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Prevention and Community Health

Actively engaging with individuals and communities to change behaviors, and promote prevention and wellness.
PCH volunteers join a colleague from the Montgomery Health Department as they prepare to head out to contract trace around a recent outbreak.

New in PCH: PCH Faculty, staff and students support local COVID-19 mitigation efforts

Since mid-March, PCH faculty, staff and students have been volunteering with local health departments in Maryland including in Prince George’s and Montgomery Counties as they work to contain and understand the local COVID-19 epidemic. Through these efforts, critically needed assistance has been provided to partners on the front line while giving PCH students a chance to gain hands on, real time experience in battling a global public health pandemic.


What is Prevention and Community Health?

The goal of prevention is to help individuals avoid contracting diseases or experiencing adverse health issues through clinical or community services such as immunizations, health screenings, educational programs or health policies. Community health refers to when these strategies are used within a particular geographic area or demographic of the population. Our department prepares students to lead capacity-building programs in four areas: health promotion, maternal and child health, public health communication and marketing, and community-oriented primary care; all of which explore the relationship between psychosocial, behavioral and biological risk factors. Our interdisciplinary faculty include clinicians, epidemiologists, anthropologists, health psychologists, health communications professionals, evaluation scientists and experts in health behavior and health education.

Program Offerings

Graduate Programs

Our four MPH offerings are complemented by two doctoral programs.

Options in Prevention and Community Health include MPH programs in: Community Oriented Primary Care, Public Health Communication and Marketing, Health Promotion and Maternal and Child Health. Earn your MPH in any of these fields with unmatched exposure in Washington, DC.

Graduate Programs

Explore PCH


From health care in schools and school violence prevention to HIV drug resistance, our opportunities enhance your experience.

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Practice Experience

Our extensive partner network enables students to work with top Washington, D.C. health organizations as practice settings.

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Careers and Alumni

Earning one of our degrees can lead to a wide range of professional opportunities. Click for a sampling and alumni profiles.

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Meet Our Faculty

Deanna Kerrigan, PhD, MPH

Chair of the Department of Prevention and Community Health

Kerrigan, who started on July 1, 2020, previously served as a professor of sociology and director of the Center on Health, Risk and Society at American University. For more than 25 years, Kerrigan has studied social and structural factors that impact the health and well-being of marginalized populations worldwide, including stigma, discrimination and violence. An expert on HIV prevention, she has led studies to develop comprehensive public health interventions among underserved women in Latin America, the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa. “We are delighted to welcome Dr. Kerrigan to our school,” said Lynn Goldman, MD, MS, MPH, the Michael and Lori Milken Dean of the Milken Institute SPH. “She is an extraordinary expert in preventive health measures, and I know her guidance will steer the department toward making a tremendous impact, particularly in our research related to the social determinants of health.”

Read Message from Dr. Kerrigan

Department Faculty Directory

Student Resources

Department News

The US Must Address the Rising Rates of HIV infections among Latinx Sexual and Gender Minorities, Says New Analysis

WASHINGTON (Feb. 19, 2021)— In 2019, the U.S. rolled out a new initiative aimed at ending the HIV epidemic by the year 2030. In a commentary published in The Lancet,...

GW Students: Citizen Scientists in COVID 19 Study

Masks and physical distancing play a critical role in efforts to fight the spread of the virus that causes COVID-19. Research estimates that 80% of the public need to...

Yan Wang joins PCH faculty as an Associate Professor

Dr. Wang, who started in PCH on September 15, 2020, previously served as an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Epidemiology and...