Master of Science in Population Health Sciences Degree:  Bridging the Gap Between Research and Clinical Practice

What Is Population Health?

Population health is an interdisciplinary field that integrates clinical care and public health practices to prevent, reduce and manage human disease. Population health is particularly interested in the determinants of health outcomes, and why the distribution of health determinants is different between population groups. Population health uses patient-centered approaches to understand the needs of different population groups, with a particular focus on investigating health disparities. Population health identifies mutually beneficial solutions that work for everyone by bringing diverse stakeholders together under one umbrella to overcome common challenges in health care. This approach improves health and health care in ways that are beneficial for both patients and health care providers.

Benefits of a Degree in Population Health

The changing landscape of health care will require intellectual investments in the future of health. Those interested in acquiring a degree in Population Health from The University of Alabama will benefit from a value-based culture that embraces diversity, interdisciplinary collaboration and innovative thinking. The Master of Science in Population Health Sciences degree is designed to suit the educational needs of professionals from diverse backgrounds, including:

Attributes of our Program

Benefits of Joining Us

The Department of Community Medicine and Population Health is housed in the College of Community Health Sciences, which is the Tuscaloosa Regional Campus of the University of Alabama School of Medicine. Other College departments include Family, Internal, and Rural Medicine; Pediatrics, Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine; Obstetrics and Gynecology; Sports Medicine; and Surgery. The College has incorporated faculty from UA’s Culverhouse College of Business to expand the depth and breadth of our program. Our faculty are passionate about research, teaching and service, as well as addressing the needs of our patients and the community we serve. The multidisciplinary training and partnerships with various content experts enable us to: For more information about our program, visit the Graduate Catalog or contact the Academic Program Coordinator Abbie Ray at or the Program Director, Dr. Mercedes Morales-Alemán at

Ideal Applicants

Population health is an interdisciplinary field and our degree is beneficial for licensed health professionals, systems administrators and others interested in health outcomes research, evidence-based care and health system redesign.

Application Requirements

Statement of Purpose that addresses all of the following items: The GRE or MCAT is not required for admission into our program. Please note that for applicants with a GPA below a 3.0, an admission test score is strongly recommended in order to be considered for admission. International applicants will need to demonstrate English proficiency with the TOEFL, IELTS, Duolingo or meet other requirements established by the Graduate School.   Apply Today  

Application Deadlines

In-Person Program

November 1 Priority deadline for fellowship/assistantship consideration
January 5 Deadline for fellowship/assistantship consideration
April 15 Final deadline for fall semester start
The in-person program accepts fall admissions only.

Online Program

June 15 Fall admission
November 15 Spring admission

Scholarships and Fellowships

Prospective applicants should direct all questions about funding opportunities to the Academic Program Coordinator Abbie Ray at or the Program Director, Dr. Mercedes Morales-Alemán at

Faculty and Staff

Maryam Jafari Bidgoli

Maryam Jafari Bidgoli, PhD

Dr. Bidgoli was the recipient of the BlueCross BlueShield of Michigan Foundation Doctoral Student Award for her proposal, “Health Shocks and Labor Markets: Cancer in Michigan.” Her professional interests include health economics, health care management and labor economics.
Lilanta Joy Bradley

Lilanta Bradley, PhD

Dr. Bradley received a PhD in Health Promotion and Behavior from the University of Georgia. She received her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy/Counseling from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Albany State University in Albany, Georgia.
Martha Crowther

Martha Crowther, PhD, MPH

Dr. Crowther’s research interests include aging and racial diversity in urban and rural populations with a focus on eliminating mental and physical health disparities in older adults. Crowther has presented and published extensively, and is the recipient of numerous honors, including the National Role Model Award from the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities.
Tiffaney Davis

Tiffaney Davis

Tiffaney Davis is the Grants & Contract Assistant in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health. She provides administrative support and coordination to faculty and staff on their research studies.
Louanne Friend

Louanne Friend, PhD, MN, RN

Dr. Friend’s research interests include health promotion using team-based models of health care delivery, team-based identification and management of hypertension, and interprofessional education.

Antonio J. Gardner, PhD., MS, MCHES®

Antonio J. Gardner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and Director of Education and Evaluation for Rural Programs. He teaches courses for the Rural Medical Scholars Program, the Rural Community Health Scholars Program, and the Master of Science in Population Health Sciences degree program.

Sue Givens

Sue Givens is the Program Assistant in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health. She provides administrative support for the Masters in Population Health program and medical student education. Sue holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from Boston University.
Abbey Gregg

Abbey Gregg, PhD, MPH

Dr. Gregg’s research interests focus on adoption of evidence-based practices and new health care delivery models in safety-net clinics.
Randi Henderson-Mitchell

Randi Henderson-Mitchell, PhD

Dr. Henderson-Mitchell received her PhD and an MBA from The University of Alabama. She earned a master’s degree in Health Education from Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and completed her undergraduate degree at Texas Tech University in Lubbock.
John C. Higginbotham

John C. Higginbotham, PhD, MPH

Dr. Higginbotham teaches, conducts and oversees the research infrastructure for the College. He works in partnership with all areas of the College to promote scholarship activities among the faculty, fellows, family medicine residents, medical students and others.
Lisle Hites

Lisle Hites, PhD

Dr. Lisle Hites joined the College of Community Health Sciences as associate professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health. He is also affiliated with the Institute for Rural Health Research, which is operated by the College. Hites’s research interests include burnout in health care workers, chronic disease disparities in rural and underserved communities, and the associated health outcomes and financial impact.
Mercedes M. Morales-Alemán

Mercedes M. Morales-Alemán, PhD

Dr. Morales-Alemán’s research focuses on community-based participatory approaches to sexual health promotion among adolescent Latinas in the U.S. South. Her research utilizes mixed-methods approaches (qualitative and quantitative) to examine the multi-level factors that underlie these sexual health disparities among Latinas in the U.S. South.
Pamela Payne-Foster

Pamela Payne-Foster, MD, MPH

Dr. Pamela Payne-Foster, MD, MPH, is a preventive medicine/public health physician and professor in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health and deputy director for the Institute for Rural Health Research. She currently serves as practicum coordinator for the Master of Science in Population Health Sciences Degree program. Her research focus is health disparities and health inequities, including: HIV/AIDS, obesity and diabetes; bioethics and medical ethics; and diversity and cultural competency issues in health care.
Abbie Ray

Abbie Ray

Abbie Ray is the Academic Program Coordinator for the Population Health Sciences Master of Science program in the Department of Community Medicine and Population Health, College of Community Health Sciences. She assists with managing the program and serves as a member of the Master of Science in Population Health Sciences Program leadership team. Abbie holds a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a master’s degree in Population Health Sciences from The University of Alabama.
Yuhui Yao

Yuhui Yao, PhD

Dr. Yao’s research interests focus on anomaly detection, statistical process monitoring and longitudinal analysis. His research can be applied in many areas including subdivision-based opioid abuse detection and personalized risk management in healthcare.
Lea Yerby

Lea Yerby, PhD

Dr. Yerby’s research focuses on rural health disparities and health care quality outcomes in Medicaid populations.