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Course Details

Course Number: 90-833

Population Health

Units: 6

Description: Population Health is an introduction to the dynamic and multidisciplinary study of the health of populations. The foundation of population health is public health. Public health is "the science and art of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized efforts and informed choices of society, organizations, public and private, communities and individuals" (Winslow, 1920). Population health is focused on improving the health of populations by understanding the distribution and determinants of disease and identifying strategies to promote health and prevent disease before it occurs. Population health is concerned with protecting the public from health threats that are both naturally occurring and manmade.

In this sense, public health is a societal good as well as a national security concern. Over the years the public health system has been a victim of its own success leading to underfunding in the last several decades. Citizens and policymakers in developed nations forget that less than a century ago infectious diseases ravaged populations and changed the course of history. Through concerted efforts (including vaccine campaigns, public education campaigns and the modern sanitation movement) public health managed to slow the progression of these diseases and increase life expectancy.

We are now facing new population health challenges that threaten to take back these gains including chronic diseases associated with lifestyles, bioterrorism, global warming and emerging infectious diseases (coupled with antibiotic resistant strains of known infectious diseases).

This course is designed to increase the student's situational awareness of modern population health challenges and expand their critical thinking skills to address them. Students will be introduced to the state of the art in population health science and the tools currently being used to keep the public safe.

David J. Dausey