The Department of Public Health Sciences develops and implements scientific methods for collecting, generating, analyzing, and understanding health data in order to improve the health of the public.

Public Health Sciences is the home in the Biological Sciences Division for the core quantitative research fields in public health: biostatistics, epidemiology and health services research. Our faculty both lead research projects in these fields and participate in interdisciplinary teams with faculty in other departments to address complex problems in health and healthcare, in our communities and around the globe. We provide training in these fields through two degree programs: a flexible doctoral program that may focus on any of our core areas and a MS degree for clinical professionals, designed to provide physicians and other doctoral-level providers with the methods to carry out rigorous research in clinical epidemiology and health services. Through our Biostatistics Laboratory we provide a collaborative service to investigators throughout the Biological Sciences Division to design studies, oversee data collection and analyze and interpret data.

 - Diane S. Lauderdale, PhD, Chair 


More about the Department of Public Health Sciences  

News and Announcements

Donald Hedeker awarded the 2015 Long-Term Excellence Award

The Health Policy Statistics Section of the American Statistical Association presented Donald Hedeker with the 2015 Long-Term Excellence Award for outstanding contributions to the development of statistical methods and innovative statistical applications to health care policy and health services research, for increasing the awareness of health policy statistics in the statistical community, and for significant mentoring and service that advances the aims of the Health Policy Statistics Section.  

The award was presented at the 11th International Conference on Health Policy Statistics that occurred from October 7-9, 2015 in Providence RI.

Welcome to the department

Prachi Sanghavi, PhD, is a health policy researcher and newly appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences. She uses empirical methods to study population health, the quality of healthcare services, and issues around self-reported measurement. She is also interested in understanding how political contributions play a role in shaping health policy. Her most recent work compared competing strategies of providing pre-hospital care. Dr. Sanghavi received her PhD in Health Policy, with a concentration in Evaluative Science and Statistics, from Harvard University.

Kao-Ping Chua, MD, PhD, is a pediatrician and health services researcher who is newly appointed as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Public Health Sciences. His research combines rigorous methodology with a clinical perspective to address important issues in pediatric health care, including access to care, health care expenditures, national health care reform, and low-value care. After finishing his residency in pediatrics at Boston Children's Hospital and Boston Medical Center, Dr. Chua completed the Harvard Pediatric Health Services Research Fellowship at Boston Children's Hospital and obtained his Ph.D. in health policy from Harvard University.

Biostatistics Laboratory News

Effective September 9, 2015 the Biostatistics Laboratory (located within the Dept. of Public Health Sciences) has moved back into their former location in MARP 3rd floor. Biostat Clinic will meet in R318

Diane Lauderdale elected President of the Society for Epidemiologic Research

Diane Lauderdale was elected President of the Society for Epidemiologic Research, with her term beginning at the annual meeting in June 2015 in Denver.

May 2015

Congratulations to Marcelo Coca Perraillon

Marcelo Coca Perraillon successfully defended his doctoral dissertation in Health Services Research entitled: “Essays on Health Care Quality Measurement and Evaluation”. His thesis committee was chaired by Ronald Thisted and included Tamara Konetzka (thesis advisor), Robert Gibbons, and Tina Shih. Marcelo has accepted a tenure-track faculty position at the University of Colorado.



On September 26, 2014, Dean Polonsky announced a new name for the Department of Health Studies: Public Health Sciences

“Public Health Sciences more accurately reflects the research and teaching within the department, which includes core methods disciplines in public health: epidemiology, biostatistics and health services research. The department has a unique focus within the University, and I am pleased that the Department of Public Health Sciences will continue its tradition of excellence under this new title.”

- Kenneth S. Polonsky, MD, Dean and EVP for Medical Affairs

New course offered in Spring 2015

Multilevel Modeling

PBHS 33400

Course Instructor: Donald Hedeker

T/R 9-10:20am

PQ:  PBHS 32400 (HSTD 32400) and PBHS 32700 (HSTD 32700) or consent of instructor.

This course will focus on the analysis of multilevel data in which subjects are nested within clusters (e.g., health care providers, hospitals).   The focus will be on clustered data, and several extensions to the basic two-level multilevel model will be considered including three-level, cross-classified, multiple membership, and multivariate models.  In addition to models for continuous outcomes, methods for non-normal outcomes will be covered, including multilevel models for dichotomous, ordinal, nominal, time-to-event, and count outcomes.   Some statistical theory will be given, but the focus will be on application and interpretation of the statistical analyses.


It is with great sadness we announce the loss of our valued colleague, Willard Manning. He was born on May 20, 1946 and passed away on November 25, 2014. Those of us who have been fortunate enough to know and work with Will have lost a dear friend and inspiring mentor. No words can adequately express our sadness at Will’s death or our gratitude for the opportunity to work with him. Below is a link to a Memoriam of Willard G. Manning from the International Health Economics Association.

A memorial service was held for Professor Manning on Saturday, January 10th at Bond Chapel.  University of Chicago obituary


At the Annual North American meeting of the Society for Medical Decision Making, Marcelo Coca Perraillon was awarded the Lee B. Lusted Student Prize award for Preference Assessment for his project “Predicting the EQ-5D Prefrence Index from the SF-12 Health Survey in a National US Sample: A Finite Mixture Approach."The SMDM describes the prize as follows:

"Each year the Lee B. Lusted Prize Student Fund recognizes students’ original research in medical decision making in order to attract the best and brightest young minds to SMDM. The prize provides a cash award to be given to the top two scoring finalists in each category, for a total of four awards to be presented. Recipients will be chosen during the Annual Meeting. " 

Diane Lauderdale, Professor of Epidemiology, was elected President of the Society for Epidemiologic Research. After serving as President Elect for a year, she will begin her term as President in June 2015.

Article-of-the-Year Award

Tamara Konetzka, Associate Professor of Health Services Research, has won the 2014 Academy Health Article-of-the-Year Award.   The article is “Shipping out instead of shaping up: Rehospitalization from nursing homes as an unintended effect of public reporting”.   Journal of Health Economics, Volume 32, Issue 2, March 2013.

Award for Distinguished Investigator

Dezheng Huo, Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, has received the Biological Sciences Division 2014 Junior Distinguished Investigator award for his outstanding work in cancer research. An award ceremony was held on Wednesday June 11th for all of the awardees. His nomination by a colleague in Public Health Sciences described his research as addressing “fundamentally important questions in clinical and genetic epidemiology of cancer. ” Dezheng’s primary research focuses on breast, colorectal, and prostate cancers. He investigates the role of race, lifestyle, and genetics in cancer etiology and treatment outcomes. His research has had direct implications for cancer prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

Departmental Highlights Archive