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About School of Public Health and Health Systems

Our world and nation have big public health and health system challenges.  Rising health care costs are unsustainable.  Millions become ill or die before they should. The burden of illness and the benefits of health are not shared equitably.  Population aging and growth, global economic conditions, environmental degradation, climate change, and human conflict increase the urgency for taking action.

Public health is the science and practice of preventing disease, improving the quality and length of human life, and reducing health inequalities by improving the “organized efforts and informed choices of societies” (Winslow, 2002). 

It emphasizes the health of populations by altering social, economic, behavioural, political, biological, and environmental determinants of health.  Systems approaches consider the dynamic interrelationships of these factors over time.  System thinkers recognize that the world is constantly changing, and so should the policies, practices, structures, processes and tools we use to improve health and health care. 

An important dimension of our School is its focus on enhancing health care through reform, integration, effectiveness and efficiency. Rather than focus on improving single procedures or service providers, we take a whole system view. Our research and education is geared towards better understanding how services should fit together into a coherent, effective system.

The School of Public Health and Health Systems aspires to solve pressing problems and produce leaders for tomorrow.

We aren’t satisfied with describing problems or theory; we want people who think differently, and can be agents for constructive change.  We aim to inspire and empower others. Our ideas and education programs focus on producing healthy system transformation.

We’re blazing new pathways that include: 

  • Research and training that incorporates complex, systems thinking.
  • Multi-disciplinary education and research, combining the best of biological, medical, social, behavioural, engineering and mathematical sciences. 
  • Emphasis on the public health and health system needs of older adults and seniors. 
  • Experiential, problem based learning for every student through co-operative education, practicums, international exchanges, community learning, and more.  
  • Bachelor, masters and doctoral degrees which prepare students for careers in a variety of health professions, policy making, or applied research.     
  • Access to education through full and part-time study, as well as leading edge on-line learning.

Key contacts

Interim Director

Administrative Assistant to Director

Future students inquiries - undergrad

Future students inquiries - graduate

Current student inquiries - undergrad

Current student inquiries - grad

General inquiries

School of Public Health and Health Systems
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
N2L 3G1

519-888-4567 ext. 36352
Fax: 519-746-6776

cwestsee@uwaterloo.ca

Public Health and Health Systems is located on the 1st and 2nd floors of B.C. Matthews Hall (BMH on map).