About Us

Message from the Chair

Mark Pletcher, MD, MPH

From its beginning in 1956 as the Department of Preventive Medicine, this department’s scholars have been pioneers in population science and preventive medicine, achieving breakthroughs on public health problems in California, across the country, and around the world. The department has grown significantly since those early days, bringing the Division of Biostatistics into the fold in the 1980s and doubling the faculty in just the last decade. 

Today, the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics stands at the center of many of UCSF’s initiatives in population health, data science and informatics, health services research, and health equity. Nearly everything done on this campus that involves human participants involves the department, either because we’ve trained the people doing the work, we collaborate with people doing the work, or we are the drivers of the work.

Our primary faculty – many of whom are world-renowned experts in their fields – are breaking new ground in diseases of aging, global health, biostatistics, cancer, and cardiovascular disease. We are also critical collaborators with other prominent research units, including the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Bakar Computational Health Sciences Institute, the Institute for Global Health Sciences, the Center for Vulnerable Populations, and others.

The multiple data sets housed in the department or accessed through the department — including the Greater Bay Area Cancer Registry, clinical data from UCSF Health and the San Francisco Department of Public Health, Health eHeart data, and other trial and cohort data available through the San Francisco Coordinating Center — also provide valuable information for anyone conducting population studies.

Our commitment to our educational mission remains steadfast. In 2019, our Master’s in Clinical Research celebrated its 15th year of providing outstanding training to students, fellows and faculty in the disciplines required for the conduct of human research. We launched a highly successful implementation science training certificate and are moving into the areas of training for data science and clinical informatics. Since 2010, we've offered our PhD in Epidemiology and Translational Sciences, and its graduates now contribute in academia, industry and departments of public health. We recently welcomed the Clinical and Translational Science Training Institute under the department’s umbrella and launched a master’s program and a certificate program in Health Data Sciences to respond to the ever-growing amount of data available for health research. Our educational programs offer training in clinical and translational sciences for a broad range of learners at UCSF, from undergrads spending a summer here, to medical and other professional students, to residents and fellows and ultimately to junior faculty as they transition into independent investigations.

In all of our endeavors, we try to embody the UCSF PRIDE values (professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence). I invite you to read more about our scholarship, explore our training programs or consider contacting us about a possible collaboration.

-Mark Pletcher, MD, MPH, Chair