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An Introduction to Food Systems and Public Health

2nd term
Environmental Health and Engineering
4 credits
Academic Year:
2020 - 2021
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 issues of food security (sufficient, safe and nutritious food for all) and food system sustainability in a world where approximately 850 million people are under-nourished while over 2 billion are overweight or obese. Explores the connections among diet, food production, the environment and public health in the context of equity, population pressure and the global climate crisis. Considers historical, economic and political forces that have helped shape food systems in the US and globally. Explores the critical role of public health in achieving healthy and sustainable food systems for all. 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, food security and food system sustainability and how each relates to public health
  2. Describe how diet, food production, and our environment interact to impact each other and ultimately, human health
  3. Characterize political, social, cultural and economic influences on food systems
  4. Identify and evaluate opportunities and challenges to reduce the environmental and public health impact of food systems
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 30% Quizzes
  • 30% Reflection
  • 30% Written Assignment(s)
  • 10% Participation

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

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

For consent, contact: