Thomas Jefferson University

About Us

Welcome to the Jefferson College of Population Health – the first College of its kind in the country! 

Established in 2008, we are part of Thomas Jefferson University, a leading academic health center founded in Philadelphia, PA in 1824 as Jefferson Medical College (now the Sidney Kimmel Medical College).

We are dedicated to exploring the policies and forces that define the health and well-being of populations. Our mission is to prepare leaders with global vision to examine the social determinants of health and to evaluate, develop and implement health policies and systems that will improve the health of populations and thereby enhance the quality of life.

We do this by providing exemplary graduate academic programming in population health, public health, health policy, healthcare quality and safety, and health outcomes research. Our educational offerings are enhanced by research, publications and continuing education and professional development offerings in these areas.

What is Population Health?

Population health seeks to create conditions that promote health, prevent and adverse events, and improve outcomes.1  Population health builds on public health foundations by:

  • Connecting prevention, wellness and behavioral health science with health care delivery, quality and safety, disease prevention/management and economic issues of value and risk – all in the service of a specific population, be it a city, provider’s practice, employee group, hospital’s primary service area or age group
  • Identifying socio-economic and cultural factors that determine the health of populations and developing policies that address the impact of these determinants
  • Applying epidemiology and biostatistics in new ways to model disease states, map their incidence and predict their impact
  • Using data analysis to design social and community interventions and new models of health care delivery that stress care coordination and ease of accessibility

Population health in the broadest sense addresses the large-scale social, economic, and environmental issues that impact health outcomes of groups of people.  Population health can also be defined more narrowly as specific interventions to address the health needs of attributed and discretely defined subpopulations.  This latter definition is generally referred to as population health management, as the populations are usually under the care of a health system or provider or have an identifiable disease state.1

When applied to health care delivery, population health differs from conventional health care by emphasizing value rather than volume of services rendered.

  Conventional Healthcare Population Health
Purpose
  • Cure disease
  • Prevent disease
  • Keep people healthy and well
Values
  • Diagnosis, treatment & cure
  • Physician’s Expertise
  • Unlimited access to healthcare*
     *if you can afford it
  • Prevent disease
  • Emphasis on wellness
  • Timely, high-quality cost-effective care
  • Agency and self-efficacy
  • Coordinated care/Medical home
Methods
  • Diagnosis and Treatment
  • Fee-for-service
  • Personalized wellness plans
  • Community engagement & prevention
  • Global payments
  • Shared health information
Constraints
  • Cost
  • Continuity of care
  • Lack of access
  • Administrative burdens
  • Limited patient contact
  • Implementation cost
  • Politics
Opportunities
  • Greater autonomy
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Evidence-based/personalized medicine
  • Increased quality/error reduction
Assumptions
  • System “rescues” patients
  • Doctor center of authority
  • Patient responsible for health/wellness
  • Doctor is center of care team

As leaders in population health education, we have identified six domains -- three knowledge-based and three skills-based -- that define our curriculum framework:

Knowledge-Based Domains

  • Health Systems: Addressing the structure, stakeholders and processes of local, state and national health systems
  • Legal, Regulatory and Administrative: Incorporating local, state and federal laws, agency and regulatory body regulations, and ethical standards
  • Social/Behavioral/Environmental: Addressing the factors outside of medical care that influence health outcomes

Skills-Based Domains

  • Analytics: Incorporating epidemiological and outcomes research, sources of data and statistical analyses
  • Process and Design: Addressing the underlying skills necessary to complete many of the topics seen in the other domains, including the skills required to plan, build and maintain an organization or intervention
  • Interpersonal: Incorporating skills and techniques for greater communication and collaboration between various parties 1

1 Harris D, Puskarz K, & Golab C. Population Health: curriculum framework for an emerging discipline. Population Health Management, 2016,19(1), 39-45. doi:10.1089/pop.2015.0129.