Beyond crunching numbers

Understanding disease risks and uncovering health trends requires a lot of data, and biostatistics is the field that helps make sense of it. Working side-by-side with other researchers, biostatisticians combine insights from biology, mathematics and statistical analysis to look at health data in new ways, sorting out the meaningful information from the useless “noise” and discovering important patterns in individuals and communities. Students in biostatistics learn how to apply statistical and mathematical methods to scientific research, gaining hands-on experience and an analytical perspective integral to advancing public health.

From analyzing genetics to designing clinical trials to determining the impacts of racism on health, biostatisticians help address today’s most critical emerging health problems and find new ways to learn from data. Ohio State College of Public Health alumni go on to work for universities, private research institutions, hospitals, the pharmaceutical industry, state and local health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and more. 



Environmental Health Sciences
A 'one health' approach

The environment around us is intrinsic to human health — from the food we eat to the air we breathe. That’s why, by identifying hazardous agents such as toxic chemicals and infectious microorganisms in the environment that affect human health, environmental public health professionals are key to protecting people and communities.

Students in environmental health sciences use methods from biology, chemistry, microbiology, toxicology, epidemiology and more to untangle the relationships between and among humans, animals and the environment and explore how those connections contribute to disease. Exploring the intersection of science, policy and public health, students gain an understanding of how environmental health hazards and associated risks disproportionately affect vulnerable communities and learn strategies to work toward dismantling inequities.

From air and water pollution, to climate change, to infectious diseases and other major health threats including cancer and asthma, an ever-growing set of diverse challenges demand expertise in environmental public health. Ohio State environmental health sciences alumni go on to careers in state and federal government — at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Food and Drug Administration and Department of Energy and in careers throughout private industry, academia and nonprofit organizations.



Disease detectives

COVID-19. Racism. Cancer. HIV. Some of the most vexing challenges demand answers from epidemiology — the study and analysis of disease distribution, frequency and causes. Public health decisions like coronavirus closures, tobacco laws and nutrition labeling can’t be made responsibly without the epidemiology to back them up.

Along with gaining critical skills in disease surveillance, outbreak investigation, molecular epidemiology and research methods, Ohio State epidemiology students learn to understand the historical and social context surrounding diseases. Taught by world-class faculty, they examine how social determinants of health — much like chronic and infectious illnesses — tend to spread in predictable patterns.

Ohio State epidemiology alumni go on to work at independent research firms, colleges and universities, hospitals and local, national and international public health agencies. From disease prevention and control, to data analysis and research, to health care consulting and community health, the possibilities to better people’s lives are plentiful.



Health Behavior and Health Promotion
Helping people thrive

Obesity. Drug use. Unsafe sex. Why are these health challenges so rampant when we know that much of the burden is preventable? Health Behavior and Health Promotion professionals look at the socioeconomic, environmental and societal factors that undermine public health so they can design strategies to intervene — and to support healthy choices.

Students in Health Behavior and Health Promotion learn to become change agents for diverse communities, developing skills to reduce health disparities and promote individual and population health. Courses on developing and evaluating programs and policies, preventing disease through behavioral science and community problem solving provide students with the tools to recognize and advance the conditions necessary for healthy living.

“Ultimately, our goal is to help people live healthier lives,” says Liz Klein, interim chair of the Division of Health Behavior and Health Promotion. Program alumni lead diverse careers across sectors in health education, drug and alcohol misuse prevention, minority health, community relations and more.



Health Services Management and Policy
An impactful, dynamic field

Running institutions including state health agencies and hospitals requires keeping track of many moving parts and maintaining a focus on the well-being of the people the institution serves. From organizational behavior and leadership, to information management, to patient access and care, health services management and policy professionals are part of a dynamic field with the power to influence entire systems and communities.

At Ohio State, Health Services Management and Policy students learn from passionate and engaged faculty about the various factors influencing health care policy, quality and equity, as well as patient safety and health economics. With the U.S. health care system dramatically growing and evolving, and disparities becoming clearer, an increasing wealth of opportunities are emerging for graduates in this field. Ohio State Health Services Management and Policy alumni are transforming the future of health care in leadership positions around the nation including in consulting, research, policy analysis, hospital administration and financial management. Many have launched their own organizations, such as Just Health Collective (Duane Reynolds ’04) and More Inclusive Healthcare (Lisa Sloane ’07).



Undergraduate Degrees, MPH-Program for Experienced Professionals and Degree Enhancements