What is Population Health?
Population health, a part of the larger field of public health, is the science of understanding the multiple determinants of health, from cell to society. It is a data science that provides critical insights that stand to make an impact on millions of lives. Population health scientists leverage data to define opportunities for interventions to improve the health of populations. These interventions can range from health innovation and technology for improved health care to community health programs to health policy—all to optimize health outcomes.
The population health pyramid depicts the connections among all of the factors that impact health and well-being, on both the micro- and macro-scale: everything from water and air quality to race and ethnicity, genetic makeup to economic conditions and policy decisions.
The Population Health Pyramid
These are the layers of the population health pyramid:
- Individual Factors
- Societal Factors
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1. Individual Factors
Both our unique genetic makeup and the decisions we make about how we live play a major role in shaping our health. These choices run the gamut from how often we exercise to how healthfully we eat to our overall habits.
2. Environmental Factors
The communities we live in also play a significant role in shaping our health and the arc of our life experience. Different populations have different levels of access to clean air or clean water, healthy food, safe modes of transportation and countless other variants.
3. Health Disparities
Populations can be defined by gender, ethnicity, race, age, socioeconomic status and other factors, with certain groups facing their own unique health challenges.
Certain health outcomes, either positive or negative, are seen more often in certain populations than others.
4. Upstream Forces
There are numerous complex, broad-based forces that shape the health of individuals, populations and communities. These forces include political and economic forces, cultural, spiritual and social norms, and technological advances, among many others.
Seeking Answers Through Data
Population health scientists leverage data to unlock critical insights into all of the factors that shape health, and seek to develop interventions that can improve the lives of millions.
Population health interventions can be implemented anywhere on the population health pyramid, and can have substantial impact on the health of individuals, families, communities and entire populations.
Founding Dean’s Appointment
First faculty hired
First class of undergraduate students enrolls
Ellen and Vincent Forlenza ’75 Chair in Health Innovation and Technology Endowed Fund established
Health | Science | Technology Building Opens
Graduate programs launch
60+ faculty and 900 students