The Department of Social Medicine and Public Health is formed following the merger of the former Raffles College and the King Edward VII College of Medicine to form the University of Malaya. Located in Sepoy Lines Golf Club at College Road, Dr John H. Strahan is appointed the first Head of Department, serving until 1953.


A nutrition unit is formed with the transfer of nutrition field workers from the Department of Biochemistry.


A lecturer in applied nutrition is appointed to the Department.


Statistical consultative services are developed, with the appointment of a medical statistician.


The Department relocates to Nissan Huts at McAlister Road, with Professor Trevor Lloyd-Davies taking over as Head of Department until 1961. Occupational health is introduced to the curriculum. The Diploma of Public Health (DPH) course is announced, becoming the pioneer postgraduate medical course in Singapore and one of the first in the region. 


The Department moves into the Institute of Health at Outram Hill.


Professor Winifred Danaraj serves as Head of Department until 1964.


Professor Michael J. Colbourne takes over as Head of Department until 1969.


Professor Phoon Wai On becomes the longest-serving Head of Department, serving 17 years from 1970 to 1987.


The Diploma of Public Health (DPH) is replaced as the course leading to the Master of Science (Public Health). The Master of Science (Occupational Medicine) is also established, becoming the region’s first postgraduate degree course in occupational medicine. 


Together with the Faculty of Medicine, the Department relocates to the main National University of Singapore campus at Kent Ridge when the National University Hospital (NUH) is completed.


The Department is renamed the Department of Community, Occupational and Family Medicine (COFM), reflecting the addition of Family Medicine teaching. It is reorganised into five divisions – Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Health Informatics, Health Care, Occupational Medicine and Family Medicine – to allow for greater specialisation in the respective fields. Professor Lee Hin Peng serves as Head of Department for 14 years until 2001.


The Master of Science (Public Health) and Master of Science (Occupational Medicine) are reorganised into courses leading up to the degrees of Master of Medicine (Public Health) and Master of Medicine (Occupational Medicine). COFM is designated as a World Health Organisation Collaborating Centre in Occupational Health.  


The Master of Medicine (Family Medicine) course is introduced.


The Centre for Environmental and Occupational Health Research (CEOHR) is established under the Directorship of Professor Ong Choon Nam, with the aim of illustrating and preventing environmental and occupational-related health problems. The Centre also provides training in the area of Environment, Health and Safety (EHS), consisting of members of different disciplines conducting credible upstream research and providing support and consultancy in the areas of chemical safety, environmental and occupational health.


After 12 years at NUH, the Department shifts to a new purpose-built building within the NUS Biomedical Complex.


Professor David Koh begins his tenure as Head, leading the Department into a new millennium filled with modern and more complex changes in public health.


The Centre for Molecular Epidemiology is set up with Professor Chia Kee Seng as its Director, to discover gene-environment interactions for the promotion of public health.


WHO Director General Dr Margaret Chan makes a homecoming to the Department and NUS as its alumna. The Master of Public Health (MPH) programme is introduced, merging the Master of Medicine (Public Health) and Master of Medicine (Occupational Medicine). In keeping with the cross-disciplinary demands of a changing public health landscape, the course opens its admission to both medically and non-medically qualified professionals.


COFM celebrates 60 years of excellence in public health teaching, research and policy.


COFM is re-established as the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health (EPH), signaling the Department’s new areas of research – including the genetic determinants of disease in Asian populations, the mathematical and statistical modelling of infectious disease epidemiology, and how gene-environment interactions shape chronic disease risk factors in the Singapore population. 


With the landmark gift of $30million from Professor Saw Swee Hock, the Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (SSHSPH) was officially established on 1 October 2011 as Singapore’s flagship school of public health with Professor Chia Kee Seng as its Founding Dean. The School sets out to develop its etiologic research capabilities into policies and programmes as well as train future leaders in public health with the aim of turning discovery into healthier communities in Singapore and the region.


Following the completion of the School’s strategic review exercise in April 2014 and crystallisation of the Vision2020 document (2015-20), the School restructures and streamlines its research and training capabilities along three domains – Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Modelling, and Health Systems and Behavioural Sciences, research programmes and centres, leveraging the varied expertise of the School’s faculty and partners, to drive the School’s translational and cross-disciplinary vision. On 12 February 2015, SSHSPH officially shifts to its new premises in the Tahir Foundation Building.  


Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health
Tahir Foundation Building
National University of Singapore
12 Science Drive 2
Singapore 117549
For all visitors, kindly proceed to Level 10 Reception Area at MD1
Telephone: (65) 6516 4988
Fascimile: (65) 6779 1489

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