Department and Interdisciplinary Program Milestones

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1963: A Biomathematics Group is established that includes faculty from Biophysics, Chemistry, Fisheries, Genetics, Mathematics, Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Zoology.

1965: The Biomathematics Group receives degree-granting authority for MS and PhD degrees in Biostatistics. (Administered by the Graduate School.)

1970: The Department of Biostatistics (Biostat) is established with Edward Perrin as the first chair.

1986: Degree-granting authority transfers from the interdisciplinary Biomathematics Group to the Department of Biostatistics.

1995: Biostat hosts the first Seattle Symposium in Biostatistics in honor of the 25th anniversary of the UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine. The symposium has been held every five years since addressing cutting-edge topics. (The 6th Seattle Symposium will be held in November 2020 with keynotes, panels and short courses under the umbrella of Precision Health in the Age of Data Science.)

2006: Biostat assumes organization of the Summer Institutes in Statistical Genetics, which eventually expands to include Statistics in Modeling & Infectious Diseases, Statistics in Clinical & Epidemiological Research, and Statistics in Big Data.

2007: The Center for Biomedical Statistics is established to promote statistical consulting and collaboration in both basic and clinical medical science.

2019: Biostat welcomes the first Master of Science Capstone class for students who wish to enter the job market upon graduation. (The MS Thesis is tailored to students who wish to pursue a doctoral degree or research position in biomedical, clinical and laboratory settings).

2019: Lurdes Inoue becomes the first woman to chair the Department of Biostatistics.


Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences

1947: The UW Sanitary Science program is created within the Department of Preventative Medicine. The program begins with five students.

1951: The Environmental Health Laboratory is launched to support industrial hygiene services for industry and air pollution studies for local governments.

1963: The Washington State Legislature allocates a portion of workers’ compensation funds to expand the lab and support work in research, teaching and service to improve occupational health for Washington’s workers. Today, this funding supports a range of services, including the Occupational and Environmental Medicine Clinic at Harborview Medical Center, Continuing Education programs and free on-site workplace safety evaluations from the Field Research and Consultation Group.

1970: The Department of Environmental Health is established as one of four departments in the newly founded School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

1977: The Northwest Center for Occupational Health and Safety is launched with funding from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The center offers financial support to graduate students in occupational health and safety and continuing education for practitioners in the field.

1982: Gilbert Omenn is hired as chair of environmental health, then becomes dean of the UW School of Public Health. Omenn champions toxicology as a department research focus, and the UW offers its first undergraduate course in toxicology. Sheldon Murphy is recruited as the new department chair.

1986: DEOHS receives funding from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences to establish the UW Superfund Research Program. Today, the program continues to conduct and communicate about research on the impacts of metal neurotoxicity on human and ecological health, focusing on metals that commonly occur at Superfund hazardous waste sites.

1991: Gerald Van Belle is named chair of environmental health after Murphy’s untimely death.

1995: The Department of Environmental Health’s first PhD student graduates.

1996: The Pacific Northwest Agricultural Safety and Health Center is founded with funding from NIOSH to address health and safety concerns in the farming, fishing and forestry workforces.

2000: David Kalman is named chair environmental health.

2003: The Department of Environmental Health name changes to Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences.

2005: The US Environmental Protection Agency awards its largest-ever research grant to DEOHS to study the connection between air pollution and cardiovascular disease.

2013: DEOHS launches the UW Center for One Health Research, investigating the links between people, animals and the environment we share.

2014: Michael Yost is named chair of the Department of Environmental & Occupational Health Sciences.

2017: DEOHS ranks fifth in the world among all public and private universities for environmental and occupational health programs, according to the Center for World University Rankings.

2019: An interactive mapping tool developed by DEOHS and our partners ranks Washington communities that are most impacted by environmental health risks. State policymakers will use the tool to inform the state’s transition to 100% clean energy by 2045.



1963: The Master of Science in Preventive Medicine begins as an academic degree program and was offered to students with a prior professional doctoral degree.

1967: The Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Preventive Medicine degree program begins.

1970: The UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine is formally established. E. Russell Alexander is named Chair of the Department of Epidemiology and International Health. The PhD in Preventive Medicine transfers to the Department of Epidemiology.

1973: The Master of Science in Public Health (MSPH) degree program begins for students without professional degrees.

1976: The Board of Regents approves deleting “International Health” from the Department of Epidemiology’s name.

1980: MSPH degree program ends. Master of Science and Master of Public Health degree programs open to those with and without prior professional degrees.

1985: Noel Weiss and Tom Koepsell establish EPI 512/513, a two-course series on epidemiologic methods.

2003: Department offers first undergraduate course, EPI 420: Introduction to Epidemiology.

2015: Janet Baseman founds the Student Epidemic Action Leaders (SEAL) Team to provide students with experience in applied epidemiology through methods training and field assignments at state and local health departments.

2020: Undergraduate minor is established.


Health Systems and Population Health

1969: Department of Health Services is established in the School of Medicine (SOM) by founding Chair Robert (“Bob”) Day. In-residence MPH and MS programs in Health Services are founded.

1970: UW School of Public Health and Community Medicine is founded on July 1, with four original departments (Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, and Health Services) and founding Dean J. Thomas Grayston. Master of Health Administration program founded.

1972: William (“Bill”) Richardson named chair of health services when Bob Day promoted to Dean of the UW SPH.

1975: Paula Diehr leads influential evaluation of Seattle Model Cities Prepaid Health Care Project conducted by Bill Richardson and other health services faculty.

1978: Bill Richardson succeeds Health Services Department Acting Chair Timothy DeRouen.

1980: Stephen (“Steve”) Shortell named chair of health services. Executive MPH program founded (originally called Extended Degree MPH program). Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness and Operation Nightwatch organize first Seattle/King County One Night Count.

1981: Marilyn Bergner and Betty Gilson develop the Sickness Impact Profile, a novel tool for measuring health status behaviorally that attracts widespread use.

1983: Edward (“Ed”) Perrin named chair of health services.

1984: Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health founded with support from the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, HRSA and DHHS.

1986: UW Health Promotion Research Center founded.

1990: Northwest Center for Public Health Practice founded. Paula Diehr and Fred Connell win Academy Health’s “Article of the Year Award” for study using small-area analysis published in HSR.

1991: HSERV and GHRI faculty conduct the “Kaiser Evaluation” of interventions to promote community health. Susan Hedrick and others develop the Adult Day Health Care Evaluation Study at the VA.

1992: MHA program celebrates 25-year anniversary. Post-Bacc Certificate in Health Information established.

1993: Donald Patrick co-authors the world-famous Health Status and Health Policy. HPRC, Group Health, and Sound Generations develop EnhanceFitness.

1994: Paula Diehr named interim chair of health services.

1995: William (“Bill”) Dowling named chair of health services.

1998: Executive Master of Health Administration program launched.

2000: PhD program in Health Services founded. UW’s ERC/NIOSH OHSR training grant funded. Community-Oriented Public Health Practice MPH program founded.

2001: Health Informatics & Health Information Management program founded. Dave Grembowski publishes widely used textbook, The Practice of Health Program Evaluation.

2002: Health Services PhD program awarded AHRQ/NRSA T32 training grant for the first time, and funded again in each of the three following five-year periods.

2005: U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Michael Leavitt awards Innovation in Prevention award for HPRC’s EnhanceFitness program.

2009: Larry Kessler named chair of health services.

2010: Professor Emeritus of Health Services Austin Ross inducted into Modern Healthcare’s Healthcare Hall of Fame.

2011: Extended Degree MPH renamed Executive MPH program.

2012: Master of Health Informatics & Health Information Management program founded.

2013: Seattle-Denver VA Center for Innovation founded. HSERV Faculty lead UW-SHARE project to assess effects of ACA in WA state.

2014: WA Governor Jay Inslee appoints Scott Ramsey to new panel to recommend standard statewide measures of health performance.

2015: Jeff Harris named chair of health services.

2016: Health Services establishes Health Services Excellence, Equity and Distinction (HSEED) Award. Final year of Seattle One Night Count, after many years of partnering with COPHP.

2017: COPHP faculty publish Experiential Teaching for Public Health Practice book on PBL. The Center for Health Innovation and Policy Science is founded. David Grossman named Chair of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force. UW named #6 in the world on health services and policy by Center for World University Rankings.

2018: Health Services Cohort Relations Student Group founded.

2019: Department of Health Services celebrates its 50th year.

2021: Department name changed to Health Systems and Population Health.


Global Health

1987: Health Alliance International (HAI) is created to promote policies and support programs that strengthen government primary health care and foster social, economic, and health equity for all. HAI and partners developed the first ever mHealth program in Timor-Leste in 2013, titled Liga Inan (Mobile Moms). Liga Inan has enrolled over 65,000 pregnant women since 2013, which showed districts using Liga Inan nearly doubled the odds of skilled birth attendance. In 2020, the program adapted to include information on best practices to prevent exposure to and transmission of COVID-19. HAI currently implements programs with Ministries of Health in Côte d’Ivoire, Mozambique, and Timor-Leste. 

1988: The UW/Fred Hutchinson Center for AIDS Research (CFAR) launches under King Holmes’ leadership. One of the first and largest CFARs in the nation, CFAR has improved the continuum of care for individuals with HIV around the world. CFAR’s impacts are both local and global. With Public Health Seattle-King County’s connection to CFAR, King County was the first major metropolitan region in the nation to achieve the WHO’s 90-90-90 goal. Director Jared Baeten led a 2012 UW study that proved the efficacy of Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) in preventing HIV infection. These findings led to the FDA approval of tenofovir-based pills for HIV prevention.

2002: The International Training and Education Center for Health (I-TECH) is established with the goals of continued development of a skilled health workforce and strengthened health systems globally. I-TECH has transitioned nearly 50 projects and products to local government ownership in the last decade, supported ~1,000 health care facilities across the globe and, from 2017-20, tested 5.1 million people for HIV.

2007: The UW Department of Global Health launches with a generous endowment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and initial funding from Washington State. King Holmes is the founding Chair. Four Centers form the new Department: Center for AIDS Research (CFAR), Health Alliance International (HAI), International Training & Education Center for Health (I-TECH), and the Global Health Resource Center (GHRC).

2008: The International Clinical Research Center (ICRC) is established with the mission to coordinate and implement multi-center international infectious disease prevention trials. ICRC has spearheaded pivotal HIV-prevention research from discovery to wide-scale implementation, including the Partners PrEP Study, which contributed to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention in 2012.

2008: Master's of Public Health (MPH) in Global Health founded, bringing in students from the International Health Program with a cohort of 25 students.

2011: The Global Center for Integrated Health of Women, Adolescents and Children (Global WACh) launches a fresh, life-cycle approach to scientific innovation and leadership. Global WACh’s work has appeared in more than 200 papers and has influenced policy and practice globally.

2011: The Program on Global Mental Health starts with the goal of expanding access to effective mental health interventions.

2012: The PhD in Global Health Metrics and Implementation Science, the first program of its kind in the world, launches.

2012: The Global Health E-Learning Initiative (eDGH) is established, offering online courses and educational resources to support students, faculty and health workers worldwide. Since 2012, these courses have enrolled more than 20,000 students from 59 countries.

2014: Center for Health and the Global Environment (CHanGE) is formed to manage the risks global environmental change presents to human health and well-being. CHanGE hosts the first ever conference on health co-benefits of climate change mitigation policies and technologies in 2016.

2014: King Holmes steps down as chair. Judy Wasserheit named Chair of the Department of Global Health, becoming the first female chair in the School of Public Health. 


Nutritional Sciences Program

1909: The Home Economics Department is founded.

1916: In September, the Home Economics Building is completed at the cost of $151,000 and is initially occupied by the Home Economics Department, later renamed the Nutritional Sciences Program.

1930: The School of Home Economics is created.

1946: In May, the Home Economics Building is renamed Raitt Hall in honor of Effie Isobel Raitt, who directed the unit for more than 30 years until her death in 1945.

1973: The Coordinated Undergraduate Program in Clinical Dietetics is established.

1978: The School of Home Economics becomes the School of Nutritional Sciences and Textiles with Divisions in Human Nutrition, Dietetics, and Foods and Textile Science and Costume Studies. Degrees include the BS in Clinical Dietetics, BS in Nutritional Science, BS in Textile Science, BA in Costume Studies, MS and MA.

1984: The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) leading to an MS in Nutritional Sciences is formed within the UW Graduate School, following the closure of the School of Nutritional Sciences and Textiles.

1990: The PhD program in Nutritional Sciences receives approval.

1993: The Interdisciplinary Graduate Program (IGP) in Nutritional Sciences moves into the School of Public Health and Community Medicine with an administrative home in Epidemiology.

1994: The pre-professional practice program in dietetics is accredited as a Dietetic Internship.

1994: Elaine Monsen becomes Director of the IGP in Nutritional Sciences.

1996: The MPH in Nutrition is added to degrees offered.

1998: Adam Drewnowski becomes the director of the IGP in Nutritional Sciences.

2000: The Didactic Program in Dietetics (DPD) receives initial accreditation along with the continued accreditation of the Dietetic Internship.

2001: The Center for Public Health Nutrition (CPHN) was founded.

2008: The DPD and Dietetic Internship programs are combined into the Graduate Coordinated Program in Dietetics (GCPD).

2009: Anne Lund becomes the director of the GCPD.

2011: The Nutritional Sciences Program, as it is now known, moves into the School of Public Health Office of the Dean.

2013: The Nutrition Minor begins.

2015: Nutrition for Today course exceeds 1,000 in enrollments for the first time.

2018: A new undergraduate Major in Food Systems, Nutrition and Health begins.

2020: The first cohort of students graduate with a major in Food Systems, Nutrition, and Health.


MHA Programs

1973: MHA graduates first cohort.

1986: Doug Conrad is appointed to serve on the Accreditation Commission for Education in Health Services (ACHESA) and served as chair from 1990-1992.

1998: The Executive Master of Health Administration (EMHA) is launched, training clinicians to be administrative and business-focused leaders in the health care field. The development and implementation of the EMHA program is led by Austin Ross.

2004: The National Center for Health Care Leadership (NCHL) finalizes the Core Competencies. The University of Washington, under Will Welton’s direction, is one of four universities that tests the competency model.

2016: Associate MHA Director, Sarah Cave, and teams of MHA students compete in national case competitions at Baylor University and University of Alabama, Birmingham, placing second at each.

2017: The UW MHA Program proudly celebrates 45 years of excellence.

2020: In an effort to implement an integrated leadership and organizational structure that enhances community engagement and increased flexibility for students to take courses across multiple programs, the MHA and MHIHIM programs have integrated into the Program in Health Management and Informatics. Degrees are still earned separately while increasing the collaboration between the programs.


Institute for Public Health Genetics

Through its research and training programs the Institute for Public Health Genetics (IPHG) provides the scientific, ethical, cultural, legal and policy context for advances in genomics, and it equips its graduates to tackle the complex issues that are required to fully realize the benefits of these advances on population health. IPHG faculty and graduates are working locally, nationally and globally to ensure that health benefits from genomic knowledge are maximized and harms are minimized. IPHG has 50 faculty from across seven different UW Colleges and Schools and 30 students currently enrolled in IPHG degree programs.

1997: The Institute for Public Health Genetics is founded with University Initiative Funding. Initial degree programs include the MPH in Public Health Genetics, Master of Science in Genetic Epidemiology and Graduate Certificate in Public Health Genetics.

2002: PhD in Public Health Genetics is established.

2006: Concurrent JD/MPH is established.

2012: A suite of undergraduate courses is established.