​​​​​The Department was originally established at the Faculty of Health Sciences in 1976, as the Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation. Professor Lechaim Naggan was its founding chair, responsible for recruiting faculty and shaping its ethos. The fledgling department obtained approval for residency training in public health and developed a mandatory six-month curriculum in the clinical residency.

By the early 1980s, the graduate program in Epidemiology was established and the department offered courses in epidemiology and biostatistics in all undergraduate programs and most graduate programs in the various schools of the FOHS. The Master's Program in Gerontology was established in 1999 and the Master's in Public Health (MPH) program in 2000. These programs are all in high demand by health professionals in a range of disciplines and fields, and our graduates are found throughout the Israeli healthcare system, some in very influential positions.

In 2013, the Department of Epidemiology and Health Services Evaluation was merged with the Department of Sociology of Health and became the Department of Public Health. The Department continues to evolve, dynamically adapting to the changing environment, developing new teaching programs and launching new research initiatives.

Department members are involved in large-scale interdisciplinary collaborations with other scientists in Israel and abroad. We collaborate intensely in both education and research with Soroka University Medical Center, as well as the Ministry of Health and other healthcare organizations. Much of the research conducted in the department also has particular implications for local population health and health care systems, and researchers work to communicate their research findings to relevant policy makers and target populations. Many are involved with governmental institutes, NGOs, and other civil organizations as consultants on a voluntary basis.

Two research centers are part of the Department: The S. Daniel Abraham International Center for Health and Nutrition was established in 1994 in collaboration with Columbia University in NY and conducts research in nutritional epidemiology. A new center for research in environmental epidemiology was established in 2016 with the aim of advancing research in this field at the FOHS.