Meet the Dean

“What I enjoy about public health is that it is a bold and noble profession, we’re out to do good.”

Dean Boris D. Lushniak

Boris D. Lushniak, MD, MPH leads the School of Public Health, the university’s youngest (est. 2007) and most racially and ethnically diverse academic college. He has developed several new academic programs to meet workforce needs, launched a global health initiative and provided leadership in the context of the global coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Lushniak is creating ways for students to take action and engage civically through global experiences and activities focused on promoting social justice and equity and dismantling racism.

Lushniak served as an officer in the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps for 27 years, culminating in roles as U.S. deputy surgeon general (2010–15) and acting surgeon general (2013–14). He earned degrees from Northwestern (bachelor’s and medical) and Harvard University (master of public health). He currently serves on the Board of Regents for the American College of Preventive Medicine.

Why choose public health?

Public health has the power to transform lives. Now more than ever, we have all become aware of how much public health matters. Crises like the global coronavirus pandemic make public health visible, yet the work of public health matters everyday, not just in times of emergency.

At the University of Maryland School of Public Health, we are driven by a passion to break down the societal barriers that keep individuals, families, communities and populations from optimum health and wellness.

Choose a career in public health because...


You believe health care should not be a privilege

You want to dismantle racism

You want to promote equity and opportunity

You want to have a global impact

You know that prevention saves Lives and money

AND THAT scientific evidence informs smart solutions

You believe that Your zip code shouldn’t determine how long you live

You care about people

Join us on a fearless journey to do public health good…

The Maryland Experience

Why choose public health at the University of Maryland?

Our location just outside Washington, DC, exceptional faculty and staff, authentic community connections and leading research programs combine to set us apart.

Here are four factors that set us apart:

1. Our Location

Some call it an "unfair advantage," but our access to federal health agencies, national and international NGOs, leading private research enterprises as well as state and local opportunities in the national capital region is nearly unparalleled. This map of the DC Metro area shows some of the many organizations where our students do internships and research.

2. Our Academic Excellence

We set high expectations for student success and provide exceptional support for students through advising, career development, and co-curricular programs. We are committed to providing exceptional opportunities for innovative and interdisciplinary learning through research and internship experiences, personalized mentoring and participation in leadership and service learning initiatives. We are proud to have several research training programs, including UMD STAR and UMD ADAPT funded by the National Institutes of Health and UMD Global Stewards funded by the National Science Foundation, to support underrepresented student success in careers in research.


Our partnerships with local and global communities give students the opportunity to develop culturally sensitive health promotion programs and provide services to underserved populations. The focus is on engaging communities as partners in the development of programs and policies that will successfully support and improve health and well-being and developing empathy and understanding of the social and environmental factors that influence our health.

The following are a few of the many opportunities for students to engage.

The Health Advocates In-Reach and Research (HAIR) initiative provides health education and outreach through Black-owned hair salons and barbershops throughout Maryland. During the COVID-19 pandemic, these venues have provided a trusted space for conversation about vaccine beliefs and concerns and have served as sites for vaccine clinics. By increasing vaccine access and confidence, the program is making a difference in protecting communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

The Mission of Mercy and Health Equity Festival, a partnership between the School of Public Health, Catholic Charities and the Maryland State Dental Association provides free dental and health care for thousands of underserved and uninsured adults.

Public Health Beyond Borders (formerly called Public Health Without Borders) is a globally-minded group of students who partner with communities to reduce health disparities around the world and increase global awareness about good health. Students have worked with communities in Peru, Ethiopia, India and Sierra Leone as well as the communities surrounding the University of Maryland.

Global Connections - School of Public Health faculty and students actively engage in research, service and education activities aimed at improving health across the globe and partnering with communities to implement programs to increase health equity. The Global Health Initiative's mapping project highlights these projects.

Providing Comfort to those in Need - Service activities in partnership with organizations like Comfort Cases give students a way to apply principles learned in the classroom to tangibly make a difference in communities. Students pack backpacks and duffle bags with personal care items and letters of encouragement for youth in the U.S. foster care system.


Our research spans from the cellular to the societal level and is making a difference in critical areas, from understanding how respiratory viruses (like the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus) spread through air to climate change’s impacts on health, physical activity’s benefits to aging brains, and creating supportive mental health care for LGBTQ+ populations, among others. Here are brief descriptions of some of our current research activities addressing urgent and emerging public health issues.

Stop Covid-19 Study

Environmental Health Professor Don Milton's Stop Covid-19 study is providing evidence related to how SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, spreads by air. This information is informing prevention measures, the design of masks and how our indoor spaces are engineered to protect against the virus.

Climate Change and Health

From exposure to extreme weather and worsening air pollution to the spread of food and water borne diseases — climate change is a health emergency. At the UMD School of Public Health, we are studying the ongoing health impacts of climate change in our communities and developing strategies to mitigate harm, promote sustainability and advocate for environmental justice.

The CONSERVE Center for Sustainable Water Re-use, Food and Health is developing methods for the safe use of nontraditional water sources to irrigate our food and reduce the water demands that are exacerbated by climate change. Researchers also are studying the health impacts of climate change on asthma, cardiovascular disease and food and waterborne disease outbreaks. The Community Engagement, Environmental Justice and Health lab is advancing environmental justice by developing community-university partnerships focused on equitable planning, healthy zoning and sustainable community development.

Supporting LGBTQ+ Mental Health

The University of Maryland Prevention Research Center is working to improve mental health for LGBTQ+ people through research, service and training so that health care providers can provide competent and affirming care.

Stopping Vaccine Misinformation & Addressing Racial Disparities in Vaccine Acceptance

Misinformation and distrust in the COVID-19 vaccine has slowed our ability to recover from the global pandemic. Family Science Professor Sandra Quinn studies the cultural beliefs behind vaccine racial disparities and is partnering with a team focused on stopping the spread of vaccine and health misinformation, spread largely on social media. Whether for the coronavirus, influenza or preventable childhood diseases, vaccines prevent disease and save lives.

Exercise and Brain Health in the Fight Against Alzheimer’s Disease

With funding from the National Institutes of Health, Kinesiology Professor Carson Smith is studying the influence and possible benefits of exercise on the brain and cognitive function in healthy older adults at increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Featured ALUMNI

Allison Gost Breitenother

MPH17, Environmental Health Sciences

Natural Resource Planner, Maryland Department of Natural Resources

I really appreciated the breadth of classes, I learned so much and got a taste of so many aspects of public health. The professors were truly invested in the students and their success. The mentorship I received made a big difference for me.

Daisy Le

PhD16, Behavioral and Community Health

Assistant Professor, George Washington University School of Nursing

Experiential learning at Maryland really helped to shape my ability to hear and understand what goes on in a community, and what motivates them.

Jonathan R. McKinney

MPH ’17, Public Health Practice and Policy

Director, Office of Chief Medical Officer & Operations at American Hospital Association and doctoral student, Medical University of South Carolina

I chose Maryland for its reputation and for the flexibility of the online MPH program. The University of Maryland is close to the action in DC so it was a great choice for me since I am interested in health policy.

Edward Grant

MPH ’13, Biostatistics

Assistant Director, Biostatistics at DP Clinical, Inc.

What I liked about getting my MPH at Maryland is that it was great having access to the resources of a large university but with the personal elements of a small program.

Graduate Degree Options

Our graduate degree programs provide unmatched opportunities to work across disciplines and will prepare you for the specific career you seek in public health.


Our Master of Public Health programs provide unmatched opportunities to work across disciplines and will prepare you for the specific career you seek in public health. As an MPH student at UMD, you will be part of a cohort that will take a set of core courses of 14 credits over three semesters together. These courses provide innovative instruction in a number of areas of public health, including data collection and analysis, policy, health care systems, communication, ethics and leadership. While completing the integrated core, you will take courses in your chosen concentration area and have the opportunity to complete internships unique to the Maryland/DC national capital region and relevant capstone projects. The 45-credit program can be completed within two years for full-time students.

Concentrations include:

  • Behavioral and Community Health
  • Biostatistics
  • Epidemiology
  • Environmental Health Sciences
  • Health Equity
  • Health Policy Analysis and Evaluation
  • Physical Activity
  • Public Health Practice and Policy (ONLINE)


The Master of Health Administration (MHA) degree is designed to give students a strong knowledge base in health care management and health service delivery systems and an understanding of the basic and core principles of public health. Like the MPH, the MHA degree a 45-credit professional public health degree.


Dual Degree Programs and Degree Partnerships

Doctoral Degrees

View all PhD programs.

  • PhD, Behavioral and Community Health
  • PhD, Epidemiology
  • PhD, Family Science
  • PhD, Health Services
  • PhD, Kinesiology
  • PhD, Maternal and Child Health
  • PhD, Environmental Health Sciences

Graduate Certificates

View all post-baccalaureate certificate programs.

  • Global Health
  • Health Data Analysis

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