The Penn Center for Public Health Initiatives (CPHI)

The CPHI was founded in 2007 by Provost Ron Daniels to act as an interdisciplinary public health center that brings faculty staff and students from across Penn's campus. The CPHI mission is to improve health and quality of life by expanding and strengthening public health education, research and practice, fostering cross-disciplinary collaboration, and promoting meaningful community/academic partnerships. The Founding Director of the CPHI is Marjorie Bowman who left in 2012 to become the Dean of the Boonshoft School of Medicine at Wright State University.

Current Leadership

  • Jennifer Pinto-Martin, PhD, MPH, Executive Director
  • Sara Solomon, MPH, RD, Deputy Director
  • Rosemary Frasso, PhD, MSc, CPH, Director of Education
  • Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, Interim Director of Research
  • Heather Klusaritz, PhD, MSW, Interim Director of Community Engagement
  • Lauren Hallden-Abberton, Media and Communications Specialist

The MPH Program

The Penn CPHI houses the Penn MPH Program, which was founded by the visionary Shiriki Kumanyika in 2002. The first year of the MPH Program, there were 2 matriculated students. Since then, the program has grown in size to nearly 100 current matriculated students. Further, in 2012 the MPH Program was fully re-accredited by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) for a 7-year term, the maximum length of time awarded to any program.

Continuing Education in Public Health Research Methods

The CPHI manages a flourishing continuing education program which includes facilitating a summer institute on geographic information systems (GIS) and public health and a winter institute on qualitative and mixed methods research. These in-demand institutes are led by Dr. Amy Hillier and Dr. Fran Barg. To see previous agendas in the CPHI archive, click here.

Seminar Series

A centerpiece activity for the CPHI is the administration of an annual public health seminar series. This series brings together public health faculty, staff, students and area non-profits and community serving organizations for networking, dialogue and educational presentations. Click here for a listing of previous seminar series and annual themes.


Since 2008, the CPHI has facilitated an annual forum focused on in-depth discussion and planning around a specific public health issue. Click here for a list of previous forum topics.


The CPHI releases a digital newsletter entitled The Public Health Record. This newsletter features information about recent public health research, initiatives and events at Penn. It also highlights the work of specific faculty and students doing meaningful work with impact on population health. To view newsletters released starting in the Spring of 2008, click here.


The CPHI currently had over 100 Fellows representing every school across the University as well as Philadelphia-based public health organizations. This community comes together through a variety of interdisciplinary workgroups, seminar series events, the annual retreat, community-driven research day and other activities central to the CPHI. For a list of fellows, click here.

Pilot Grant Funding Program

A central CPHI program that stimulates interdisciplinary public health research has been our annual pilot grant funding. Since the program's inception, we have dispersed funds to 16 research teams and these grants have contributed $2,240,000 of follow on funding. Click here for a list of projects and people funded since the first grants were awarded in 2008.

Service Initiatives

The CPHI is committed to making a difference to community members in the Philadelphia area. Thus, in addition to supporting local research initiatives and community-partnered programming, we have initiated, funded and/or organized a variety of public health programs. To learn more about these programs, click here.