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Public Health Elective: Public Health Elective


Health is "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmary."  The World Organization, 1948

This rotation will provide an overview of public health and some of the major public health issues today. You will receive a general introduction to public health including health behavior, communication, policy, and epidemiology. Then we will delve into topics such as environmental health, the social determinants of health and health equity, and pandemics and disasters.

This rotation is not intended to transform you into an expert but rather to give you a survey of public health and its toughest challenges. In fact, each module could easily be its own course. 


"An Irish cook named Mary Mallon was the first person identified as being the carrier in a typhoid outbreak. The media dubbed her "Typhoid Mary," and her trial and forced quarantine captured public attention. In this illustration, published around 1909, she is depicted breaking skulls into a skillet." Read more about Mary Mallon here

Healthy People 2030

"Since 1980, the Healthy People initiative has set goals and measurable objectives to improve health and well-being in the United States. The initiative's fifth edition, Healthy People 2030, builds on knowledge gained over the past 4 decades to address current and emerging public health priorities and challenges. An interdisciplinary team of subject matter experts developed national health objectives and targets for the next 10 years. These objectives focus on the most high-impact public health issues, and reflect an increased focus on the social determinants of health — how the conditions where people live, work, and play affect their health and well-being."

The specific Healthy People 2030 objectives this elective focusses on are health behavior, environmental health, populations, and the social determinants of health

Learning Objectives

By the end of this clerkship rotation, students should be able to:

  • Explain the complex and comprehensive nature of Public Health.
  • Explain the role of health behavior in overall well-being.
  • Explain the main concepts in health communication.
  • Describe major theories of public health law.
  • Describe the importance of environmental health.
  • Describe the health impacts of climate change.
  • Define the impact of the social determinants of health on health outcomes.
  • Describe the role of public health in pandemics.
  • Describe the role of public health in man-made and natural disasters.


  • All assignments will be posted in Teams.
  • Upload your study schedule into E*Value.
  • You do NOT need to complete a Learning Agreement -- the study schedule takes the place of the Learning Agreement.
  • If you have any questions or concerns email Ms. Ennis.

E-Reserves: Public Health

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