Institute of Social Medicine-ISM

The Institute of Social Medicine

Founded in late 1960’s by a group of professors from the Faculty of Medical Sciences, ISM has an interdisciplinary and engaged commitment to Brazilian social reality, and the free exchange of ideas. The ISM is mostly involved in higher studies (post-graduates, post-docs, etc.). The MSc programme in Public Health (established 1987) is an extension of the MSc in Social Medicine set up in 1974. It is an academic oriented Masters degree and encompasses three areas: humanities and health, health planning and epidemiology/biostats. The PhD programme in Public Health was instated in 1991.

More recently, several ‘Professional Master’ courses have been offered. Although mostly involved in post-graduate teaching and research, ISM provides PH and epidemiology courses for undergraduates enrolled in other Departments of the State University of Rio de Janeiro (e.g., ‘Fundamentals of Community Health’, ‘Social Medicine’, ‘Bioethics’). Operationally linked to the IMS, the Centre for Studies and Research in Community Health (CEPESC) is non-profitable organization established in 1987 aimed at ‘independently’ managing research grants and funding.

The agile and quick approach of CEPESC in managing financial resources obtained by the staff of the Institute, has not only brought direct benefits to the IMS itself, but also earned it an excellent reputation outside the university. Today, the CEPESC continually provides services to other research groups and institutions of the public health sector.

Headed by a Departmental Council that is closely supported by an active Post-Graduate Commission, the IMS formally encompasses three departments; Human Sciences and Health, Epidemiology (Biostatistics), and Health Policies, Planning and Management. Each department has its own MSc and PhD programmes. The IMS also offers several courses of professional master’s degree, which are mostly provided by the latter department.


Research strengths: ISM encompasses 18 research areas, which are run by 17 research groups. Although some are exclusive to a given department, many cross boundaries and multi-disciplinary:


Opportunities/specific areas of interest for collaboration

  1. Cancer Epidemiology (Gulnar Azevedo e Silva)

Current LSHTM collaborators: Michel Coleman and Isabel dos Santos Silva.

  1. Research Programme on Infectious Disease Epidemiology (Werneck & Braga)

Potential LSHTM collaborators: Dept. of Infectious Disease Epidemiology / Tropical Epidemiology Group; and Dept. of Social and Environmental Health Research / Centre on Global Change and Health & Spatial Analysis in Public Health.

  1. Epidemiological Research Programme in Family Violence (Reichenheim & Moraes)

Potential LSHTM collaborators: Centre for Global Mental Health and Dept. of Medical Statistics Research Program in Subjectivity, Health and Medicine (Francisco Ortega)

Potential LSHTM collaborators: Centre for Global Mental Health: Araya, Patel, Cohen, and De Silva. Strategic Grant submitted to Wellcome Trust. Lead Institutions: Dept. Social Science, Health & Medicine, Kings College and LSHTM. PIs: Rose, Singh and Araya. Co-PI: Francisco Ortega).

  1. Research Programme in Economic and Modelling Applied to Health (Cid M.Vianna)

Potential LSHTM collaborators: Goodman (Health Economics and Systems Analysis Group); Chalabi and Dowies (Dept. Social and Environmental Health Research); Miners, Grives and Sanderson (Dept. Health Services Research and Policy).

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