About Population Science

What is Population Science?

Population Science is understanding why certain populations are healthier than others and then using that information to find solutions to make people as healthy as possible. Population Science examines factors that can impact health outcomes. These factors can include health care, individual health behaviors, a person’s environment, social and economic circumstances and policies. Collectively, these factors are known as the social determinants of health.

The social determinants of health often affect health disparities, which are preventable differences in the burden of disease, injury, violence or opportunities to achieve optimal health.

As health disparities widen, health equity, or the equal opportunity for all people to be healthy, is a growing national focus. Health equity acknowledges it is harder for people with fewer opportunities to achieve optimal health.

Why Policy?

Policy is an integral part of creating sustainable solutions. The Department of Population Science and Policy evaluates guidelines and laws on all levels - from standard operating procedures at schools and hospitals to local, state and national legislation - to inform and improve policies to effectively impact health.

The Department of Population Science and Policy also researches the impact of changes in health law and collaborates with internal and external partners to identify policy gaps that impact the health of our region. By designing interventions and informing and improving policies, the Department of Population Science and Policy provides innovative, sustainable solutions to improve health in communities. The Department’s ultimate goal is to provide opportunities for healthier, happier, more successful lives for the residents of central and southern Illinois.