.

For more information, visit the University’s homepage, information page, the School of Medicine and Public Health, or a sampling of what this great city has to offer.

What is Population Health?

Population health is defined as the health outcomes of a group of individuals, including the distribution of such outcomes within the group. These groups are often geographical populations such as nations or communities, but can also be other groups such as employees, ethnic groups, disabled persons, prisoners, or any other defined group. The health outcomes of such groups are of relevance to policy makers in both the public and private sectors.

Population health is not just the overall health of a population but also includes the distribution of health. Overall health could be quite high if the majority of the population is relatively healthy – even though a minority of the population is much less health. Ideally such differences would be eliminated or at least substantially reduced.

Population health is the body of scientific disciplines interested in the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease states in the population. It is an approach to health that seeks to step beyond the individual-level focus of traditional clinical and preventive medicine by addressing a broad range of factors that impact health on a population-level. For example, it can focus on ways to reduce health inequities among population groups by exploring factors such as the environment, social structures, resource distribution, etc.