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About the Department

The Mission of the Department of Urban Health and Population Science is to advance the well-being of urban communities through impactful research, education, and community engagement. Our department is committed to addressing the intricate challenges of urban health and population dynamics in marginalized communities, with a focus on promoting health equity, resilience, and sustainable development.

We strive to conduct cutting-edge research that generates evidence-based solutions to improve health outcomes and enhance the overall quality of life in urban populations with complex structural determinants of health. Our interdisciplinary approach brings together more than 140 faculty, professional staff, and experts in public health, medicine, anthropology, ethics, epidemiology, sociology, law, education, social work, population science and related fields to explore the multifaceted factors influencing health and population dynamics in urban environments.

Education is a cornerstone of our mission, and we are dedicated to training the next generation of leaders in urban health and population science. Through rigorous academic programs, mentorship, and experiential learning opportunities, we empower our students to contribute meaningfully to the field, fostering a new generation of professionals who can navigate and seek to mitigate the unethical health inequities that exist in urban environments.

We foster partnerships and promote community-driven initiatives by engaging communities, policymakers, and stakeholders who are trusted messengers to translate research findings into actionable policies, interventions and practices.  The communities we partner with actively collaborate with our teams, playing a vital role in our success. We credit a substantial part of our achievements to their valuable insights and impactful contributions.

Our Department is guided by a commitment to social justice, solidarity, ethical research practices, and the principles of community-based participatory research. We are highly skilled in the science of studying equity – and in deploying evidence to drive change.

Through our work, we aspire to make lasting contributions to the field of urban health, ultimately creating healthier, more vibrant, and sustainable urban communities.

Vision Statement

The Department of Urban Health and Population Science is a global leader in creating healthier and more equitable urban communities. We pioneer transformative research, innovative education, and community partnerships that redefine the landscape of urban health by advancing knowledge, promoting evidence-based practices, and addressing health disparities within diverse populations.

Three highly respected Temple research centers are united under our Departmental umbrella: The Center for Asian Health, the Center for Urban Bioethics, and The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice.

Center for Asian Health 

The Center for Asian Health, established in 2000, is one of the first in the nation dedicated to improving health equity among underserved Asian Pacific Americans and other health-disparity populations. Grace X. Ma, PhD, Associate Dean for Health Disparities and Laura H. Carnell Professor, is the Founding Director of the Center. She is also a primary member of the Fox Chase Cancer Center faculty. The Center for Asian Health pursues its mission through multidisciplinary research; education, training, and mentorship; and community outreach and engagement. The Center also deploys dissemination and implementation science -- and patient navigation and clinical supports to enhance the cultural and linguistic appropriateness of care. Through community-based participatory research and patient-centered outcomes research, the Center integrates social, behavioral, environmental, clinical, genetic, and biological approaches into its work to address structural and social determinants of health and health disparities in cancer, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and other conditions.

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Center for Urban Bioethics 

The Center for Urban Bioethics, established in 2010 by Kathleen Reeves, MD, has become a leader and pioneer in the field, creating the first – and still housing the only – Master of Arts degree program in Urban Bioethics in the country, establishing a unique foothold within the world of bioethics. The Center’s attention to social justice is not only academic. Trauma-informed community engagement is paramount to the Center’s work. The Center engages community residents in the design, implementation, and evaluation of its programs – with key staff from the North Philadelphia community who enhance the credibility and effectiveness of the work. The Center is proud to host Philadelphia’s Cure Violence Program, Farm to Families Fresh Rx Program, Begin the Turn Opioid Use Intervention Mobile Unit, the Philadelphia Healthy and Safe Schools Program, Maternal Health Equity, and Transformative Emotional Academic Community Healing, among many others.

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The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice 

The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice is an action research center redefining what it means to be a student-ready college with a national movement centering #RealCollege students’ basic needs. Dr. Anne E. Lundquist serves as Director and Assistant Professor at The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice in the Department of Urban Health and Population Science at the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University. The Hope Center was originally created in 2013 as the Wisconsin HOPE Lab before evolving to its new home in Philadelphia in 2018.  The Hope Center operates on the core belief that students are humans first and that their basic needs are central conditions for learning. The team leads the largest national assessments of food and housing insecurity in higher education -- and pioneers improvements in institutional practice as well as federal and state policy to advance equitable college attainment.

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While each Center maintains its independent mission and portfolio within the Department, all three also work together. Principles of solidarity and social justice unify our aims.

Collectively, we have received millions in public and private contributions – from funders such as NIH, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, Health and Human Resources Services Administration, and private foundations – enabling us to build evidence-based, practical solutions that reduce health disparities, improve quality of life, train the healthcare workforces of tomorrow around equity, and improve health outcomes.