The CUNY School of Public Health is particularly committed to five strategic focus areas. These domains comprise fields of expertise and differentiation in the way we teach, conduct research and establish partnerships in New York City and around the world. Although our faculty engages in a wide range of research disciplines, our five focus areas represent particular strong areas of depth among faculty as well as significant future opportunities in public health innovation.

Food, Nutrition and Health

Malnutrition and poor nutrition are at the root of most of the world’s chronic, non-communicable diseases. Food security, lack of choices, and environmental health challenges are some of public health’s most pressing upstream issues.

Without a better understanding of contemporary food systems and food industry influence, we are forfeiting important opportunities to make a positive impact on the world’s health.

The CUNY School of Public Health is focused on this high-priority area through research, teaching and partnerships. We work with organizations focused on food, nutrition and agriculture, in New York City and beyond, and continue to seek out new partnerships.

We offer numerous degree options in nutrition and food science, including undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. Our graduates pursue work in health education settings, governmental agencies, and numerous local community organizations.

Population Informatics and Social Marketing

Collecting, processing and disseminating health data for individuals, families and policymakers is now an essential component of pubic health research and practice. New capabilities with data are also informing how we understand the social and communications-related variables that influence individual health choices.

While reaching people individually through communications will continue to be an important field of research and practice, healthier social norms are most effectively achieved by engaging groups, understanding relationships within those groups, and developing messaging that understands values, aspirations, and the costs of choices.

Social marketing combines traditional marketing strategies with social justice principles to achieve social change. Through our commitment and focus to public health informatics and social marketing, the CUNY School of Public Health works on real problems in New York City and elsewhere to break through the complex and challenging barriers that stand in the way of achieving a healthier and more equitable society.

Preventing Chronic, Non-Communicable Diseases

While public health has been effective at reducing infectious diseases over the past decades, the rates of non-communicable diseases continue to increase. Conditions like asthma, cancer, heart disease and diabetes account for a growing burden of illnesses in New York City and throughout the world, and remain a leading factor in our persistent racial and ethnic health disparities. Along with being directly connected to human suffering and injustice, this issue is closely connected to economic mobility across all levels of society.

This is why seeking to reduce the burden of chronic diseases is a key focus area for the CUNY School of Public Health. These challenges require the integration of genetic, biological, economic, environmental and sociocultural knowledge to inform interdisciplinary interventions that address the full spectrum of the life course.

The CUNY School of Public Health works with a range of organizations, throughout New York City and beyond, to develop innovative solutions that reduce the chronic disease burden – now and into the future.

Maternal, Child, Sexual and Reproductive Health

The moment of conception through early childhood is the period when human development occurs most rapidly, and when nurturance is critical. Much of our risk of chronic diseases is set during this first period of our lives, as are lifelong cognitive and mental health markers. These are among the reasons society must invest heavily in the intersection of maternal, child, sexual and reproductive health.

Understanding risk burden within vulnerable populations focuses on the intersection of human biology and human culture, and seeks to better understand the needs of individuals, family and community. Furthermore, the advocacy for women’s rights, representation, and influence cannot be engaged without the implication of all those factors on health and the implications of health on those factors.

Along with our research and extensive community partnerships in this area, the CUNY School of Public Health offers an academic degree concentration in Maternal, Child, Sexual and Reproductive Health within the master’s degree program. Students culminate their experience with supervised fieldwork with one of our many partners in New York City and conclude with a capstone project in this crucial area of public health.

Immigrant and Global Health

We live in an increasingly interconnected world, where diseases, wars and natural disasters in other continents can have sudden and direct impacts close to home.

This is especially true in New York City, which has been a destination, and a hub, for billions of the world’s people throughout its history.

CUNY School of Public Health researchers, teachers, and students benefit from the diversity of the population that passes through New York City, as well as the density and diversity of our immigrant population that chooses the city as its home.

At CUNY, we have an additional perspective on all this, as 40 percent of our students were born outside the U.S., and speak well over 100 different languages.

As we connect with the institutions in New York City that share these challenges with communities throughout the world, we recognize that we are in a unique place to learn directly from these events of disaster, vulnerability, and opportunity, and more importantly, to contribute to their solutions.