Center for the History and Ethics of Public Health
722 W. 168th St., 9th Floor
New York, NY 10032
Environmental and Occupational Disease, Immigration, Medicine, Public Health, and Urban Health and Development
Columbia University has created a unique doctoral and master's program in the History and Ethics of Public Health joining together three of the leading educational faculties in the nation: the faculty of the Department of History, the faculty of Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and the faculty of the Center for the Study of Society and Medicine in the College of Physicians and Surgeons. By combining rigorous historical analysis with contemporary concerns of public health practitioners the program instills in students a profound understanding of the social and political forces that shape contemporary policy. Students can apply to either the Masters of Public Health (MPH) program in the History and Ethics of Public Health or to the PhD program through the Department of Sociomedical Sciences. The educational program is committed to the exploration of the ethics of public health (as contrasted with an ethics of the clinical relationship). Where bioethics has centered its concern on the protection of the individual patient and research subject, the ethics of public health must take the protection of populations as its starting point. These normative considerations, in turn, provide the starting point for new historically-informed studies. Toxic threats, social justice, liberty and paternalism, privacy and protection, coercion and persuasion, as well as questions about the broad responsibilities of the State are ethical themes that surface in ongoing faculty research. Among the specific subjects of inquiry have been environmental and occupational threats, tobacco control, harm reduction, disease surveillance, mandatory public health interventions such as immunization and emergency evacuation, and the political response to the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. and South Africa. Because of its expertise the faculty has often been called to serve as consultants to federal and state governments, the Institute of Medicine, and international organizations such as the World Health Organization.
Special Programs or Resources
The History and Ethics of Public Health Program joins together historians, ethicists and practitioners in a joint effort to train students in historical methods. It provides a unique opportunity to develop an understanding of the context in which ethical considerations have emerged in public health and medicine. Using history and ethics as a means of informing and shaping contemporary policy debates students will develop an understanding of the context in which ethical considerations have emerged in public health and medicine.
It attracts students directly out of undergraduate programs as well as public health practitioners, policy analysts, epidemiologists, clinicians and medical center staff, and clergy. Recent college graduates with training or an interest in history, ethics, sociology, political science, philosophy, or other humanities and social sciences are encouraged to apply. The program prepares graduates with knowledge and skills to work in academic, policy, and administrative positions.
Financial aid package includes a stipend for 9 months, health insurance and computer fees and full tuition for the academic year. Doctoral candidates receive a stipend of $21,218 which is based on an expectation of 20 hours per week of applied research work on one of the department's ongoing research grants. Continued funding is through the students' coursework stage of doctoral studies. The coursework stage is defined as 3 years for students coming in with no previous master's degree and 2 years for students coming in with a previous master's degree.
60 credits required; qualifying exams: research methods examination (written), oral examinations - Health Behavior/Population Health, Health Care Systems, and History
Information from Department of Education
(Includes information on the size, location, and general characteristics of faculty and student body)
Information from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
(Includes rating of the institution's rating of the graduate instructional program and size and setting)
Relative Size based on Number of Full-time Faculty: [Explain]
Student Demographics (Fall 2011):
Number of Doctoral Students in Program: 7
New Doctoral Students Entering Program: 1
Proportion of Doctoral Students Receiving Financial Aid: 30%
Number of Graduate Students Enrolled:
Relative Size Based on Graduate Student Enrollment: [Explain]
First PhD conferred: 2004
History PhDs conferred to Date: 10
Number of PhDs Conferred (2011–12):
Relative Size Based on PhDs Conferred: [Explain]
Last Updated: October 19, 2012