Persisting, and in some cases widening, inequalities in health within and between countries present significant challenges to the focus and practice of contemporary public health, and by association, to public health education. As public health physicians and academic educators of medically- and non-medically trained public health practitioners, we call for a radical re-think of current approaches to public health medicine education and training in order to address these challenges. The public health physicians of the future, we argue, require not merely technical knowledge and skills but also a set of values that underpin a commitment to ethical principles, social equity, human rights, compassionate action, advocacy and leadership. Furthermore, while they will need to have their action firmly grounded in local realities they should think, if not speak and act, from an informed awareness of global issues. Drawing from our experience in Aotearoa New Zealand, as well as with marginalised communities overseas, we proffer our suggestions for the process and content of public health physician education and training for the future, with the intention of stimulating debate.