About Us

Message from the Chair

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, Department Chair

When I joined the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics faculty as an assistant professor, I was immediately drawn to the “water cooler” conversations. DEB was always a place I could find smart people who were willing to help me figure out how I could answer my research questions in novel ways, and who would push me to think through whether I had considered all of the possible interpretations of my results. I soon found those informal encounters were emblematic of the department. In addition to being world-class scholars, our faculty are teachers and mentors, collaborators and consultants.

From its beginning in 1956 as the Department of Preventive Medicine, the 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 epicenter 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. In many cases, 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 — provide valuable information for anyone conducting population studies. 

Our commitment to our educational mission remains steadfast. In 2019, our Master’s in Clinical Research is celebrating 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 have made important contributions and now grace the halls of academia, industry and departments of public health. We recently welcomed the Clinical and Translational Science Training Institute (CTST) under the department’s umbrella, a critical step as we expand our educational programs beyond our master’s and doctoral programs to 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 aspire to live the UCSF PRIDE values (professionalism, respect, integrity, diversity and excellence).

I am inspired daily by the staff, faculty and students for their commitment to the mission of our department. I invite you to read more about our scholarship, explore our training programs or consider contacting us about a possible collaboration.