Who We Are

Sociomedical Sciences sets public health challenges in broad social, historical, and political context. Faculty engage in action-oriented research that not only deepens critical scholarly perspectives in the social and behavioral sciences, but also empowers communities and informs public policy.


Sociomedical sciences improve population health by analyzing and addressing the social, political, historical, cultural, psychological, and economic forces that influence health outcomes. Faculty and student research advances the theory and practice of public health, empowers communities, and informs public policy.


Early in the 20th century, the field of public health was more focused on understanding germs than the social forces that create disease. In 1968, Columbia University’s School of Public Health became the first in the country to offer a graduate degree in the social sciences with a focus on health, fulfilling the promise from earlier in the century and helping to return the field's attention to these important questions.

Graduates go on to leadership positions in government, community-based and non-governmental organizations, healthcare organizations, universities, think tanks and research consultancies, foundations and philanthropies, and media organizations.