UHP Training

UHP, in conjunction with Rice’s Sociology department, provides population health training to PhD students in sociology as well as postdocs from varied disciplines.  Population health is the study of health outcomes in populations, as well as the distribution of health within those populations; and the study of what determines health differences both across and within populations.  Combining insights from demography, sociology, and social epidemiology, population health researchers strive to describe and explain health differences.  Population health recognizes a diverse set of health determinants, including the social and physical environment, medical care, genetics, and individual behaviors.  Typically, researchers in this field utilize large, nationally-representative data sources to investigate health patterns across and within populations; as well as the complex interactions between determinants operating at multiple levels and at different points in the lifecourse.


Population health research at Rice focuses primarily on health disparities; both the shape of differences between groups as well as explanatory mechanisms for those differences.  Our group’s research is supported by the Houston Endowment, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the University of Kentucky’s Center for Poverty Research, the University of Wisconsin Institute for Research on Poverty, the Baker Institute for Public Policy’s Health Economics program, the Faculty Initiatives Fund at Rice, the Texas A&M Census Data Research Center, and the Foundation for Child Development.


Core UHP faculty teach seminars in quantitative research methods, in advanced quantitative data analysis, gender and health, and of course, population health itself.  In addition, a key part of our training is delivered via our health lab group, STAPH – Sociologists Talking About Population Health – where our health faculty, postdocs, and graduate students gather regularly to workshop grant proposals and papers, discuss professional development topics, and generate ideas for new projects.