Department of Public Health Sciences hero with group of students in robes.

A Message from the Chair


Hermes FlorezI am pleased to welcome you to the Department of Public Health Sciences (DPHS) at Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC). As we are facing a new Public Health era with emerging challenges that are having impact at the local, state, national, and global community, we build on the legacy of previous DPHS leaders and rely on the wonderful team of faculty, staff and students to respond to these challenges.  

Our Vision for 2020 to Imagine 2030 is that DPHS will assume a major transformational leadership role promoting population health initiatives through innovative educational, research, and service programs. We continue our efforts to cultivate a healthier tomorrow, assuming an advocacy role and leading the public health conversation with impactful scholarship productivity and an expanded strategic research direction. This will include programs for healthy aging and well-being across the life course, as well as efficient health systems that improve access and enhance health equity in the population while serving as a model for other communities and healthcare settings.

The department’s research is based on 3 pillars: focused team science, community engaged research, and disparities in health and health care. These pillars are supported by on-going work and collaboration across five divisions: Biostatistics and Bioinformatics, Biomedical Informatics, Health Systems and Policy; Environmental Health; Epidemiology; and Health Behavior and Health Promotion. DPHS has continued to excel in research with high productivity in publications, extramural grant submissions and awards, several of them supported by our Data Coordination Unit (DCU) and Collaborative Unit (CU). Our integrative work includes clinical trial design and multi-center clinical trial implementation and analysis, translational and population health research, global health initiatives, spatial and environmental epidemiology, and disparities research focusing on cancer, stroke and heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and STDs. Our “big data” work spans to genomics, EHR data mining and precision medicine, microbiome informatics, and large-scale population health mapping and surveillance.    

DPHS is fostering education at multiple levels, including our three doctoral and five master’s programs, while we enhance the training of public health leaders as agents of change. Our department continue to lead seminar series addressing emerging topics, such as our COVID-19 mini-series: MUSC and SC DHEC response (prevention, testing and contact tracing), COVID-19 disparities, and building resilience to overcome COVID-19 challenges and beyond. On-going collaborative work with Clemson University and other academic institutions include the joint doctoral program in Biomedical Data Science and Informatics as well as accelerated MPH program (BA/MPH or BS/MPH—Sequential 4 +1). In response to the COVID-19 challenges, DPHS is offering a hybrid program that allows for in-person as well as virtual learning. 

Our department will continue expanding our service and collaborative efforts with public and private health agencies and institutions, including the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and State and Regional offices of Public Health. We are participating in the “Healthy Me Healthy SC” initiative as well as coordinating efforts with MUSC leadership for future rural health and prevention efforts. DPHS is also embracing the World Health Organization (WHO)/ Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) initiatives for the Decade of Healthy Aging (2020-2030).

We encourage you to visit the MUSC campus at Charleston, SC and learn more about the exciting opportunities for our students, staff and faculty.

Welcome to the DPHS family!

Hermes Florez, M.D., Ph.D., MPH
Chair, Department of Public Health Sciences
Director, Institute for Healthy Aging
Associate Dean for Population Health