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Population Health

Health is not something achieved at the doctor’s office. It is a constant we must nurture in our homes and communities, in our workplaces and schools, and with our families and friends.

Social determinants of health—including employment, the availability of nutritious food, transportation, and access to care—influence approximately 80% of health outcomes. Improving the health of all individuals in our communities will require population-wide strategies that address disparities in these social factors driving poor health outcomes.

Population Health -SPH

While Texas ranks as the second most populous state, we trail in public health benchmarks, including the prevalence of unmanaged chronic diseases and health care access and affordability. Moreover, the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on our communities of color, especially Hispanic populations, has magnified health disparities and social inequalities like never before.

The School of Public Health is at the forefront of the shift to emphasize population health strategies and lay the framework for a healthier Texas. Through our six regional campuses, our presence spans from the Gulf Coast to the Rio Grande Valley, and the Red River to the Hill Country. We have the expertise and reach to account for the diversity of populations across our state, enabling us to tackle the toughest health challenges and scale our solutions nationally and globally.

Our faculty are leading collaboration across sectors. They are pursuing breakthroughs and policy interventions that impact social determinants of health. And they are educating the next generation of public health experts who will safeguard and improve the health of our loved ones and neighbors.

As our state grows, so will its health challenges. Your support of Many Faces. One Mission. can help reduce health disparities and improve outcomes for all Texans—now and in the future.

  • We don’t want to just document the social issues impacting health outcomes, we want to do something about them. With our school’s infrastructure embedded in our communities, we can meet patients where they are, learn what helps them most, and scale our solutions to meet the needs of every person in every population.

    Shreela V. Sharma, PhD, RD

    Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences

    UTHealth School of Public Health

  • Center for Health Care Data

    We are building the nation’s preeminent site for population health science through the Center for Health Care Data. This center is the largest data repository in Texas that houses and analyzes data on cost and quality of care to promote health care transparency. It also provides insight on both insured and uninsured Texans, and it is one of few entities certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in recognition of its ability to inform communities about their health, quality of care, and health care costs.

  • Community Outreach

    Students and faculty across our six regional campuses share a commitment to life-improving community outreach programs. For instance, the Nourish Program boasts a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen, holistic garden, and simulation lab designed to teach people in our communities—especially vulnerable populations with access to fewer resources—how to prepare healthy meals to lower rates of obesity and nutrition-related chronic diseases.

  • COVID-19+ Cohort Study

    Our researchers are clarifying the unknowns of the pandemic through the COVID-19+ Cohort study, which aims to identify predictors of negative and positive outcomes and assess lingering damage from the virus. Health disparities are at the center of COVID-19 outcomes, and the cohort study allows us to dive deeper into the issues our communities are facing.