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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

Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health improves the health of communities and populations through innovative public health degree and certificate programs, cutting-edge research and scholarship, and cooperative partnerships with other civic, business, and academic institutions committed to solving our world’s most difficult health challenges.

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.

A Commitment to Health As A Human Right

Dr. Jonathan Mann served as 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

Celebrating 25 Years of History and Impact

Public Health, Human Rights: 25th Anniversary of Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public HealthIn the 2021-2022 academic year, the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University celebrated 25 years of 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 school is reaching new milestones in student enrollment, faculty recruitment, research grants, and community and policy engagement.

Within the past decade 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 Diez Roux, meet 25 outstanding DSPH alumni to celebrate 25 years, and learn more about the school's 25-year timeline:



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

  • The Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) fully accredits the school.
  • The school reaches new milestones in student enrollment, faculty recruitment, research grants, and community partnerships.


Celebrating a Decade at Drexel

  • 289 students enrolled
  • 10 degree and certificate programs


New Leadership

  • Ana V. Diez Rouz, MD, PhD, MPH, is appointed Dean.
  • 10 degree and certificate programs


No Place Like a 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

  • School receives a transformative $45 million naming gift from Dana and David Dornsife.
  • School becomes Drexel University's Dornsife School of Public Health.


Bright Future

  • 429 students enrolled
  • 13 degree and certificate programs


Community Engagement in Focus

  • ASPPH names Dornsife as the country’s top school for community-engaged public health work.


Because Public Health Can't Wait

  • Over 600 students enrolled
  • 28 degree and certificate programs including on-campus and online programs
  • Research expenditures tripled within the past decade.
  • Over 10 research centers and programs including two new centers in 2021: The Ubuntu Center on Racism, Global Movements and Population Health Equity and the Medical Cannabis Research Center
  • Ranked as the top school of public health in Philadelphia by US News & World Report


A Mission to Improve Population Health

  • School granted renewed accreditation by CEPH for the maximum allowable time period of seven years.
  • School welcomed 15 new faculty members who will strengthen our commitment to rigorous science in the service of meaningful action and social justice.