College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific

Population Health

Established in 2018, the Department of Population Health is part of the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific and the College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific-Northwest. Our mission is to help prepare health care providers as leaders dedicated to exploring the contextual factors that influence the health and wellbeing of populations, and to help design and implement policies and systems that enhance longevity and quality of life. The department is home to a diverse array of faculty spanning seven Sections that encompass Health and Social Behavior, Community Health, Global Health, Health Policy and Management, Data Analytics, Health Humanities, and Educational Partnership.

Health and Social Behavior explores how the social environment and the contexts in which people live shape individual and community health. Faculty examine drivers of health behaviors at multiple levels of analysis – from decisions occurring at the individual level to broader environmental and structural factors that fundamentally shape health outcomes and “why people do what they do.” Areas of emphasis include the multiple social determinants of health, the social ecological model, epigenetics, and community-based participatory research.

Community Health explores developing and implementing effective approaches to health promotion and disease prevention at the community level in rural and urban regions. Areas of emphasis include preventing chronic diseases and promoting healthy women, infants, and children. The Section works in partnership with many community-based organizations, and with state and city health departments, to develop programs that span multiple sectors, including community-based, early childhood education settings and schools, primary care, housing, and community settings, including faith-based organizations and social service providers.

Global Health embodies the principles of population health on a global scale. A OneHealth philosophy leverages education, research, and service to cultivate 21st century leaders, improve overall health outcomes, and promote health equity for vulnerable populations around the world. Faculty actively connect a diverse network of partners across all colleges, the nation, and the world to harness innovative and integrative approaches to global health challenges.

Health Policy and Management focuses on education and research as it relates to the management, leadership, and administration of health care systems, both public and private. This includes policy pertaining to insurance and reimbursement, access to care and health equity, and the financing of healthcare. It also aims to understand how leadership of health care systems and the government at the state and federal levels influence the delivery of health care.

Data Analytics facilitates access to data for clinicians, researchers, and staff to promote patient care, encourage innovation and discovery, and improve the health of populations. Areas of emphasis focus on supporting robust research, development, and data integration, including geospatial data and analysis, to efficiently improve health outcomes. The Section’s data scientists work closely with researchers to conceptualize and design studies and methods, and to analyze and interpret datasets to help answer important questions that inform clinical and public health practice.

Health Humanities explores how the study of the arts, philosophy, spirituality, history, ethics, and literature enhances the technical and humanistic skills of health care providers as tools to promote health and wellbeing. The Section also aims to promote better understanding of the delicate balance between body, mind, and spirit within and across different populations.

The goal of Educational Partnership is to develop, promote, and expand upon a population health knowledge for its constituents through symbiotic partnerships at all levels. We are a team aimed to prepare future health care professionals to improve the health and wellbeing of all populations.