Introducing public health
Introducing public health

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Introducing public health

1 What is public health?

Described image
Figure 1 Public health word cloud

You’ve probably already heard of ‘public health’ and you’ll have your own views on what the term means. It’s important to reflect on this and to see how your views and understanding might change after this course.

Activity 1: Getting started

Timing: Allow 15 mins

Based on your own ideas and experiences, write notes on what you think the scope and focus of public health is in the word document [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)]   provided.


Public health is difficult to define due to its breadth and depth. There are a range of opinions on what the scope and focus of public health is, and these are often influenced by the values that we hold. Public health in the UK encompasses healthcare, social care, the independent or voluntary sector, local government, education and almost any other sector in the UK. You will learn by the end of this course that public health is an issue for all people too, whether they live alone or in a family. In short, public health is ‘everybody’s business’ and the aim of public health bodies is to improve health and wellbeing at local, regional and national levels. You will get the opportunity to return to your ideas about public health at the end of the course.


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