The Food System, Environment & Public Health
The Department of Environmental Health Sciences of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health offers a certificate in The Food System, Environment and Public Health. The stand-alone post-baccalaureate certificate focuses primarily on the US food system, but also includes courses with an international focus.
In many ways, food is a fundamental element of our society and our food system is a core factor in our public health profile and challenges. Our food system encompasses the activities, infrastructure, and people involved in feeding our population (e.g., the growing, processing, distribution, consumption, and disposal of foods) and is at the nexus of many of the today’s most significant public health and environmental problems. These include obesity and other diet-related diseases; food insecurity; antibiotic-resistant infections; community and occupational exposures to contaminated air, water, and soil; and long-term threats to the food supply through resource depletion and ecological degradation. A population’s health is shaped by the quality and quantity of the food that is consumed, as well as by the way that the food is produced, processed, transported, and marketed to the consumer, intersecting with all aspects of public health.
Students will be required to complete a minimum of 18 term credits of coursework. All courses must be taken for letter grade and a 3.0 grade point average for the certificate courses is required in order for the certificate to be granted. Requirements must be completed within three years of being accepted into the certificate program. All courses are taught by faculty of the Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Educational Objectives and Student Learning Outcomes
Upon completion of the courses required for the Food System, Environment and Public Health Certificate, individuals will have gained specialized knowledge and understanding of the relevance of the food system to many different competencies in public health. While the required coursework of the certificate emphasizes the fundamental relationships among the food system, the environment, and public health, the nature of food system studies necessitates the inclusion of perspectives offered in such areas as nutrition, behavior, and policy.
The certificate will provide:
- Focused coursework in defining and understanding food systems and the relationships among diet, food production practices, the environment, and human health
- Practical courses and tools related to risk assessment, policy analysis, communication, and advocacy
- Advanced training pertinent to public health graduate level students engaged in food systems work
- Additional credentials when applying for and competing for jobs within organizations working to improve food security and reduce hunger, academic and research organizations, and federal agencies
Individuals who complete a certificate will gain competencies that will enable them to apply a systems-based approach to both understanding and addressing issues related to food and public health.
Students completing the certificate will be able to:
- Define and describe the food system, including identification of points in the food production and distribution processes that create risks for workers, communities, consumers, the ecosystem, and food security.
- Describe the history and evolution of the food system and food production practices and characterize the impacts of such practices on the public’s health.
- Use a systems perspective to analyze and apply critical thinking to inter-relationships within the food system, specifically among diet, food production, the environment and public health.
- Analyze strengths and weaknesses of political, social, and economic policies and other interventions to address food system issues including food production, consumption, and the fulfillment of the right to adequate food.
- Apply selected skills (risk assessment, advocacy, communication, and evidence-based decision rules) to influence legislative and regulatory policy aimed at promoting a healthy and sustainable food system.