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Last updated:

May 17, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


In the History of Public Health, we will examine the historical experience of health and illness from a population perspective. This material seeks to reveal how the organization of societies facilitates or mitigates the production and transmission of disease. It also asks how do populations and groups of individuals go about securing their health? One key theme is the medical management of space in one form or another - from the public space of the environment through institutional spaces such as schools and workplaces to personal/individual body space. The progression of the lectures reflects this, working "inwards" from the environment to individuals.

Course Description

The content provides a historical interpretation of how the theory and practice of public health in today's world has come to be what it is. We will concentrate primarily on the modern world (i.e., 1750 onwards) and omit detailed examination of public health in antiquity and the middle ages, although these time periods will be alluded to frequently. A thematic rather than chronological structure will be adopted so that comparisons can be made across the centuries and between different parts of the globe.

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, you will be able to examine public health through its historical context and use this information in the evaluation of current public health issues.

Course Topics

We will address historical developments in the following themes:
  • The "New" Public Health
  • Quarantine
  • Sanitary Idea
  • Workplace Health
  • Public Health in the School and the Home
  • Vaccination
  • Professionalization

Course Curriculum

    • A History of Modern Public Health: Introduction 00:55:00
    • Quarantine 00:55:00
    • The Sanitary Idea 00:55:00
    • Surveillance – The World of Work 01:00:00
    • Education and Mothering 00:50:00
    • Body Spaces: From Inoculation to Immunization 00:55:00
    • Professionalization and Expertise 01:00:00

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