Research Unit of Population Health

Research Unit of Population Health (PopH) at the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu is a multidisciplinary research and teaching unit that approaches questions related to human health through different disciplines.

The Center for Life Course Health Research, the Research Unit of Oral Health Sciences and the Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research were combined to this new unit during the 2022 organizational re-arrangement of the Faculty of Medicine. PopH brings together the expertise of the researchers and research groups of different topics.

Director Professor Juha Auvinen
Vice director University researcher Virpi Harila

PopH in a nutshell

One of the five research units at the Faculty of Medicine

Established in 2022

Teaching in 14 disciplines for medical and dentistry students

Approx 110 staff members


The Research unit of Population Health aims at research excellence in the fields of life-course epidemiology, systems epidemiology, psychiatric epidemiology, occupational health, health activity, public health, environmental health as well as oral health and clinical practices.

Lifelong health is the cross cutting theme of our research. We view human health from the perspective of different disciplines from individual to global scale - from oral health to general practice and public health to environmental and planetary health. One important aspect is the use of high technology in maintaining and promoting oral health. Our multidisciplinary research groups host researchers with different backgrounds and expertise, from clinical researchers to gene researchers, health scientists to geographers, biologists and anthropologists.

The researchers are supported by international and national funding including Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe projects (EUCAN CONNECT, LongITools, EarlyCause, TRIGGER, EMERGE, InChildHealth), the Academy of Finland (APSY Oulu, RECIPE, SCHOOLWELL and Academy Research Fellows), Biocenter Oulu and several foundations.

You can find more information about the research groups and the projects from the links below.

Research groups

Life-Course Epidemiology

The Life-course epidemiology group is inclusive, multicultural, multidisciplinary and international and researches the origins and life-course trajectories of cardio-metabolic diseases and chronic multi-morbidities.


Center for Environmental and Respiratory Health Research (CERH) is a multidisciplinary group, it's strategy is related to research, education and outreach activities related to global environmental health effects. Responsible of teaching public health.

Longitudinal outcomes in psychoses, and beneficial and harmful effects of antipsychotics in psychoses and off-label use

During years 2018-2023 our group will explore the effectiveness and adverse effects of antipsychotics in psychoses and in off-label use

Physical activity and health across the lifespan

The research group is multidisciplinary gathering together several research disciplines (sports sciences, public health, health sciences, pedagogics, psychology, medical technology, information studies and cultural anthropology).

Psychiatric Epidemiology - Northern Finland Birth Cohort studies 1966 and 1986

The research group investigates different topics relating to psychiatric epidemiology.

Working life network/working life groups

Working life network

Oral and craniofacial development research group

A major focus on studies is on NFBC-studies on tooth eruption, facial pain, lip morphology and aesthetics, occlusion and facial soft tissue characteristics.

Periodontal diseases and systemic health

We focus on the two-way relationship between periodontal and general health.

Systems epidemiology

The Systems Epidemiology laboratory at the Research Unit of Population Health is an internally and internationally actively collaborating group of around a dozen scientists in various career stages.

Current research projects

Completed projects (funding period ended)


Research Unit of Population Health is responsible of education for general medicine, geriatrics, occupational health, dentistry and public health. Our international research unit trains young researchers at different career stages in the master's and doctoral phase and in the post-doctoral phase. Many of our researchers teach epidemiology, molecular epidemiology and biomedical data science in the Epidemiology and Biomedical Data Science (EBDS) Master's Programme. Our unit is active in developing and implementing evidence-based practices, which also includes performing administrative tasks in the healthcare sector and developing specialist medical training at both local and national level. As an example, we implement two-year General Medicine GP training, which is in-depth training in the core competence areas of general medicine, in cooperation with the Unit of General Medicine at the Wellbeing Services County of North Ostrobothnia. Our unit bears the main responsibility for basic dental education and special education and basic medical education regarding multi-morbidity, multi-problems, functional capacity and health services.

Our disciplines are:

  • General practice
  • Geriatrics
  • Occupational health
  • Public health
  • Physical activity
  • Orthodontics
  • Prosthetics
  • Periodontology
  • Cariology
  • Oral and jaw surgery
  • Oral radiology
  • Oral health care
  • Oral pathology
  • Dental prothodontics and stomatognathic physiology

More information about teaching / studies

Current issues

PhD Defences 2024

PhD Defences 2023

Clinical and psychosocial outcomes among patients with clefts in Norhern Finland

Occupational and other outcomes in schizophrenia and other psychoses

Sedentary behavior in middle-aged adults: Measurement method development and associations with lipid and glucose metabolism

Metabolic health and obesity: Early determinants, trajectories and causal analysis. The Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 and 1986 studies.

Metabolic syndrome and periodontal condition – results of the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966 study

Effects of regular exercise on asthma control

Effects of indoor molds and smoking on lung function levels among adults with newly diagnosed asthma and healthy adults.

Temporomandibular disorders - prevalence of symptoms and association with health behaviors and oral health-related quality of life

Psychosocial Assessment of Patients With Temporomandibular Disorders (TMD). Suitability of the Finnish Version of Diagnostic Criteria for TMD Axis II Instruments

A register-based study of eruption patterns in the maxillary permanent canines and dental developmental abnormalities. Features seen in panoramic radiographs and treatment needs in permanent canines

Epidemiological investigations of circulating biomarkers for cardiometabolic diseases

Digital Magic Circle: Physically Activating Properties of the Augmented Reality Games in the Northern Context

Intensified lifestyle intervention with exercise as a treatment of severe obesity and prevention of cardiometabolic risks

Malocclusions and their associations with oral health-related quality of life in the Northern Finland Birth Cohort 1966

Predictive Features and Potential Treatment Targets for Oral Tongue Cancer

Decoding health and disease blog

Contact information

Research Unit of Population Health (PopH)

Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu

Mailing address: Research Unit of Population Health (PopH), P.O. Box 5000, FI-90014 University of Oulu, Finland

Visiting address: Research Unit of Population Health (PopH), Faculty of Medicine, Kontinkangas Campus, Aapistie 5 B / Aapistie 3 (Oral health), Oulu, Finland.

Staff email addresses: firstname.lastname (a)

AMR, IJCH and CHS journal archives

The Research Unit of Population Health hosts the editorial office archives of the Arctic Medical Research (1972-1996), International Journal of Circumpolar Health (1997-2011), and Circumpolar Health Supplements (2007-2010). For article requests, please contact cerh(a)


Research unit publications