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Mission and History

New students at Dornsife receive a pin that reads "Public Health, Human Rights"
New students, faculty, and staff at Drexel Dornsife are presented with the school's pin, which reads, "Public Health, Human Rights."

Our Mission to Improve the Health of Communities

Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health promotes our mission of improving the health of communities and populations through:

The School prepares professionals to develop, implement and evaluate strategies to address the wide range of public health programs faced by the world today, from infectious disease to nutrition, violence, and healthcare inequality. Our students experience all of the benefits of studying public health in Philadelphia.

Our belief is that professionals can best meet the needs of today and tomorrow with a blend of scientific rigor, real-world know-how, and practical application of all disciplines of public health.

Drexel Dornsife's Vision

Our School was founded with a vision of health as a human right and the recognition of the importance of social justice as a means to achieve health for all.

Our Commitment to Health as a Human Right

Dr. Jonathan Mann was the school’s founding dean. Arguably one of the greatest health and human rights experts in American history, Dr. Mann also founded the World Health Organization HIV/AIDS Program.

Dr. Mann is world-renowned for linking public health and human rights, and his philosophy remains as one of our core values. We are committed to creating rigorous interdisciplinary academic, research and community programs that emphasize the unique role of human rights in public health science and practice.

Consistent with our history and values, Dornsife created the Jonathan Mann Global Health and Human Rights Initiative, guided by our Office of Global Health.

Learn more about Dr. Jonathan Mann

Education and Research Goals and Strategies

Drexel Dornsife strives to be a leader and innovator in providing an exemplary public health education to current and future public health leaders, practitioners, scientists, and scholars with a curriculum that:

  • Emphasizes the multi-level determinants of population health
  • Explicitly links knowledge to problem solving, practice, and policy
  • Emphasizes the core values of health as a human right and health equity
  • Provides state-of-the-art training in relevant theory, methods, and practical skills (including leadership, civic engagement, and science-based advocacy)
  • Flexibly responds to an evolving public health context

Drexel Dornsife strives to be a leader in conducting scientifically rigorous, interdisciplinary public health research with a community that:

  • Finds innovative solutions and brings understanding to local, state, national, and global population health problems.
  • Provides regular opportunities for intellectual exchange and debate on emerging public health challenges and opportunities.
  • Promotes interdisciplinary research collaborations across units within Drexel and between Drexel and external partners.
  • Grows and diversifies externally-funded research portfolio in areas including but not limited to urban health, health disparities, translation of evidence into practice and policy, and health and human rights.
  • Disseminates research and scholarship widely and through multiple venues.

History and Impact at Drexel Dornsife

Public Health, Human Rights: 25th Anniversary of Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public HealthFor over 25 years, the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University has been providing education, conducting research, and partnering with communities and organizations to improve the health of populations, with a significant focus on urban health.

The School’s history is marked by forward thinking, tremendous growth, and substantive community impact.

Today the public health school is reaching new milestones in student enrollment, faculty recruitment, research grants, and community and policy engagement.

Within the past decade Drexel Dornsife has tripled its research expenditures while continuing to reaffirm a commitment to health and human rights, to eliminating health disparities, and to translating evidence into policy and practice.

Read a reflection on 25 years by Dean Emerita Ana Diez Roux, meet 25 outstanding DSPH alumni to celebrate 25 years, and learn more about the school's timeline:

Year Milestones

Public Health School is Founded

  • First MPH cohort of 24 students enrolled
  • 1 degree program

Tragedy and Transition

  • Dr. Jonathan Mann is named as the school's founding dean.
  • Dr. Mann and his wife, Mary Lou Clements-Mann, die in a plane crash later in the year.
  • Bankruptcy shutters the public school health school's parent, Alleghany Health Education and Research Foundation.
  • School becomes MCP Hahnemann University School of Public Health.


  • School becomes Drexel University School of Public Health.
  • Marla J. Gold, MD, is appointed Dean and restarts accreditation process.
  • Student enrollment and faculty recruitment grow, and community partnerships are expanded.
  • 45 students enrolled, 1 degree program

We’re Accredited


Celebrating a Decade at Drexel

  • 289 students enrolled
  • 10 degree and certificate programs

New Leadership


No Place Like Home

  • Public health school moves from Center City into a renovated Nesbitt Hall on Drexel's campus.
  • 10 degree and certificate programs

New Name, New Resources


A Bright Future

  • 429 students enrolled at Drexel Dornsife
  • 13 degree and certificate programs

Community Engagement in Focus


Because Public Health Can’t Wait


On a Mission to Improve Population Health


Driven to Address Health Equity


Looking Upstream

Discover new pathways and opportunities with Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health.

Learn More About Drexel Dornsife

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