Introduction to Public Health Research

Course Number
5000 (DLSPH Core courses)
Course Instructor(s)
Xiaolin Wei

Course Description

The objective of this course is to provide an introduction to public health sciences and public health research, with an emphasis on cutting-edge research being done by faculty and doctoral students at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Incoming doctoral students across all fields of study in the DLSPH Divisions will have the opportunity to learn about the faculty’s and more senior doctoral students’ current research as well as ongoing projects. Reaching students before and as they focus on the specific skills and knowledge base in their chosen discipline, the course will introduce students to critical thinking within different disciplines as well as aid in developing a common understanding of the diversity of public health issues across approaches. The weekly research seminar also highlights varied research opportunities within DLSPH, as well as key interdisciplinary professional development skills.

Course objectives

  1. Provide a comprehensive overview of public health history, accomplishments, and practices;
  2. Review different disciplinary perspectives on diverse public health issues embedded in the context of the historical, social, political, etc. causes of disease, disability and wellness;
  3. Facilitate critical thinking and collaborative interdisciplinary problem-solving;
  4. Develop the practical skills required for developing a research proposal;
  5. Offer exposure to the variety of DLSPH faculty and students, programs, research projects, and provide examples of future career possibilities in public health;
  6. Offer students a greater understanding of the scope and interconnections of current Public Health issues.
  7. Create a learning experience that is informative and engaging through the use of interactive technology, student involvement, and the selection of passionate speakers.

At the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Identify the complex nature of public health problems;
  • Understand the context driving specific public health approaches
  • Have a basic understanding of public health history, methods, ethics, and practices;
  • Understand the basic language and orientation of each represented public health discipline and research methodology;
  • Demonstrate critical thinking through the ability to engage in multi-disciplinary discussions and analyses;
  • Apply professional development skills;
  • Develop a draft sample research funding proposal for future research/dissertation work;
  • Use current technology to communicate effectively;
  • Communicate effectively an interdisciplinary perspective of public health sciences.