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Foundational Knowledge in Public Health



Full course description

Course Introduction

This non-credit course provides a solid grounding in the Profession and Science of Public Health and Factors related to Human Health. Successful completion of this course may be a requirement for your degree and is the first step in your academic training.

This course is fully online and self-paced. The twelve modules in this course are aligned with the twelve learning outcomes in foundational public health knowledge as defined by the Council on Education for Public Health. Throughout each module are readings, notes from faculty, interactive activities, and videos to help you learn how to improve health at individual and population levels.

Throughout the modules are short quizzes. You may take the quizzes multiple times, but you must score 80% or better to pass. A passing score on each quiz is required for successful completion of the course.

Learning Outcomes

After completing the modules, you will be able to:

  • Explain public health history, philosophy and values
  • Identify the core functions of public health and the 10 essential services
  • Explain the role of quantitative and qualitative methods and sciences in describing and assessing a population’s health
  • List major causes and trends of morbidity and mortality in the US or other community relevant to the school or program
  • Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc.
  • Explain the critical importance of evidence in advancing public health knowledge
  • Explain behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population's health
  • Explain effects of environmental factors on a population’s health
  • Explain biological and genetic factors that affect a population's health
  • Explain the social, political and economic determinants of health and how they contribute to population health and health inequities
  • Explain how globalization affects global burdens of disease
  • Explain an ecological perspective on the connections among human health, animal health, and ecosystem health

Module Topics Include

  • History, Philosophy and Values of Public Health
  • Core Functions of Publis HEalth and the 10 Essential Services
  • Role of Quantitative and Qualitative Methods
  • Major Causes and Trends of Morbidity and Mortality in the US
  • Science of Primary Prevention in Population Health
  • Critical Importance of Evidence in Advancing Public Health Knowledge
  • Behavioral and Psychological Factors on Population Health
  • Effects of Environmental Factors on Population Health
  • Biological and Genetic Factors on Population Health
  • Effects of Social, Political and Economic Factors on Population health
  • Globalization and Global Burdens of Disease
  • Ecological Perspective on Human Health, Animal Health, and Ecosystem Health

Meet the Instructors

This course is developed by the School of Public Health, Indiana University-Bloomington.

The Indiana University School of Public Health-Bloomington offers top-ranked academic programs that prepare students for challenging careers preventing disease and promoting wellness in communities everywhere.


Length: 12 modules


School of Public Health


Credit: None


Audience: Everyone

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