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Prevention and Community Health

Actively engaging with individuals and communities to change behaviors, and promote prevention and wellness.
Participants and researchers of the Girl Rising project embrace

New in PCH: Girl Rising Trip to India

A group of current MPH students and DrPH graduates traveled to India earlier this year as part of the Girl Rising initiative, a grassroots campaign for empowering girls worldwide. The group traveled to four schools in Bombay, Lucknow, New Delhi and Jodhpur and found six inspiring stories—each of which talked about a central issue—to create a curriculum to help educate students in grades five through eight. 


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

George Washington University Launches Novel COVID-19 Testing Protocol

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Sept. 17, 2020) — Testing relies on GW-developed diagnostic test and GW COVID-19 testing lab that returns results to prevent virus spread.

Factors Linked to Structural Racism Put Latino Communities at Risk for COVID-19, New Study Says

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 23, 2020) — Factors linked to structural racism put Latino communities in the U.S. at high risk of COVID-19, a study published today says.