If you are a regular reader of the Peoples-uni Blog you may already be studying Public Health, working in Public Health or teaching it. However, you may have stumbled across these pages while doing some late night surfing. Or you may know somebody who doesn't yet work in Public Health but has potential and may be a bit nervous about signing up to an expensive course of study. What can you do about this? You could direct them here: http://courses.peoples-uni.org/course/view.php?id=308 Foundations of Public Health. Peoples-uni is in the process of developing its completely open-access (i.e. free) offer and we'll be discussing some of the courses that are on available here: http://ooc.peoples-uni.org/ over the next few weeks, but tonight we're looking at the Foundations of Public Health module.Foundations of Public Health is designed to provide an overview of what is Public Health and some of its main components. It is particularly directed at those with an interest in health problems in developing countries. You will find that we emphasise the importance of creating and applying an evidence base to finding solutions to the health problems facing populations. While this is a stand-alone course and available to all, we also see it as a pre-requisite for those who wish to enrol in further student with Peoples-uni, which can lead to a Master of Public Health degree. There are seven aspects to the module:Session 1: What is Public Health?This session aims to help you develop an in-depth understanding of the role and relevance of Public Health today. You should be able to::
  • identify the definition and roles of Public Health which are relevant to your own setting and
  • discuss how examples of successful examples of Public Health approaches to disease control might be applied in your setting
Session 2: Evidence Based Public HealthThis session aims to help you apply knowledge and understanding to the methods of obtaining evidence that underpin Public Health. You should be able to:
  • develop an understanding of the 'population approach' and the main methods of measuring the health of a population
  • assess the ways in which interventions can be introduced to reduce the burden of illness
  • discuss the barriers to the introduction of an evidence base to the practice of Public Health
Session 3: Public Health Systems, Structures and Major Global Initiatives to Improve Public HealthThis session aims to develop an understanding of the way that various countries establish systems to protect and promote the health of the public, and critically evaluate the potential and the limitations of current initiatives to improve global health
  • develop an in-depth understanding of the evolution of Public Health agencies, organisations, and systems, and the role of the World Health Organisation and various global funds.
  • develop a critical appraisal of the limitations of aid as a method of improving global health
Session 4: Health Promotion and Health ProtectionThis session aims to discuss the roles of health promotion and health protection. You should be able to:
  • develop an understanding of how theory underpins the practice of health promotion
Session 5: Disease CausationThis session aims to develop an understanding of the ways of assessing disease causation through epidemiological research methods. You should be able to:
  • apply knowledge and understanding of the major methods of measuring disease causation through epidemiology research
Session 6: Social Foundations of Health and DiseaseThis session aims to illustrate some of the social determinants of health. You should be able to:
  • develop an understanding of the role of social factors in the development of ill health and the major approaches to reducing their influence
Session 7: Developing Workforce Capacity in Public HealthThis session aims to discuss how the development of knowledge and skills, such as through online courses from the Peoples-uni, can contribute to developing workforce capacity in Public Health, and can contribute to individual career development and improving the health of the population. You should be able to:
  • discuss the issues of workforce needs in Public Health in yuor setting and the potential for e-learning to help build capacity
As you can see, this is comprehensive introduction to Public Health - in terms of the range of work that the discipline covers, the variety of skills that a practitioner needs (as well as areas for specialisation) and it includes some of the Peoples-uni ethos about the need to develop the workforce and develop capacity.Within each of the Sessions is a set of resources and readings, as well as links to further resources for you to access and read yourself. This is not a "live" course with discussions but it gives you a taste of both the subject and the Peoples-uni approach to teaching.

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