Population health science is a crucial piece of understanding and achieving the practice of evidence-based medicine to improve the health of individuals and populations. Evidence-based medicine extends beyond using results from the latest study to inform clinical practice. It involves evaluating findings in light of other studies, as well as within the context of a patient’s characteristics and medical history. 

To effectively use scientific literature and design high-quality studies, clinicians from all fields must understand both clinical science and the principles behind research methodology, which population health sciences training accomplishes.

In the 2008 Plan for Excellence (password protected), the Washington University School of Medicine made population health science a priority. Under this initiative, the Master of Population Health Sciences (MPHS) degree was created to equip clinicians and clinical doctorates with the advanced skills needed to design clinical outcomes research, interpret results and apply findings to improve clinical effectiveness at patient and population levels.