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James Buehler, MD

James W. Buehler

Teaching Professor
Health Management and Policy
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BA in Biochemistry, University of California, Berkeley; MD, University of California, San Francisco


James W. Buehler, MD, is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Health Management and Policy and an affiliate of the Drexel Urban Health Collaborative.

Prior to joining the Drexel faculty in 2013, Dr. Buehler had over two decades of government public health service at the federal Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta and Georgia’s state health department, where his work spanned general field epidemiology, maternal and child health, infectious diseases (particularly HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases, and tuberculosis), population health surveillance, public health ethics, informatics, and emergency preparedness and response.

During the final 18 months of Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration, Drexel granted Dr. Buehler a leave-of-absence to serve as Philadelphia’s health commissioner, where he directed the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. In that capacity, he was responsible for a broad spectrum of public health and safety-net clinical services and for leading the health department’s response to the threat of Ebola virus in 2014-15 and its preparations for the Pope’s visit to Philadelphia in 2015.

In addition to his position at Drexel, Dr. Buehler was formerly a research professor in the Department of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University.

His research interests focus on advancing public health systems, including the interface between public health and health care services.

Dr. Buehler served as Interim Chair of the Department of Health Management and Policy from 2019-2022.

He is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley, the School of Medicine of the University of California at San Francisco, and CDC’s Epidemic Intelligence Service program; and he is board-certified in Pediatrics and General Preventive Medicine.

Research Interests

  • Health Policy
  • Urban Health
  • Public Health Practice
  • Public Health & Health Care Interface


Buehler JW, Bernsten DS, Clarke PE, Geisse K. Defining population health use policies for a regional health information exchange. Population Health Matters, 2018;31(1):Article 7.

Purtle J, Field RI, Hipper T, Nash-Arott J, Chernak E, Buehler JW. The impact of law on syndromic disease surveillance implementation. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 2018;24(1):9-17.

Buehler JW, Snyder RL, Freeman SL, Carson SR, Ortega AN. It's not just insurance: the Affordable Care Act and population health. Public Health Reports, 2018;133(1):34-38.

Buehler JW, Crum J, Alles S. The public health response to the Pope Francis' visit to Philadelphia, 2015. Health Security, 2017;15(5):548-558.

Buehler JW. Legal intervention deaths in the United States, 2010-2014. American Journal of Public Health, 2017;107(2):295-297.

Purtle J, Klassen AC, Kolker J, Peters RM, Buehler JW. Local health departments' level of engagement in population mental health promotion. Frontiers in Public Health Services & Systems Research, 2016;5(1):41-47.

Purtle J, Klassen AC, Kolker J, Buehler JW. Prevalence and correlates of local health department activities to address mental health in the United States. Preventive Medicine, 2015;82:20-27.

Robbins JM, Mallya G, Wagner A, Buehler JW. Prevalence, disparities, and trends in obesity and severe obseity among students in the School District of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 2006-2013. Preventing Chronic Disease, 2015;12:150-185.

Ogden LO, Buehler JW, Bernet P. Funding formulas for public health allocations: federal and state strategies. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice 2012;13(4):323-332.

Buehler JW, Bernett PM, Ogden LO. Resource and cost adjustment in the design of allocation funding formulas in public health programs. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 2012;18(4):323-332.

Buehler JW, Bernet PM, Ogden LO. Reference allocations and use of a disparity measure to inform the design of allocation funding formulas in public health programs. Journal of Public Health Management and Practice, 2012;18(4):333-338.