Office of Research > What is Research?

What is Research?

  • We cannot do what we cannot imagine.
  • Research is a gateway to the imagination, allowing us to understand the past, to grasp the present and most importantly to reach for the future.
  • Research is creative work, which comes in a variety of forms and is characterized by original thought and communication with peers.
  • At the USF College of Public Health, our research enterprise consists of our students, individual investigators, multidisciplinary teams and research partnerships spanning departments, colleges, centers, institutes and international boundaries.
  • Our programs excel in basic, translational and clinical research. The results form the bedrock for applications that improve the public health of our community, our state, the nation and the world.
    - modified with permission of Dr. Christian Przirembel

The College of Public Health was created by the Florida legislature 26 years ago to provide leadership for the Florida public health system through the development of academic programs and by serving as a resource for Florida public health officials. During the first three quarters of FY 2010-2011our faculty generated $24 million in external funding (60% increase over 2005-2006) for research bringing our first twenty-six year total to nearly $300 million. Funding from NIH contributed to over 22% of total funding with a 10 fold increase over FY 2005-2006.


College faculty conduct research around the major public health challenges of our time and engage in active community-based research and service learning in the true spirit of public health – recognizing that it is not only through discovery and learning but through the direct translation and application of that knowledge to policies and programs that we succeed in improving the public's health. Today we are recognized leaders in distance learning, in social marketing, in maternal and child health and in global infectious disease research. For over 25 years, public health has been our passion and our promise.

This passion and promise fuel a very ambitious strategic plan that challenges us to continuously expand the global reach of educational, research, development and entrepreneurial initiatives. We are engaging partners to help develop opportunities for students and faculty to apply knowledge to real-world, mutual global public health challenges.

Research Focus Areas:

In 2005, we chose "global infectious diseases", "maternal and child health", and "health disparities" as our research "priorities". To that end, we invested quite deliberately in building our Global Health Infectious Disease Research team and worked very hard to secure recurring funds for the Chiles Center. We also supported the development of our MCH/Epidemiology program, the research component of the Healthy Start programs that are housed here, and the phenomenal team that recently won a contract to participate in the National Children's Study. We also submitted and received a center grant with Moffitt and USF Health creating a Center for Equal Health.

Given these successes and future potential, we subsequently selected a new set of research priorities for the College in 2009 and they are:

  • Disease Prevention: In the areas of infectious diseases, chronic diseases, the intersection of infectious and chronic disease, and diseases linked to environmental exposures including in the workplace
  • Public Health Practice, Leadership Development and Systems Research: Including implementation science (intervention research, translational research), public health systems evaluation research and education quality improvement studies
  • Maternal and Child Health: Including perinatal epidemiology, children's environmental health, MCH leadership preparation and community-based participatory research.