Our Center was founded by Douglas Luke and Nancy Mueller (currently of Brown School Evaluation Center) in 2001 at Saint Louis University as the Center for Tobacco Policy Research. In 2002, we received our first Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) grant to evaluate the Best Practices for Comprehensive Tobacco Control Programs 1999. This was the first of many collaborative efforts with the CDC.

Our Center’s partnership with the Missouri Foundation for Health (MFH) began in 2005 with our evaluation of their Tobacco Prevention and Cessation Initiative. Over the years, we have 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.

In 2008, our Center moved from Saint Louis University to the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis, as one of several public health research centers contributing to the launch of the Master of Public Health degree program. Since our Center’s arrival at the Brown School, we have experienced substantial growth in personnel and funding. In 2012, we changed our name from the Center for Tobacco Policy Research to the Center for Public Health Systems Science (CPHSS). The new name and mission reflected our existing work in policy and prevention, as well as our Center’s move into the new areas of dissemination and implementation and systems science.

Over the years, we have built a strong team of faculty, research staff, and students and an extensive network of local, state, and national-level partners that includes practitioners, policy makers, advocates, funders, and scientists.