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The Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences exists to equip tomorrow’s doctors with the knowledge, vision, and tools to be agents of change, who make communities healthier and our health system more effective, efficient, and equitable.

We connect courses and schools of thought so that students understand the biomedical, behavioral, social, and political factors influencing health. Our educational content is designed to stimulate conversation and action outside of the classroom, in pursuit of individual and system improvement.

"Why treat people and send them back to the conditions that made them sick?"
- Michael Marmont, M.D., Author of “The Health Gap”

Our health care system needs new ideas, and we believe that diverse perspectives make these ideas better. We encourage everyone to bring their ideas and whole selves to work, class and projects.

Through interdisciplinary scholarship, education, and engagement, our work addresses pressing needs that exist in the Greater Houston area and leads to healthier communities.


Focus Areas

We have a duty to think about what our medical school will contribute to this community. Does our work provide a benefit to Houston and to our neighbors? In my research, I studied social accountability as a theoretical framework, and when I saw the UH College of Medicine mission, I thought, 'This school will make social accountability come alive.'

- Winston Liaw, M.D., M.P.H., Chair, Health Systems & Population Health Sciences

Research & Community Engagement

Departmental faculty work with community stakeholders and organizations to address issues relevant to communities in the Greater Houston area.

Our work helps patients receive the right care, at the right time, at the right place. We are on a mission to break down ineffective, inequitable, and inefficient cycles of health by creating new paths that are built on a foundation of scientific evidence – research and data – and guided by communities.

We believe that we can do more together than we can separately.

What we study:

  • Health equity
  • Substance use
  • Homelessness
  • Loneliness
  • Health-harming legal needs
  • Clinician burnout
  • Value in health care
  • Health informatics and artificial intelligence


Honduras Trip

honduras-brigade-2.pngThe Honduras Trip is a faculty-led trip for students to visit and learn about taking care of patients in a rural setting in Honduras. The opportunity will take place from 4/13/2024 until 4/21/2024. During the visit, students will be providing care for patients and living within the community. This unique experience will give students the opportunity to broaden their knowledge, gain new perspectives, and develop their skills as future health care leaders.

View FAQ



Harris County Homlessness Mortality Report

homelessness-report-thumb.jpgIn Harris County, mortality among people experiencing homelessness has increased in recent years even as unsheltered homelessness has been reduced dramatically across the same area, urging us to understand the causes of death and identify methods to reduce mortality. Since 2018, the homeless population in the county has decreased by 27%, in spite of the rise in deaths. Using data from the Harris County Institute of Forensic Sciences (HCIFS), we have compiled this second annual report to identify the demographics and causes of death for people experiencing homelessness in Harris County.

View 2022 Report

View 2021 Report (PILOT)

View 2021 Addendum on Toxicity Deaths

Who We Are


Winston Liaw, M.D., M.P.H.

Chair, Health Systems & Population Health Sciences
Phone: 713-743-9862


Vision, Values and Missions

The Department of Health Systems and Population Health Sciences seeks to break ineffective, inequitable, and inefficient cycles of health by creating new paths that are built on a foundation of evidence and guided by communities.

Meet the Team

We are home to the Pop Stars! We bring together experts in diverse fields, such as population health, health services research, health economics, health equity, community health biostatistics, epidemiology, patient safety and more, to educate our students and work with our communities to improve health and health care in Houston and beyond.

View Faculty


Department Toolkit





  • Mentoring Program to Bolster Diverse Biomedical Research Workforce

    Numerous reports have called for new interventions to prevent obesity and mitigate the current high rates of obesity and their projected rise. To achieve this goal, a diverse biomedical workforce in the United States is needed, and the need is particularly pronounced among individuals from underrepresented groups. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the National Institutes of Health has called for programs to develop and sustain the diversity of a scientific workforce capable of accomplishing this mission.
  • Humana, University of Houston started a pop-health-focused med school 2 years ago. Then COVID-19 hit

    Two years ago, Humana invested $15 million into a new medical school at the University of Houston (UH) that’s focused integrating population health into medical education. Now, it’s seeing some of the early fruits of that labor, according to a new report. Since December 2018, the Humana Integrated Health Systems Science Institute at UH has kick-started more than 15 programs and provided 10,000 hours of interdisciplinary medical education to 6,000 people including UH students, faculty, staff and Humana associates.

Contact us

Department Contact Information


Phone: 713-743-4999