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History of Public Health

3rd term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Randall Packard

Introduction to Online Learning.


The current COVID-19 pandemic, highlights the importance of understanding the history of public health. Quarantines, social distancing, masks, school and restaurant closures, and the rush to find effective vaccines and treatments are not new. These measures have a history. So too, do the social tensions and conflicts that these measures have produced. Understanding how people in the past have identified and responded to public health threats—be they infectious diseases, industrial pollution, occupational diseases, smoking, gun violence or various forms of cancer, provides a critical context for making sense of current and future public health crises.

Examines the historical experience of health and illness from a population perspective. Seeks to reveal how the organization of societies facilitates or mitigates the production and transmission of disease: how do populations and groups of individuals go about securing their health? Concentrates primarily on the modern world (i.e., 1750 onwards) and omits detailed examination of public health in antiquity and the middle ages, although these time periods are alluded to frequently. Adopts a thematic rather than chronological structure so that comparisons can be made across the centuries and between different parts of the globe.

Learning Objectives:

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

  1. Examine public health through its historical context.
  2. Evaluate current public health issues through historical context.
  3. Evaluate a range of current public health issues through comparisons with historical examples
  4. Judge public health interventions in the past in relation to their impact on inequality and prejudice
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 35% Paper(s)
  • 35% Participation
  • 30% Final Project

Instructor Consent:

No consent required