School of Population Health

The School of Population Health

Our goal is to provide the knowledge and skills to improve the health of all New Zealanders, by focusing on factors that affect the wellbeing of entire populations. The school’s expertise covers all aspects of primary care, health services, and public health.

Based at the Tāmaki Campus, the School includes the following sections: General Practice & Primary Care, Health Systems, Audiology, Pacific Health, Social & Community Health, and Epidemiology & Biostatistics. In addition, the School houses the Clinical Trials Research Unit, Te Kupenga Hauora Māori, and the Centre for Longitudinal Studies.

Four things distinguish the School of Population Health: its focus on factors that affect the health of whole populations, the range of skills and experience amongst the staff - these extend across the spectrum of primary care, community health, health services and public health, the size of the school (eight sections, 340 staff, over 1,000 students) and its location.

The school is fully contained in a new, purpose-built space on the Tāmaki Campus of the University of Auckland. The building was officially opened in June 2004. It was designed specifically to meet the needs of the school, and features maximum use of natural light and ventilation, with large shared open spaces indoors and outside. It has been designed to maximise interaction and collaboration.

Fundamental to the work of the school is a conviction that university teaching is best located in a research-rich environment, an appreciation that the causes of ill-health (and therefore openings for intervention) occur at all levels of complexity from the global to the molecular, and recognition of the Treaty of Waitangi as the founding document of New Zealand.

The school's core activities include:

  • investigating the major causes of ill-health and health inequalities in New Zealand
  • developing and testing better means of preventing disease, disability and injury
  • examining the provision of healthcare and exploring ways in which health systems can be strengthened
  • working with the health workforce to find ways of gaining better health outcomes for populations
  • working with communities to enable them to develop resources and strategies to improve their health and well-being.

While the primary focus lies on health areas of special interest and significance for Auckland and New Zealand, the school has strong links internationally, and in particular with researchers and health providers around the Pacific.

The Head of the School, Professor Ngaire Kerse says the concept of an entire school specifically focused on the needs of population health is unique in this country.

"Nothing on this scale has been done before in New Zealand. But we are aware that as our population profile changes, new disease patterns are placing heavy strains on health services. Fresh approaches are needed if we are to do better at saving lives and improving health. I see the school playing a vital role as a generator of ideas and evidence that will have impacts locally and internationally."

The School of Population Health is currently located at 261 Morrin Rd, St Johns at our Tāmaki Campus.