PH 101: Introduction to Public Health

PH 101: Introduction to Public Health (expanded course information)

Fall 2019 Sessions:

In-person section on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 12:00 p.m – 1:15 p.m.

Enrollment code: PH 101 – 001 (20830)

Credits: Students in this course will earn 3 Gen Ed credits in Social Sciences.

Instructor: Keith Dookeran MD PhD
Visiting Assistant Professor, Zilber School of Public Health
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

Location: UWM Kenwood Interdisciplinary Research Complex, Room 1150

Course Description: Public health is concerned with the health of the community as a whole. A public health perspective views the health of a population as influenced by social, cultural, behavioral, biological, environmental, and economic factors. Public health researchers and practitioners work to prevent disease and promote health in populations through scientific research, policy development, and health education. This course provides an introduction to the history, science, and principles of public health, as well as opportunities to learn about current issues and approaches in the field.

Prerequisites: None

Learning Outcomes: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe key features of the historical development of public health, including the most important achievements of public health.
  2. Identify different public health disciplines, professions, organizations, institutions and systems.
  3. Understand the difference between personal health and population health, between health care and public health.
  4. Delineate the basics of the organization, financing, and delivery of medical and population-based services in the U.S., and the roles of quality, cost, access, and organizational structure in influencing population health.
  5. Describe the basic principles of epidemiology, including rates, risk factors, disease determinants, causation, and statistical analysis.
  6. Understand the determinants of health from a global perspective, including social, cultural, behavioral, biological, environmental, and economic factors.
  7. Outline the concepts of screening, prevention, and control of infectious and chronic diseases.
  8. Explain the most important public health problems and issues facing society today, including health disparities, aging, tobacco, obesity, control of emerging (and re-emerging) diseases, emergency preparedness, and addressing the needs of vulnerable populations.
  9. Learn the public health approach using a structured framework (PERIE – problem, etiology, recommendation, implementation, and evaluation) and apply to a new public health problem.
  10. Analyze the advantages and disadvantages of a potential public health intervention.
  11. Synthesize the principles and tools of public health as applied to a new public health problem.


  1. Weekly readings and assignments using UWM’s CANVAS system (course materials are provided and there is no required text).
  2. Active participation in lectures and discussion using UWM’s Turning Point Cloud Student Response System.
  3. Students will work in small groups and perform research, use literacy tools and analytic skills, and a structured public health framework, to systematically examine factors associated with a current public health problem, and recommend potential solutions.
  4. Midterm and final exams.
  5. Extra credit opportunities will also be available.

Topics Summary:

Module Topic
Introduction Introduction to Public Health
Public Health Organization, Institutions, Systems and Tools
Determinants of Health (includes Social)
Survey of Population Health Public Health Achievements, U.S.
Health Status of the Nation, U.S.
Public Health Achievements, Worldwide
U.S. Healthy People 2020 Initiative and Leading Health Indicators
Disease, Disability, and Death Evidence-based Public Health Practice
Concepts of Disease Causation
Infectious Diseases
Outbreak Investigation
Chronic Diseases
Food and Drug Safety
Environment and Health
The Obesity Epidemic
Sexual Violence and Public Health
The Opioid Epidemic and Mental Health
Genetics and Public Health
Introduction to Global Health
Screening and Prevention in Public Health