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Leading Public Health Education at O'Donnell School

The UT Southwestern O'Donnell School of Public Health is built around a simple premise: to engage in rigorous research and outreach that delivers excellence for impact.

We are advancing the nation's health through groundbreaking research and by training a new generation of leaders who can respond to emerging public health needs. Read Full Overview

Degree Programs

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M.P.H. (2 or 3 years)

Applications are now closed for Fall 2024.

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M.D./M.P.H. (4 years)

Applications are now closed for Fall 2024.

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MSCI (1.5 - 3 years)

Applications are now closed for Fall 2024.

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Ph.D. (4-5 years)

Applications are now closed for Fall 2024.

Request More InfoView Our M.P.H. BrochureView Our Ph.D. Brochure

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Join the OSPH Team

OSPH has grown rapidly and now includes a multidisciplinary team of 48 primary faculty members, 35 scholars with secondary appointments, and 75 staff members who conduct research and prepare the next generation of professionals to address major public health challenges. The school is poised to grow further in a short period of time. We are currently looking for exemplary faculty and staff to join our team!

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Meet Our New Faculty

Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D.

Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D., serves as the chair designate of Epidemiology at OSPH and as the Director of Implementation Research in the Department of Internal Medicine. Dr. He, a Johns Hopkins-trained epidemiologist and National Academy of Medicine member, served as the Chair of Department of Epidemiology at Tulane University.

Dr. He has significantly contributed to cardiovascular epidemiology, participating in over 50 NIH research projects totaling over $200 million in funding. As Principal Investigator, he led 24 projects with costs exceeding $98 million. He has authored or co-authored more than 700 peer-reviewed papers, published in top journals like NEJM, The Lancet, JAMA, Nature, and Science, and is consistently ranked among the most highly cited epidemiologists globally.

Jiang He, M.D., Ph.D.Professor
Sarah Messiah, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Sarah Messiah, M.P.H., Ph.D. is the Director of the Child and Adolescent Population Health Program and Professor of Pediatrics at UT Southwestern. With extensive expertise in epidemiology and a focus on childhood obesity and cardio metabolic disease, Dr. Messiah is internationally recognized for her work in school-based interventions. As the National Chair of The Obesity Society’s annual planning committee for Obesity Week and a Fellow of the Obesity Society, her leadership is widely respected.

Yingjie Qiu, M.S., Ph.D.

Yingjie Qiu, M.S., Ph.D., joins OSPH as an Assistant Professor in Biostatistics. He holds a Ph.D. in Biostatistics & Health Data Science from Indiana University School of Medicine and Fairbanks School of Public Health. Dr. Qiu’s expertise lies in developing statistical methodologies to address real-world challenges, with a focus on clinical trial designs, missing data analysis, and methods for single-cell and spatial transcriptomics. He has contributed to multiple collaborative projects, publishing significant research in medicine, public health, and biology. Dr. Qiu is dedicated to fostering interdisciplinary collaborations and translating statistical insights to drive clinical decisions and research directions.

Alejandra Fernandez, M.S., Ph.D.

Alejandra Fernandez, M.S., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in Social and Behavioral Sciences. Previously, she served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Promotion and Behavioral Sciences at UTHealth Houston. Dr. Fernandez received their Ph.D. in Health Behavior and Health Education from the University of Texas at Austin in 2017. Her research focuses on ecological factors and family functioning related to health outcomes such as substance use and obesity, particularly within Hispanic populations. Dr. Fernandez aims to develop multi-level family-based interventions to improve health outcomes by addressing cultural and societal factors.

Mingyue Li, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Mingyue Li, M.P.H., Ph.D. is an Instructor in Biostatistics. She brings a comprehensive background in molecular and genetic epidemiology, with a focus on understanding the interplay between genetics, environmental factors, and diseases, particularly cancers. Dr. Li holds a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Indiana University, with a minor in Bioinformatics, and has experience identifying genetic variants linked to cancer susceptibility and exploring metabolic pathways influencing mitochondrial health. Her role as a research assistant and experience as a Merck Health Economics and Outcome Research Associate have equipped her with skills in handling large datasets and mentoring students.

Samaah Sullivan, M.P.H., Ph.D.

Samaah Sullivan, M.P.H., Ph.D., joins OSPH as an Assistant Professor in Epidemiology. Previously, she served as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Epidemiology, Human Genetics, and Environmental Sciences at UTHealth Houston. Prior to UTHealth, Dr. Sullivan spent five years at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, first as a postdoctoral fellow on a T32 focused on cardiovascular inequalities and then as an Instructor.

Her research investigates the biological embedding of psychosocial stress and social disadvantage, particularly among women, and has revealed critical sex differences in how stress affects cardiovascular health. Recognized by the American Heart Association and the NIH, Dr. Sullivan's work has also received accolades such as third place in the American Heart Association’s Research Goes Red Data Challenge.

Hui (Henry) Luan, Ph.D.

Hui (Henry) Luan, Ph.D., joins the School as an Assistant Professor in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Previously, he served as an Assistant Professor in spatial epidemiology at the University of Oregon and received his doctoral from the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Luan’s research focuses on using data-driven and computational approaches, including Bayesian spatiotemporal statistics and GIS techniques, to study geographical and racial disparities in HIV. He have successfully secured six grants and their work has been recognized by various organizations, including the American Heart Association and the NIH.


Dr. Luyu (Amber) Xie joins OSPH as an Assistant Professor. She joins us from University of Texas Health Science Center, where she earned her her Ph.D. in Epidemiology with a minor in Biostatistics and her PharmD from the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Her research focuses on utilizing real-world data, including surveys, electronic health records, and claims data, to enhance our understanding of chronic diseases such as asthma, obesity, and cardiovascular conditions.

Dr. Xie has authored numerous peer-reviewed publications, including articles in high-impact journals such as JAMA Pediatrics, JAMA Network Open, and Circulation. She is a member of the Delta Omega Honorary Society in Public Health, the American Heart Association, and the International Society for Pharmacoepidemiology.


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Message from the Founding Dean

Headshot of Saad B. Omer, M.B.B.S, Ph.D.

“Excellence for impact is the cornerstone of the O’Donnell School of Public Health. It is our commitment to our communities that drives us to utilize the best available evidence, be it through education, policy change, or clinical care. Therefore, OSPH is dedicated to providing world-class training and creating an environment conducive to excellence, mentorship, and meaningful collaboration among cohorts of talented individuals who share our passion for making a difference.”

Saad B. Omer, M.B.B.S., M.P.H., Ph.D.Dean of the O'Donnell School of Public Health

Our Values

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Uphold the highest standards in scholarship, service, and scientific generation of knowledge

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Foster respect, fairness, dignity, and inclusion to maximize health outcomes

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Build relationships and empower teamwork across disciplines to drive science, innovation, and policy

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Enhance understanding by translating data into action and effectively communicating discoveries to the public

Our Goals

Goal 1

Promote science and evidence-based decision-making

Goal 2

Monitor and improve health at all levels

Goal 3

Foster innovation

Goal 4

Inform and equip a diverse and inclusive public health workforce

Advancing Research


Total Funding


NIH Funding


CPRIT Cancer Funding


Foundations & Other

Community-driven Health & Equity

  • Artificial Intelligence to Identify Cancer

    Funded by the National Institutes of Health and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, UT Southwestern researchers have developed a software tool that uses artificial intelligence to recognize cancer cells from digital pathology images – giving clinicians a powerful way of predicting patient outcomes.

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  • Breast Screening and Patient Navigation Program (BSPAN)

    Launched in 2009 with funding from the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, the Breast Screening and Patient Navigation (BSPAN) program works with community providers and other local organizations to decrease financial and geographical hurdles that keep women from getting mammograms and timely diagnostic services.

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  • Colon Cancer Screening

    Funded by the National Cancer Institute and the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, Colon Cancer Screening is a program that asks patients to mail in stool samples to screen for colon cancer is an effective way to expand screenings to underserved and underinsured communities and offers an alternative to in-person testing during the pandemic, according to a study conducted by UT Southwestern and Parkland Health & Hospital system.

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  • COVID-19 Prevalence Study

    UT Southwestern’s  COVID-19 Prevalence Study, in partnership with Texas Health Resources, local organizations, and community leaders, seeks to understand how many people have the virus and why some communities are hit harder than others.

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  • Dallas Heart Study ​

    The only single-center heart study of its size and multiethnic composition, the Dallas Heart Study is a scientific resource that becomes more valuable each year as the population ages, providing opportunities to learn more about environmental, social, and genetic factors that contribute to health and disease.

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  • Food Pantries Need to Address Food Insecurity

    Food banks should be used more consistently rather than only during emergencies to better address food insecurity and related health issues, a joint study by researchers at UT Southwestern and economists at the University of Dallas shows. The research is funded by multiple foundations and community organizations.

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  • Population Science and Cancer Control

    UT Southwestern’s Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Population Science and Cancer Control (PS) Program generates research discoveries addressing cancer burden and disparities in our catchment area and beyond. With over $5 million in funding each year from the National Institutes of Health and the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas, program members conduct research to generate discoveries across the cancer continuum from prevention and early detection, through treatment and survivorship.

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  • PROSPR Study

    Partnering with the Dallas County’s Parkland Health & Hospital System, UT Southwestern’s Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers are deploying funding from the National Cancer Institute to address challenges of helping individuals complete the cervical and colorectal screening processes. As leaders in this large consortium of researchers, they are setting an agenda nationally for cancer prevention and detection in the neediest of populations.

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  • Texas Online Population Health Assessment Tool (TOPHAT)

    TOPHAT provides access to multiple, interactive, layers of population health statistics, such as morbidity rates and life expectancy. The public can easily assess the health of neighborhoods, cities, towns, and counties for populations defined by race/ethnicity and sex across the state.

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UT Southwestern Affiliated Health Systems

Children’s HealthSM Children’s Medical Center Dallas
A 300-bed facility in southern Dallas
Scottish Rite

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