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Last updated:

April 8, 2022


6 months


This course includes:

6 months

Badge on Completion

Certificate of completion

6 months


This course, Introducing public health, presents some key elements of public health and health promotion. It considers the scope and focus of public health and how it is subject to change and located within the wider global context.


This course, Introducing public health, uses several activities to introduce two important public health issues: factors that influence health and ill-health; and the scope of public health work.
  • Factors influencing health, or the ‘wider determinants of health and ill-health’ as they are often called, are complex and contested. Family circumstances, poverty, education, work, housing, and environment all impact our health to some extent.
  • Public health has become ‘everybody’s business’ and is undertaken by a wide range of people, not just in the health sector but in other sectors too. It is both ‘multi-professional’ – involving professionals such as police, teachers, housing officers as well as health workers – and ‘inter-sectoral’ – involving different government departments, local government, the voluntary sector, private sector and so on.

Course learning outcomes

After studying this course, you should be able to:
  • Demonstrate some knowledge and understanding of the wider determinants of health and ill-health
  • Demonstrate some knowledge and understanding of the roles of people and agencies who undertake work in the promotion of public health
  • Demonstrate an awareness of the debates and dilemmas that may arise from the promotion of public health.

Course Curriculum

    • What is public health? 00:30:00
    • The shifting focus of public health 01:00:00
    • Different perspectives on health 01:00:00
    • Influences on health 00:50:00
    • Life-course effects 00:30:00
    • Scope of public health 00:50:00
    • Partnerships between sectors 00:45:00
    • Reflections 00:30:00
    • Conclusion 00:05:00

About the instructor

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Open University UK