School of Medicine Creates Department of Population Health Sciences

On Saturday, May 13, the Duke University Board of Trustees approved the creation of a Department of Population Health Sciences within the School of Medicine. The current Center for Population Health Sciences will be elevated to department status, effective July 1, 2017. Lesley Curtis, PhD, director of the center, will serve as interim chair of the new department until a permanent chair is named. 

The Department of Population Health Sciences will be differentiated from other departments and institutes in the School by its multidisciplinary focus on identifying the determinants of health; using data regarding environmental, social, physical, and genetic determinants of health to promote better health; and informing policies that shape access to, financing and delivery of high quality health care.  The department’s strong connection to the Duke University Health System will distinguish it further and enable a living laboratory for health services research, epidemiology, implementation science, and policy analysis. A key initiative within the department will be the development of education and training programs, including a Master and PhD programs in Population Health Sciences.

“It is very exciting to launch our first social sciences department,” said Nancy C. Andrews, MD, PhD, dean of the School of Medicine. “This new department is the product of thoughtful input from stakeholders across the university. It is a 21st century, nimble approach to areas of scholarship that are critically important for getting health care right.”