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Orientation to the Essentials of Public Health (Advanced Level)

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Date Developed: 1/24/2006. Source: South Central Public Health Partnership. Presenter(s): Carolyn C. Johnson, PhD, NCC, LPC; Thomas Farley, MD MPH; Joan Wightkin, Richard Culbertson. Type: Video Course. Level: Advanced. Length: 240 minutes.


This four-module course describes the basics and some advanced components of public health. Module 1 considers the philosophical and historic foundation of public health with additional focus on the concept, determinants and measurement of health. After defining public health and its unique features, this module also discusses the history of the development of the core functions and essential services of public health. Module 2 covers public health at the federal, state, and local levels, with particular emphasis on the application of essential services and connections between levels. Module 3 discusses the concept of assessment in more detail, describing common elements, methods, and data sources. Module 4 describes the ethical foundations of public health, with an introduction to schools of ethical thought, fundamental principles and future ethical challenges. Note: A multi-step registration process is required to access the module.

Learning Objectives

Module 1: Philosophical and Historical Perspectives of Public Health

Module 1, Part 1

• Recognize the difficulty in defining health.

• Explain the various definitions of health.

• Develop your own definition of health based on your own work priorities.

Module 1, Part 2

• Describe population-based measurements of health.

• Recognize tools for health promotion and behavior change are available.

• Discuss future goals for the nation.

Module 1, Part 3

• Identify the domains of health determinants.

• List and critically evaluate examples of health determinants in each domain.

Module 1, Part 4

• Explain public health.

• Argue the pros and cons of public health as a profession.

• Describe components and images of public health.

Module 1, Part 5

• Discuss the evolution of public health.

• Describe the actions of historical heroes in public health.

• Discuss public health’s achievements during the 20th century.

Module 1, Part 6

• Identify the three core functions for public health work.

• Translate the core functions into public health practice.

• Apply the core functions of public health to your own work.

Module 1, Part 7

• Discuss the unique features (core values) of public health.

• Critically evaluate the interaction of these unique features.

Module 1, Part 8

• Identify public health’s 10 essential services.

• Discuss the practical implications of the essential services.

• Compare your own work with the essential services that form the framework of public health.

Module 2: The Structure of Public Health

• Differentiate and compare local, state and federal public health roles and responsibilities.

• Identify funding sources and how they are appropriated via the three levels.

Module 3: Assessment as a Core Function

Module 3, Part 1

• Explain how assessment fits in as a public health core function.

• Describe ways to measure health status and disease rates in population.

• Name the importance for monitoring trends in diseases.

• Identify ways to find subpopulations at elevated risk.

• Determine modifiable antecedents to disease.

Module 3, Part 2

• List methods of assessment in assessing the health of a population.

• Name forms of surveillance data collection.

• Explain how to analyze, interpret and disseminate surveillance data.

• Explain how vital statistics are used in assessment and the purpose of using special studies.

• List questions and measures that are useful when evaluating public health programs.

• Name both federal and state sources of data for overall health assessment.

Module 4: The Culture of Public Health

• Compare and contrast the ethical bases of public health and medical care.

• Explain similarities and differences between law and ethics.

• Define the philosophical and religious bases of ethics.

• Explain the ethical foundations of public health and their impact on target constituencies.

Special Instructions

Registration to the South Central Public Health Partnership is required. For new users it will take one weekday to receive an access email. If you are registered in TRAIN, you should login using that username and password. Click on “Course Offerings” and search for “Orientation to Essentials of Public Health, Advanced Level.”

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number UE8MC25742; MCH Navigator for $225,000/year. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS or the U.S. Government.