The Department of Population Health Sciences traces its beginnings to 1899, one year after the founding of Cornell University Medical College. Then known as the Department of Hygiene and Sanitary Science, it was created to enhance undergraduate education in hygiene and address the growing demands of public health. In 1927, its name was changed to the Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine to better reflect its mission. Anticipating current healthcare concerns, the Department was instrumental in the incorporation of preventive medicine and community insight in clinical practice at the medical college.
In 1960, the Department consolidated its name to the Department of Public Health while maintaining its focus on the sociological components of medicine. By the 1990s, the Department held an increasingly important role in support of healthcare institutions and strengthened its research and academics through expanded recruitment of new faculty.
After more than a century of shaping public health in the U.S., the Department shifted its concentration to the study and improvement of healthcare delivery. In 2014, it completed its transformation into the Department of Healthcare Policy & Research under the inaugural leadership of Dr. Rainu Kaushal.
To address the intersection of research and practice, Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian realigned the department as the Department of Population Health Sciences in 2020.
The Department leverages expertise in data science, health services research, health economics and public health, combined with an increased emphasis on epidemiology, to holistically evaluate the drivers that ultimately contribute to population health.
The Department is organized into six interconnected divisions and two institutes supported by the Data Core.