Public Health and Epidemiology

RCSI has been teaching public health to medical students since 1841, a time when infectious diseases, child mortality and low life expectancy were impacting European and North American populations at scales seen only in the poorest countries today.

At the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, we bring this global perspective to our teaching and research.

The academic departments of Public Health and Epidemiology and Health Psychology form part of the Centre for Population Health and Health Services Research.

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At Undergraduate level, staff from the department teach a module that combines evidence-based health (EBH) and public health epidemiology (PHE). This is delivered to students early in the medical curriculum – Year 2 for Undergraduate Medicine and Year 1 for Graduate Entry Medicine students.

EBH introduces students to research methods; epidemiology and statistics; how to critically assess scientific literature; and ethical and professional issues in health research. PHE provides students with an international perspective on population health approaches for disease prevention and control – this reflects the diversity of our students and the populations they will serve.

Phase 2 of the new RCSI curriculum, will include a vertically integrated theme in epidemiology and public health. This theme will consist of health systems and services; health policy, economics and management; clinical informatics and information technology; safety, quality and improvement of care; evidence-based medicine and health; and population, global and public health.

In addition to Undergraduate teaching, our departmental staff also deliver biostatistics and qualitative methods modules and workshops to RCSI Postgraduate students as part of the SPHeRE PhD programme. We supervise and support PhD and Masters students, and provide research methods and biostatistics support to research staff and students across RCSI.

Our academic and research staff are active researchers from several countries, with strong international networks. Outputs reflect the breadth and depth of knowledge generation for the betterment of individuals and populations in low, middle and high-income country settings. Our global health research, based mainly in Africa, covers surgical systems research and household air pollution.

The SURG-Africa team of researchers has moved to the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery under the leadership of Professor Mark Shrime. Professor Ruairi Brugha, the Principal Investigator on the SURG-Africa project, will continue to lead the project as an RCSI Professor Emeritus based in the Department of Public Health and Epidemiology, working alongside his colleagues in the RCSI Institute of Global Surgery.

Irish and European health research covers perinatal outcomes, hospital adverse events, physical activity and disability and medical workforce retention.

Research funding comes from the European Union, Irish Health Research Board, Irish Aid and others.

Our research outputs are strengthened by a remarkably strong group of biostatisticians who have contributed to RCSI becoming Ireland’s leading health sciences research college, and an internationally sought after partner.

Interim Head of Department



Emeritus Professor

Honorary Senior Lecturer

  • Paul Kavanagh

Honorary Clinical Senior Lecturer

  • Lois O’Connor

Research staff

Research Assistant 

  • Helen Corrigan