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Introducing public health

Free Course Free Course Featuring: Video Video

This free course, Introducing public health, introduces some key elements of public health and health promotion, using a video case study of Coventry. It focuses on the major determinants of health and ill health and the scope of public health work.

After studying this course, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate some knowledge and understanding of the wider determinants of health and ill-health
  • demonstrate some knowledge and understanding of the roles of people and agencies who undertake work in the promotion of public health
  • demonstrate an awareness of the debates and dilemmas that may arise from the promotion of public health.

By: The Open University

  • Duration 6 hours
  • Updated Monday 29th February 2016
  • Intermediate level
  • Posted under Public Health
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Introducing public health


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This course uses a case study of Coventry to introduce two important public health issues: factors that influence health and ill health; and the scope of public health work.

  • Factors influencing health, or the ‘wider determinants of health and ill-health’ as they are often called, are complex and contested. Family circumstances, poverty, education, work, housing and environment all impact on our health to some extent. You will see some of these influences at work in Coventry.
  • Public health has become ‘everybody’s business’ and is undertaken by a wide range of people, not just in the health sector but in other sectors too. It is both ‘multi-professional’ – involving professionals such as police, teachers, housing officers as well as health workers – and ‘inter-sectoral’ - involving different government departments, local government, the voluntary sector, private sector and so on.

Consider how to use your study of this course, for example by recording your ideas in a paper-based or online journal. If you are a public health practitioner you may wish to use your work to help build portfolio evidence of your public health knowledge and skills. If you enjoy this course you can also study the other courses in this sequence:

This OpenLearn course is an adapted extract from the Open University course : K311 Promoting public health.

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