History and Overview

History and Overview

Following authorization in 1947, the Texas State Legislature first appropriated funds for the School of Public Health in 1967. The first class was admitted in the Fall of 1969, occupying rented and borrowed space. Enrollment doubled in the second year and doubled again in the third year, testimony to the previously unfilled need.

The School of Public Health is one of seven component institutions of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth). The Health Science Center, created by the UT System Board of Regents in 1972, brings together the School of Public Health, the School of Dentistry, the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, the Medical School, the School of Nursing, the School of Biomedical Informatics and the UT Harris County Psychiatric Center.

The main campus of the school is located in Houston in the world-renowned Texas Medical Center. In response to the need for graduate public health education in other geographic areas of the state, the School of Public Health established regional campuses in San Antonio (1979), El Paso (1992), Dallas (1998), Brownsville (2000), and Austin (2007). Each campus was established to meet the public health education and research needs of their community. The regional campuses have their own resident faculty and on-site course offerings. Interactive video courses originate from and connect all six of the school’s campuses.

The school is comprised of four academic divisions: Biostatistics; Epidemiology, Human Genetics and Environmental Sciences; Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences; and Management, Policy and Community Health; as well as 13 research centers.

The school offers graduate education leading to proficiency in the skills needed for public health careers. The main campus in Houston offers four degree programs: MPH, DrPH, MS and PhD. The regional campuses provide masters and doctoral level education to individuals in areas geographically distanced from Houston. This allows faculty and students to target public health issues of particular relevance to the communities in which they are located.

By August of 2011, graduates of the School of Public Health numbered more than 6,000. More than half of the school’s graduates work in Texas, with the remainder addressing public health issues in the United States and abroad.