Schools of public health were established to develop leaders and scientists who could bring academic rigor to the discipline of "assuring conditions in which people can be healthy." Once the major challenges related to sanitation and clean water, vaccine-preventable diseases, and other communicable diseases were identified (although never fully solved!), public health as an academic discipline began to examine the larger issues of where and how we live, work, and play, and the influence these have on whether families, communities, and populations can live healthy lives.

The great challenges before us now are understanding the root causes — known as social determinants of health — that shape our capacity as individuals, families, communities, and populations to become and remain healthy. We are just beginning to grasp how these determinants impact, and are impacted by, our environment, which in turn affects gene expression and individual susceptibilities to both communicable and non-communicable diseases.

Our school engages with local leaders in Birmingham to address homicide as a public health crisis, supports community efforts to address the decades-long environmental injustices related to environmental contamination in north Birmingham, works with communities in the Black Belt of rural Alabama to understand the disparities in the development of hypertension, and develops novel methods of stemming the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Opportunities abound for students to explore connections between public health and other academic disciplines across the UAB campus. We offer practical and meaningful internship experiences through partnerships with state and local governmental agencies, local businesses and industry, and a global network of governmental and non-governmental organizations. Students in the UAB School of Public Health have life-changing opportunities to BE SOMEBODY and MAKE A DIFFERENCE! Come join us!

Paul C. Erwin, MD, DrPH, Dean
Ryals Public Health Building (RPHB) 130

Dean's Office Staff
Strategic Plan
Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
Office of Public Health Practice
Office of Research