Who We Are

The Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health (HDPFH) addresses a wide range of challenges to health, focusing on sexual and reproductive health and rights, forced migration, child and adolescent health, environmental justice, and complex health systems.

From school health programs in New York City to bolstering maternal health in Ghana, we join with community partners to identify and address the most urgent community health needs.


Our vision is to affirm that health is a basic human right and to contribute to achieving that right for all. Combining knowledge of the impact of law and global governance on public health at the local level with complex health systems analysis and implementation science, HDPFH prevents and addresses public health threats in low-income, unstable, and inequitable environments globally and locally. 


The Heilbrunn Department of Population and Family Health (HDPFH) at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health is a global and local leader in practice-based, values driven public health policy and action. HDPFH uses varied interdisciplinary scientific and technological approaches and a justice framework to understand factors undermining health and wellbeing so as to shift policy and practice. The Department educates leaders in sexual and reproductive health and rights, wellbeing of migrant populations and people confronting health emergencies and humanitarian crises, the health of children facing adversity, environmental justice, and human rights. We shift global health policy and practice to improve health systems and health outcomes for populations in low-income, unstable, or inequitable environments worldwide.

Graduates go on to leadership positions in government, hospitals, universities, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector. Alumni hold top posts at such organizations and agencies as the U.S. Centers for Disease and Prevention, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the World Health Organization, the Rockefeller Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and the International Rescue Committee.

Read more about our cutting-edge research and teaching efforts as well as the work of our students and faculty on our News and Events page.