This survey course covers the basic elements of public health along with the complex ethical and political issues central to public health. The class is open to undergraduate students of all majors who want to know more about the field of public health, what it is, how it’s organized, and how it works.

The course provides a basic overview of current local, national, and global trends in both communicable and non-communicable disease; the behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of population health, with a focus on causes of disparities in population health status; the organization of public health activities and their relation to other health-related activities (e.g., clinical care, emergency preparedness); analytical methods and the science of public health; the ethical challenges facing public health action; and emerging challenges for the field of public health. The course uses a mix of didactic material, case studies, and assignments to help students understand the role of public health and the wide array of public health career opportunities as well as its relation to human science fields. This course is presented primarily as a “hybrid” course (i.e., with a mix of in-person and online sessions).  Topics covered in the course include:

  • Public health history, organization and scopeblog2
  • Environmental influences on health
  • Social & behavioral influences on health
  • Infectious and chronic diseases
  • Public health and healthcare
  • Emergency and disaster planning and response
  • Public health methods: epidemiology, surveillance, sources of data
  • Ethical challenges in public health

The largest section of the course is taught in “hybrid” format–approximately half of the material is online, and half in class. Much of the fundamental, more didactic material is online, so that students can review it as many times as they wish, at whatever pace they wish. This allows students new to public health to linger on materials they’ve never seen, and more experienced students to review some familiar material more quickly. We save our in class time for illustrations and case studies, with interactive activities whenever possible.

H100 is offered fall, winter, and spring terms. In recent years, it has been a big class, topping out at 350. There are also online H100 sections offered most terms, which cap at around 35 per section. Check the OSU catalog for details.