The Department of Community Health was founded in 1964 under the then Medical Faculty with the objective of training and equipping medical doctors with public health thinking and practice useful for a developing country setting where the majority of the morbidities and mortalities are preventable and most people are living in rural areas with no or little access to health services. It pioneered in starting the first graduate training in public health at a master’s level (MPH) in Ethiopia in 1984 and a doctoral program (PhD) in 2003/2004. The transformation to the School of Public Health (SPH) took place in February 2010 along with the restructuring at Addis Ababa University.

The SPH is organized into two departments, i.e., the Department of Reproductive Health and Health Service Management and the Department of Preventive Medicine. The School runs six programs: Master of Public Health including General MPH and specialty tracks in four subject areas (Epidemiology, Health Management, Environmental Health and Reproductive Health); the Ethiopian Field Epidemiology and Laboratory Training Program (EFELTP) in collaboration with the Ministry of Health – a competency-based training program designed to improve public health surveillance and epidemic control in the country; the Health Informatics training program which is jointly owned by the Faculty of Informatics and SPH in the same university and an MPH sandwich program designed for stakeholders such as the Ministry of Health.

The School provides teaching services in seven public health courses for undergraduate medical students starting from the second and third year and culminating with a one-week orientation and five-week intensive rural community health training program at Zeway town, which is located 160 kilometers south of Addis Ababa. This training provides medical students with hands-on experience in health center activities, different from the tertiary level teaching hospital in which they are trained. Furthermore, it provides tools to diagnose community health problems and design conduct, analyze, present and report small scale research and conduct nutritional surveys and interventions. SPH also stretches to provide courses to undergraduate and graduate students for institutions under the College of Health Sciences. The SPH is currently located at two sites: on the premises of the TASH as well as in Zewditu Memorial Hospital.


The SPH envisions being a regional center of public health excellence in problem solving training, advancement of knowledge, advocacy including operational research and involvement in conducting international and national community services as well as continuing education on the basis of demand from the Ministry of Health and other agencies.


The SPH is dedicated to the education of public health professionals; to the discovery, application and dissemination of new knowledge; and the promotion of health and prevention of diseases in Ethiopia by assisting governmental, non-governmental and international agencies in policy development, planning, implementation and evaluation of public health programs.

Administrative Structure

Following the restructuring at the Addis Ababa University, a Dean was appointed to lead the SPH, along with two department heads. The departments all together have seven units and run various undergraduate and postgraduate programs. Most of the human resources management is carried out centrally at the College level. The School has an Academic Commission composed of department heads and staff members and a PhD representative. In addition, the Appointment and Promotions Committee and the Research and Ethics standing committees work to assist the Academic Commission.