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Food Systems and Public Health

2nd term
Environmental Health and Engineering
4 credits
Academic Year:
2016 - 2017
Instruction Method:
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Keeve Nachman

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses.


Introduces the complex and challenging public health issue of food security (sufficient, safe and nutritious food for all) in a world where approximately one billion people are under-nourished while over 1.5 billion are overweight or obese. Explores the connections among diet, the current food and food animal production system, the environment and public health, considering factors such as equity, population pressure and the historical, economic and political forces that have helped shape food systems. Focuses on the U.S. experience, but also uses case studies in the U.S. and internationally to illustrate the issues discussed. Considers alternative approaches to achieving both local and global food security. Explores the important role public health professionals can play. Guest lecturers include experts from a variety of disciplines and experiences.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Define the concepts of food systems and food security and describe how each relates to public health
  2. Describe how diet, food production, the environment, equity, population and resources inter-relate to impact each other and ultimately human health
  3. Describe five historical, economic, or political factors that have helped shape the current food system
  4. Identify three to five opportunities and challenges to encourage dietary behavior change, support sustainable agriculture, improve food security and lessen the environmental and public health impact of food production and consumption
Methods of Assessment:

Short written assignments, quizzes, participation.

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Consent required for those not matriculated into a JHSPH graduate program.

For consent, contact: