Home to one of New York State’s first stand-alone bachelor of science degrees in public health, Falk College’s public health program focuses on health promotion and illness prevention in individuals, families, and communities. As early as their first year in the program, students may work directly with faculty on prominent local and global research projects, travel to learn about global health issues through the University’s top-ranked study abroad program, and apply their skills in extensive community-based learning. With skills and knowledge in the broad field of public health, alumni are prepared for a growing number of diverse, global career opportunities in health, medicine, research, policy, law, and administration among others.

Use the numbered orange dots to connect events on the timeline with corresponding photos. Photos and historical data are courtesy of University Archives, Syracuse University Libraries, Syracuse University Ambulance, and individual faculty and staff contributors. 2018 South African Immersion photo is courtesy of Bijal Patel ’20.


1 Under the leadership of professor Luvenia Cowart in the College of Human Services and Health Professions, the New York State Department of Health-funded Genesis Health Project is launched as part of a larger minority health initiative aiming to reduce health disparities and promote healthy lifestyles among African Americans. In 2008, her work is honored with the Health Disparities Excellence Award from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute of Health.


College of Human Services and Health Professions at Syracuse University announces a bachelor of health and wellness, preparing students to pursue a career or graduate study in the areas of community health education, health promotion, or other health-related fields. An undergraduate minor in health and wellness is also introduced.

The Health and Wellness residential learning community is first created. It exists today as Community Health. First-year students join learning communities to be part of social, services, professional, and academic activities alongside other students with similar interests.


The College of Human Services and Health Professions is renamed to the College of Human Ecology.


The health and wellness major is renamed public health, placing Syracuse University among the first in New York State to offer and undergraduate degree in public health. The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), a student organization dedicated to promoting community health, is founded at Syracuse.


The University introduces both an undergraduate minor and a Certificate of Advanced Studies (CAS) in addiction studies.


The department introduces a master of science in child and family health in the global community, which explores the factors that influence the health and well-being of children and families globally, an undergraduate minor in public health, and a new study abroad program “Drug Policy in Global Perspectives,” in Amsterdam, Strasbourg, and Florence.


The College of Human Ecology is renamed the David B. Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics with support from Syracuse University alumni, David Falk ’72 and Rhonda Falk ’74. The Falk College Complex is dedicated in 2015.

Also in 2011, a CAS in global health is approved. 2 The study abroad program “Comparative Health Policy” in Geneva and Morocco is introduced, redesigned by professors Sandra Lane and Lutchmie Narine and later led by professor Lisa Olson-Gugerty. Students are pictured at the 2017 World Health Assembly in Geneva.


Public Health adds the study abroad program “South Africa Immersion: A Global Health Education Experience” at Rhodes University in Grahamstown, South Africa, led by professor Mary Ann Middlemiss. 3 Pictured are students on the 2018 trip, who visited local non-government organizations and collaborated with community partners to implement and evaluate a health education program.


Professor Katherine McDonald’s “Stakeholder Views on Intellectual Disability Research Ethics” begins, a National Health Institutes of Health-funded collaborative study between public health at Syracuse University and SUNY Upstate Medical University to address a knowledge gap that is critical to help scientists reduce health disparities among adults with intellectual disabilities.

Professor Brooks Gump receives a grant from the National Institutes for Health for the project “Environmental Toxicants, Race and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children” to investigate the relationship between race, socioeconomic status, blood lead levels, cardiovascular responses to acute stress and cardiovascular disease risk. 4 The Syracuse Lead Study is pictured here.

Students in public health work in a wide variety of positions in the community as part of their experiential learning requirements. 5 Pictured is Sara Curtin ’13 organizing a farmers market for local Syracuse elementary school children.

Syracuse University Ambulance celebrates its 40th anniversary. SUA’s EMT-certified students respond to 1,500 medical emergencies each year. 6 Members of SUA are pictured in 2018.


7 Falk College receives several Chancellor’s Awards for Public Engagement & Scholarship. Among these awards is a Legacy Award presented to public health students for their outstanding efforts in improving the health of populations, both in the University and wider Syracuse communities, as part of their coursework. It is estimated that undergraduate public health students provide 30,000 hours of services to the regional community each year.


The child and family health in the global community master is renamed global health.

The project “Training Diverse Undergraduate Teams of Veterans and Non-Veterans to Conduct Trauma Research with Veterans” begins as a collaborative effort between Falk College and SUNY Oswego, supported by the National Science Foundation and Syracuse University’s Institute for Veterans and Military Families. It is led by professor Brooks Gump.

8 Youssef Mezzaoui from the Sidi Moumen Cultural Center in Morocco visits Syracuse University as part of the Global Voices Literacy Project led by professor Sandra Lane. The partnership between the two institutions and Baker High School in Syracuse connects students in the two regions to develop research, reading, writing, and cultural literacy skills.

Research led by professor Sandra Lane with professors Dessa Bergen-Cico, David Larsen, Linda Stone Fish, and Robert Rubinstien, as well as local community members, including Timothy (Noble) Jennings-Bey, CEO of Street Addiction Institute, examines the impact of violence, the effectiveness of trauma response intervention, the association between community violence and academic performance, and the effects of unaddressed trauma on the development of addictions.


Falk College announces a master of science in public health, focusing on research and data analysis methods to prepare graduates for research-centered careers. Under the leadership of professor Maureen Thompson, the bachelor of science in public health is among the first stand-alone baccalaureate programs in the nation to receive accreditation from the Council on Education for Public Health.

Professor David Larsen receives funding from the President’s Malaria Initiative to investigate strategies to interrupt malaria transmission. Larsen also conducts investigations of the control of Aedes aegypti mosquito, as well as sanitation access interventions and the impact of maternal and child health. 9 Pictured is a researcher working on one of Larsen’s studies.

10 Pictured is a student researcher collecting data for the Vacationing and Health Study, funded by the U.S. Travel Association and led by professor Brooks Gump, which examines the psychological, social, and physical changes that occur when taking time off from work.


11 Public Health major Kelsey Montondo ’18 is named among the 2017-18 Remembrance Scholars cohort, honoring the 35 Syracuse University students who alongside 235 others, tragically lost their lives in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. Montondo is the fourth public health major to be selected, following Sieglinder Mkandoe Mghenyi in 2013-14 and Samatha Steinert and Paola Louzado Feliciano in 2016-17.


12 Students travel to Nicaragua with the Global Medical Brigades at Syracuse University to provide medical and pharmaceutical services to local communities.

Public Health major Fanta Drame ’18 is among one of 12 graduating seniors named as a 2018 Syracuse University Scholar, the highest undergraduate honor the University bestows. 13 Drame is pictured speaking at Falk College Convocation in May.

Professor Dessa Bergen-Cico leads a partnership between Falk College and the Council of Europe’s Cooperation Group to Combat Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking in Drugs that provides curricular development and training for drug policy administrators.


Public Health programs move from the Department of Public Health, Food Studies and Nutrition to establish the stand-alone Department of Public Health in Falk College. That same year, the master of global health is transitioned to a master of public health (MPH) degree and four areas of concentration are added at the undergraduate level: addiction studies, community health education, health and society, and healthcare management.