In 2001, our Center was founded as the Center for Tobacco Policy Research at Saint Louis University under the leadership of Douglas Luke, PhD and Nancy Mueller, MPH. In 2002, the Center received its first CDC-funded project to evaluate the CDC’s Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs, marking the first of many collaborative efforts with the CDC. 2005 signaled the beginning of our Center’s strong partnership with the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) with the start of our evaluation of MFH’s Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Initiative. Over the years, we branched into areas beyond tobacco, such as physical activity and nutrition, an area addressed in our evaluation of MFH’s Healthy and Active Communities initiative. Through these and other projects, the Center has built an extensive network of local, state, and national-level partners that includes practitioners, policy makers, advocates, funders, and scientists.
In 2008, our Center moved from Saint Louis University to the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis as one of several research centers contributing to the launch of the Master of Public Health degree program. Since July 2008, the Center has experienced substantial growth in personnel and funding. Our team is now comprised of 17 staff and 2 master-level and 1 affiliated post-doctoral student workers. In 2012, our Center underwent a rebranding process, including a name change from the Center for Tobacco Policy Research to the Center for Public Health Systems Science (CPHSS). The new name and mission were created to accommodate our growth and guide our Center’s move into new areas of research and evaluation.