Carnegie Mellon University
June 03, 2021

Launch of Public and Population Health Working Group

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues:

Over the past 15 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of public health to our global society, and the power of innovative public health measures to save lives. 

As threats to population health increase in scale and complexity, they will continue to demand an adaptive response that is tailored for the modern era and focused on achieving equitable outcomes. The next generation of public health professionals will need to ground their decision-making in data-enabled science, continuously train in emerging technologies that are driving the future of public health, and understand human behavioral responses to various factors. 

Faculty and staff from across CMU have expertise in fields that could be leveraged to advance the future of public health, including data science, genomics, systems engineering, embedded systems, cognitive and behavioral science, health and labor economics, technology and policy, design, communication, and many more. And CMU thought leaders have long been collaborating with public health researchers and practitioners to help address important societal issues. 

At this pivotal moment for our global society, Carnegie Mellon embraces the opportunity to build on this foundation and expand CMU’s impact in public and population health. With the support of Provost Garrett and the academic deans, I have asked Amelia Haviland, professor of statistics and health policy in the Heinz College, and Roni Rosenfeld, professor and head of machine learning in the School of Computer Science, to co-chair a working group to explore this opportunity. Their charge is to explore, via discussions with public health experts, community representatives, interested faculty and staff, and other stakeholders, whether and how CMU expertise can be more intentionally aligned in support of addressing the gaps and challenges facing public and population health in the 21st century. The working group, comprised of representatives from all seven school and colleges and the University Libraries, has already begun this work with the goal of sharing its findings with me and university leadership later this summer. I invite you to read its full charge on the group’s webpage.

The working group is requesting that CMU faculty and staff members with experience, expertise, and/or interests in the field of public health complete this survey, which will inform discussions with stakeholders. 

I wish to thank Professors Haviland and Rosenfeld for their leadership as co-chairs and all the working group members for their willingness to serve the university community during this important conversation. I look forward to hearing their recommendations in the coming months, and to enhancing CMU’s leadership in this domain.


Farnam Jahanian
Henry L. Hillman Chair
Carnegie Mellon University