The Risk, Justice & Public Health stream seeks to understand how social forces such as economic opportunities, access to health care services, availability of healthy foods, built environment, exposure to violence or discrimination are linked to health behaviors and health outcomes.


Students will gain exposure to a diverse range of public health research topics that identify, explain, and address some of the most pressing social determinants of health in society. 


Public health is more than encouraging healthy behaviors and choices—it’s also about making those healthy behaviors and choices feasible and accessible. In this way, social justice is central to promoting public health and ensuring all have the opportunity to be as healthy as possible.


The goal of this research stream is to empirically explore the social determinants of health and advocate for programs, practices, policies, and systems that will improve health and quality of life of individuals, families, and communities. 


Students in the Risk, Justice & Public Health stream will identify prominent social science theories, models, and frameworks that guide public health research and practice.


They will be introduced to qualitative research methods (e.g., in-depth interviews, focus groups) and quantitative research methods (e.g., questionnaires, surveys) used for data collection by public health researchers and complete a certificate in Human Subjects Research Protection for Social and Behavioral Sciences (CITI training).

Potential areas of training include:

  • Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) data analytic software for skills in descriptive statistics.

  • ATLAS.ti for the qualitative analysis of textual, graphical, audio and video data for content and thematic analysis.

  • National datasets related to public health such a BRFSS, YRBS, PATH, NCHA, NHANES.