History

Public Health and the Health Sciences have a long-standing tradition at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The Department of Public Health was first created in 1938, and was soon followed by the Department of Foods and Nutrition in 1945. The Communication Disorders program dates back to the 1950s, and the nation’s first Department of Exercise Science (later to be renamed Kinesiology) was born at UMass Amherst in 1965. The School of Health Sciences was established in 1973, and later reorganized in 1989 as the School of Public Health.

In 1993, the School of Public Health and Health Sciences (SPHHS) as we now know it was created, merging the traditional Public Health disciplines with closely aligned health sciences, specifically Nutrition, Kinesiology, and Communication Disorders, to form a unit unique in its interdisciplinary approach. Each of the departments in the SPHHS shares a commitment to optimizing human health and well-being. The SPHHS mission emphasizes transdisciplinary research, and concrete examples are readily available in the arenas of diet, physical activity, and healthful behaviors through the lifespan; health services and programs in low-income communities; training and education for caregivers to elders, institutional workers, and other target groups; and wellness programs and empowerment strategies for youth.

The School continues to flourish as its faculty, students, and alumni lead the way in solving the complex challenges to the public’s health and well-being. Together, we’re working to optimize the quality of life for communities locally, regionally, nationally, and worldwide.