Introduction to Public Health

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Dahl
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1425
End: 1540
Field Work: Day 1 - Wednesday, 24 September | Ireland
Prerequisites: None Download Syllabus

This course introduces students to Public Health as a population-based approach to preventing disease and prolonging human health through community action.  An emphasis will be made on how public health knowledge plays a vital role in daily lives, and comparisons will be made between the public health systems of the U.S., other developed countries, and of developing countries.  Topics will include principles of evidence-based public health, collection and communication of health information, roles of social and behavioral sciences in public health, ethical and human rights concerns, different kinds of health systems, the roles of culture in health, prevention of non-communicable and communicable diseases, health issues specific for women and children, and working in public health.  Students will have the opportunity in a field lab to investigate a country’s public health system and how if functions to alleviate a pressing health concern of that country.

Field Work

Country: Ireland
Day: 1 - Wednesday, 24 September

This field lab will take place in Dublin with visits to three sites. The first visit will be to the Health Protection Surveillance Center (HPSC) for Ireland.  This institution is responsible for surveillance, prevention, and treatment of infectious diseases in Ireland.  During our visit, HSPC staff will explain how they carry out epidemiological investigations and will discuss various aspects of their research and work.  The second visit on this field lab will be to the Dublin Department of Public Health where students will learn about the risk factors of diseases, how health is being monitored and promoted in the community, and what health protection services exist in Dublin.  Lastly, we will visit the Gay Men’s Health Service (GMHS).  This community service organization serves the communities of gay, bisexual men, men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender people.  Staff from GMHS will discuss their education and prevention strategies for dealing with HIV, syphilis, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections. Academic Objectives:

  1.   Expose students to both local and national organizations that are seeking to improve human health
  2.   Learn of behavioral and biomechanical challenges to controlling the spread of STIs at a community level
  3.   Learn of careers in health care and challenges facing improving community health