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This course provides a comprehensive overview of public health from its historical roots to defining what public health is today. It also teaches participants how governmental public health agencies are organized while covering the core public health functions and 10 Essential Public Health Services. Overall, the course is designed to give you a better understanding of the core concepts of public health.




  • Define Public Health
  • Explain the origins and historical developments of Public Health
  • Differentiate between medical care and Public Health
  • Compare the three levels of prevention and recognize examples of each
  •  Describe the Epidemiological Triangle
  • Describe systems thinking in public health
  • Recognize the levels of the Socio-Ecological Model
  • Describe the core functions and ten essential services of public health
  •  Recognize real-world applications of the core functions and essential services in public health practice
  •  Describe the general organization of Public Health at the global, federal, state and local levels

Training Level

Tier 1 – Awareness


This course is appropriate for anyone who needs to know the basics of public health practice and systems. 


Janet L. Place, MPH, 
USC Arnold School of Public Health


This course takes 1.5 hours to complete.


This course consists of audio, videos, assessments, activities, as well as additional resources. There are text transcripts within the lecture for accessibility.

Last Updated 

March 2018


Learners will receive a 1.5 hour Certificate of Completion.

Council on Linkages Competencies

6A2. Identifies prominent events in the history of public health
4A6. Describes the effects of policies, programs, and services on different populations in a community
7A1. Describes the structures, functions, and authorizations of governmental public health programs and organizations
7A2. Describes government agencies with authority to impact the health of a community
8A2. Describes public health as part of a larger inter-related system of organizations that influence the health of populations at local, national, and global levels
8A3. Describes the ways public health, health care, and other organizations can work together or individually to impact the health of a community

Technical Requirements

Windows: Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge (latest version), Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version)

Mac: Safari (latest version), Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version)

Mobile: Safari in Apple iOS 10 or later, Google Chrome in Apple iOS 10 or later, Google Chrome in Android OS 4.4 or later

Adobe Flash Player 10.3 or later plus any of these web browsers:

Windows: Internet Explorer 8 or later, Microsoft Edge (latest version), Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version)

Mac: Safari (latest version), Google Chrome (latest version), Firefox (latest version)

For Technical Assistance