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Penn State graduate students from the Department of Public Health Sciences attend the College of Medicine Commencement Ceremony at the Hershey Lodge on May 20, 2018. The students are pictured standing in caps and gowns, holding programs.

Department of Public Health Sciences

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Public Health Sciences at Penn State College of Medicine

As a national leader in research, education and outreach, the Department of Public Health Sciences aims to advance theory and practice that prepares future public health professionals, improves population health, and reduces health disparities across communities in Pennsylvania, the nation, and internationally.

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The Department of Public Health Sciences is well-positioned in the dynamic and supportive environment at Penn State College of Medicine and the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center to foster discovery and growth in the areas of education, research, and practice. Our commitment to improving the health of the population is unparalleled in the region.

The Department of Public Health Sciences strives for excellence in the design, conduct, and analysis of population-based research, including clinical trials, observational studies, health services research, and regulatory and translational science.

Our work has impacted national clinical, regulatory, and public health decision-making.

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Douglas Leslie, PhD, Chair, Public Health Sciences

Douglas Leslie, PhD
Professor and Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences
Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health
Penn State College of Medicine

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Public Health Sciences Research Divisions

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Biostatistics & Bioinformatics

Faculty members in the Public Health Sciences Division of Biostatistics and Bioinformatics collaborate with and provide statistical expertise to investigators within and outside Penn State College of Medicine.

The division functions very successfully as a data coordinating center for multiple National Institutes of Health (NIH) funded, multicenter clinical trials and observational studies. Current areas of clinical research include asthma and acute kidney injury.

See more about data management services offered in PHS.

Division Chief: Lan Kong, MS, PhD, Professor, Public Health Sciences


Faculty in the Division of Epidemiology have diverse research interests and have obtained grants for studies in cancer mechanisms, environmental air quality and its link to cardiovascular disease, and bone mineral health. They also teach core courses in the department’s master of science degree program and an epidemiology course for third-year medical students, and provide guidance for the Medical Student Research Program projects.

Faculty members direct the Northern Appalachia Cancer Network, an academic-community partnership to identify the causes of cancer health disparities within rural and medically underserved communities of Pennsylvania and New York.

Division Chief: Cheryl Thompson, PhD, MS, Professor and Chief of the Division of Epidemiology

Health Services & Behavioral Research

The Health Services & Behavioral Research Division consists of faculty members who conduct research on the organization, financing, delivery, and quality of health care services. Current faculty members have particular expertise in the design of health surveys and the analysis of large datasets.

The faculty members in the Health Services & Behavioral Research Division are responsible for three courses in the department’s Master of Science (MS) program: Health Survey Research Methods, a core course, as well as two electives, Quality of Care Management and Health Economics and Economic Evaluation.

Interim Division Chief: Jonathan Foulds, PhD, Professor of Public Health Sciences and Psychiatry and Behavioral Health

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