Introduction to Public Health

Discipline: Semester at Sea Seminars
Instructor: Ropka
Credits: 3
Day: B
Start: 1540
End: 1655
Field Work: Day 5 | Ghana Download Syllabus

This course is an introduction to the population health approach to public health.  It is designed to expose students to a foundational knowledge of U.S. & global public health, and to develop an appreciation of how public health knowledge relates to their lives. It is an overview of the basic principles of public health practice: including principles of evidence-based public health and tools for implementation, including health communications and informatics; applications of social and behavioral sciences; and health policy, law, and ethics.  Methods for addressing non-communicable diseases and communicable diseases are introduced.  The U.S. health care system and comparison with health care systems in other countries are  explored, as well as public health institutions and systems.  This course can often be used to fulfill a social science requirement.

Field Work

Country: Ghana
Day: 5

[This research program is affiliated with the Center for Global Health at UVA School of Medicine and collaborates with Dr. Richard Guerrant.] The field lab for this course will take place in Accra, Ghana.  Students will visit the Microbiology Department at the University of Ghana Medical School where they will learn about ongoing research regarding emerging infectious diseases and multi-drug resistance to pathogens.  They will also talk with these researchers about their research and clinical activities related to pediatric diarrhea in Southern Ghana, which is a major public health problem not only in Ghana but also in some of the other countries we will visit on our voyage.  Students will have the opportunity to interact with faculty in terms of research activities and any other issues of interest. Academic Objectives:

  1. Describe the impact of pediatric diarrhea on individual and community health in Ghana.
  2. Identify actions of public health in preventing and treating pediatric diarrhea in Ghana.
  3. Explain the threat of emerging infections in Ghana.