History & Mission


Through excellence in research, education and practice, the University of Pittsburgh School of Public Health generates knowledge, trains public health professions and partners with communities locally and globally to promote health, prevent disease and achieve health equity.

Strategic Plan

Our Beginnings

Pitt's School of Public Health was founded in 1948 with a $13.6 million grant from the A. W. Mellon Educational and Charitable Trust. When the school opened its doors two years later in 1950, it was the 13th public health school in the nation. With an initial focus on occupational health and hygiene, the school was naturally influenced to address local public health needs within the industrialized City of Pittsburgh. Later, as Pittsburgh transformed into an economy driven by education and research, so did Pitt Public Health.

Looking Forward

The school now focuses its research on global health, health equity and premature mortality. Research also continues in such traditional Pitt Public Health study areas as infectious diseases, workplace and environmental health, strokes and heart disease, and radiation safety. Learn more about how emerging challenges have shaped our current priorities.

Jonas Salk
Salk Legacy

In 1947, the University of Pittsburgh recruited Jonas Salk—an expert in influenza whose flu vaccine is still in use today—to lead the development of a virus program at Pitt. Learn more about the Salk team's work to end polio’s reign of terror.

Clinician and patient
Historical Contributions

Pitt Public Health's legacy includes groundbreaking clinical trials, occupational-safety investigations, violence-prevention initiatives, one of the nation's earliest and most extensive investigations into AIDS, and much more.

Cathedral of Learning
Current Priorities

Our priorities are based on key areas that drive positive change. They confront obstacles to people leading healthier lives and enrich the future of public health. Learn more about our four strategic priorities.