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Prevention and Community Health

Harnessing the power of community to promote health, well-being, and equity
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.


Welcome to Prevention and Community Health

Faculty, staff and students in the Department of Prevention and Community Health (PCH) work to understand the multi-level drivers of health inequities and the role of social justice in the public’s health. Through academic training, research and practice we use theory and innovative mixed methods to investigate and promote community health. Our faculty of social and behavioral scientists reflects multiple disciplines including psychologists, sociologists, anthropologists and experts in health education, communication and behavior change. Our community-engaged research and intervention approaches range from those focused on developing and evaluating individual level behavior interventions change using digital health approaches to those focused on structural level changes and broader societal transformation using community mobilization and advocacy.

Academic Training

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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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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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


Department News

PCH Professor Lorien Abroms and PCH graduate students Jessie Armstrong, Megan Hatheway and Meredith Hernlund launch the GW Health Communication Volunteer Corps

The GW Health Communication Volunteer Corps (HCVC) was formed in the Spring of 2021 as PCH faculty and students became increasingly aware of the presence of...

PCH Faculty Member Dave Huebner Publishes on Cardiovascular and Cortisol Responses to Experimentally-Induced Minority Stress

Associate Professor David Huebner and colleagues publish in Health Psychology on cardiovascular and cortisol responses to experimentally-induced minority stress. As...

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,...