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Introduction to Public Health Sciences

Course Number
5000 (DLSPH Core courses)
Course Instructor(s)
Billie-​Jo Hardy, Ramandip Grewal

Course Description

This is an Introduction to Public Health as practised in Canada and highlighting the research of DLSPH faculty. It presents students with the basic framework of fields like epidemiology, social and behavioural health, global health, occupational health and statistics. It is designed to provide a basic appreciation of the breadth of fields in public health as well as provide some insight into the work of divisions that students may not re-encounter during their Masters or PhD.

This course will emphasize:

  • Public Health values
  • Critical thinking skills, in particular the recognition and evaluation of assumptions
  • Consideration of health issues for groups of people rather than individuals
  • The root causes of and/or determinants of health, disease and disability
  • Contextual, social, political and life course influences on illness and wellness as well as on public health practice
  • Key approaches, methodologies and problems in the field of Public Health
  • Focusing on one area or approach while maintaining an appreciation for other approaches and what they offer a given public health problem
  • The DLSPH faculty, programs, and research projects
  • Career possibilities after DLSPH

Course Objectives

The objective of this course is to provide a common grounding for incoming students across programs and degrees that are coming to the Dalla Lana School of Public Health with a wide range of skills, experiences, goals and questions. Before focusing on the specific skills and knowledge base in the student’s chosen discipline, there is a need to develop a common understanding of the diversity of public health issues, the approaches to critical thinking in the different divisions. Upon completion of this course, we hope that students will have more questions than answers and more questions than they started with. As students progress through the program in their chosen discipline, these questions will become more refined and focused, and grounded in basic Public Health principles. The hope is that this course will offer students a greater understanding of the scope and interconnections of current Public Health issues.