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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 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 who can 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 History and Impact

In the 2021-2022 academic year, the Dornsife School of Public Health at Drexel University is celebrating 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 has been 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.

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. Learn more about the school's 25-year history:

 

1996

Public Health School is Founded

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

1998

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.

2002

Rebirth

  • 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

2007

We're Accredited

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

2012

Celebrating a Decade at Drexel

  • 289 students enrolled
  • 10 degree and certificate programs

2013

New Leadership

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

2014

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

2015

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

2016

Bright Future

  • 429 students enrolled
  • 13 degree and certificate programs

2018

Community Engagement in Focus

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

2021

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