Our History

UB courses in public health, hygiene, sanitation and disease prevention date back to the late 1800s. Our department was formally established in 1919 as the Department of Hygiene and Public Health. Over the years, the name changed to Preventive Medicine and Public Health in 1946, to Social and Preventive Medicine in 1967 and in 2014, we became the Department of Epidemiology and Environmental Health.

Many distinguished epidemiologists have been part of our programs as students or faculty, including:

  • The late Saxon Graham, PhD, one of the fathers of U.S. chronic disease epidemiology and among the first researchers to focus on links between diet and the etiology and prevention of cancer
  • Germaine Buck Louis, PhD, senior investigator and director of NIH’s Division of Epidemiology, Statistics and Prevention Research within the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development
  • James R. Marshall, PhD, senior vice president for cancer prevention and population sciences and chair of the Department of Cancer Prevention and Population Sciences at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Phillip C. Nasca, PhD, dean of the University at Albany, SUNY, School of Public Health
  • The late Milton Terris, MD, MPH, physician, professor, former president of the American Public Health Association and founder of the Journal of Public Policy
  • Maurizio Trevisan, MD, former chair of UB’s Department of Social and Preventive Medicine and founding dean of the School of Public Health and Health Professions; current dean of the College of Health Sciences at Vin University in Hanoi, Vietnam.
  • Robert B. Wallace, MD, professor of epidemiology at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health; Irene Ensminger Stecher Professor of cancer research at the University of Iowa; director of the University of Iowa Center on Aging; elected member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM)

We became part of the School of Public Health and Health Professions in 2003, and added MPH programs in epidemiology, environmental health and health services administration. The department expanded its program offerings and research opportunities in 2010 with the formal creation of the Division of Environmental Health Sciences.

The department name was changed April 2014 from Social and Preventive Medicine (SPM) to Epidemiology and Environmental Health (EEH). This name better reflects the department's graduate programs and research in epidemiology, environmental health and health services administration.

The development of a new division in the department, the Division of Health Services Policy and Practice (HSPP) was started August 2014. While there always has been a focus on health services within the department, this new division will give it greater visibility in the school, the greater University and WNY community and provide new impetus to further develop and expand that focus.

  • The MPH concentration in health services administration will be part of the division and the faculty associated with that MPH program will be part of this new division. Ongoing research and service in the department with a focus on health services policy and practice will be now be part of the division. This new structure will allow us to build on and expand our existing efforts as well as to develop in new directions.