Faculty and Staff


Stephen Hodgins, MD, MSc, DrPH

Associate Professor

Public Health, School of

About Me

I am a family physician by training, with an MSc and a DrPH in health behaviour and public health leadership and I received board certification in the U.S. in preventive medicine.

I was first launched on a career trajectory focused on community health in low-income settings as a volunteer in India. Since then, I spent a period of six years involved in such work with First Nations and Inuit communities in Quebec. 

Over the past 20 years, I have been working in global health. This has included extended periods living in Zambia and Nepal. My work has been at local, national and global levels, including a period of 8 years based in Washington, DC. I have been practice-based but with a consistent substantive involvement in applied research. 

I believe that effective public health practice requires being grounded in the complex, real-world settings where our efforts are meant to achieve impact. Such practice requires critical thinking and genuine commitment. Too often, our practice lacks rigour and our research lacks real-world relevance. Sounder work and more rapid progress on improving population health require putting the two together. That’s the passion of my professional life. One of my continuing activities is serving as Editor-in-chief for the journal Global Health: Science & Practice; this offers an ideal platform for bringing together rigour and relevance.


DrPH (Health Behaviour and Public Health Leadership), The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000
MSc (Epidemiology & Biostatistics), McGill University, 1991
MD, McGill University, 1989


improved service delivery in low income countries
maternal-newborn-child health
primary health care
community health workers
effective scale up
systems thinking


To date, in my research activities there have consistently been tight evidence-practice linkages. In almost all such work I’ve been involved with, the research was done directly in response to a need identified on the program side. More recent efforts have focused on broader synthesis across multiple related program efforts. This has included: 

• Multi-country analysis using survey data on antenatal services and sick-child care

• Ongoing work on unacknowledged, ineffective scale-up efforts in global health (“empty scale-up”) 

• A multi-country review of large-scale postnatal home visitation programs (an effort I have led, in collaboration with colleagues from World Health Organization, UNICEF, United States Agency for International Development and others)

• A set of country program case-studies on Community Health Worker programs, which gave rise to a book-length guidance document 


My teaching draws heavily on my background of 30+ years of public health practice, which has always included a strong emphasis on critical inquiry and learning / adaptation. 

I seek substantial convergence between the focus of my teaching and my research involvement with—on both sides—an emphasis on: real-world grounding, bringing rigorous inquiry to high priority program challenges; and, thinking critically and creatively about public health practice and implementation. I  bring my personal experience in global health program work to my interactions with students, helping them better understand the role they can play.