Public Health module (GM51012)

Learn about the history, development, and importance of public health issues in a local, national, and global context

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Number of credits: 20 

This module will provide an introduction to the history, development and current importance of public health in our societies; highlighting major public health issues in a local, national and global context, and to identify techniques and strategies for addressing them.

Public Health is about helping people live healthier lives and improving the conditions and environments in which we live. There are varying definitions of public health but essentially it involves organised efforts to promote health, prevent disease, and protect the health of populations. This includes a broad spectrum of activities from disease prevention and control, health promotion, epidemiology, community engagement, health policy, and advocacy among many others.

Health is influenced by a combination of many factors known as 'The Determinants of Health', e.g. our social and economic environment, the physical environment in which we live, politics, religion, cultural differences, education, and more.

This module offers an in-depth exploration of Public Health, including its history, key issues, and strategies within global contexts. You will learn how factors like politics, culture, and the environment can impact on health outcomes, and, examine multi-disciplinary approaches to disease prevention and health improvement.

What you will learn

In this module, you will:

  • learn about the history, development, and importance of Public Health in our societies
  • be introduced to a range of public health issues in a local, national, and global context
  • learn about different techniques and strategies for addressing public health issues
  • understand core global public health issues and major public health challenges

By the end of this module, you will be able to:

  • demonstrate knowledge of the ways in which factors such as politics, finance, religion, cultural differences, environmental change, and conflict can impact population health
  • appraise the multi-disciplinary strategies used in public health to prevent disease and improve health
  • interpret, evaluate, and synthesise local, national, and global data on incidence and prevalence of disease, distribution of risk factors, morbidity and mortality, and social deprivation
  • evaluate the effects of factors including geography, economy, employment, social and political structures, religion and belief, culture, natural disasters, climate change, conflict, and migration on incidence and prevalence of disease, distribution of risk factors, morbidity, and mortality
  • demonstrate understanding of the global health, economic, geo-political, social, and biomedical challenges associated with poor health, and of the global initiatives needed to address them

Assignments / assessment

  • essay 2,500 words (60%)
  • online discussion (30%)
  • class engagement (10%)
    • this will be a combination of class attendance and contribution to group activities

This module does not have a final exam.

Teaching methods / timetable

  • lectures (online and in-person)
  • workshops and tutorials
  • talks by invited speakers


This module is available on following courses: