Orientation to the Essentials of Public Health - Advanced Level

Course Description:

The purpose of this course is to focus on the basic principles and core elements of public health and trace its evolution. The course reviews the public health system and its roles and responsibilities. It is also important to understand the challenge to measure health and address the nationally recognized core public health competencies. Lastly, participants are given a glimpse at public health issues that face us today and one that are on the horizon.

Target Audience

Academic Faculty/Staff, Federal Government Employees, State Government Employees, Local Government Employees, Non-Government Employees and Students

Learning Objectives


Module 1 Part 1

  • Recognize the difficulty in defining health
  • Explain the various definitions of health
  • Develop your own definition of health based on your own work priorities

Module 1 Part 2

  • Describe population-based measurements of health
  • Recognize tools for health promotion and behavior change are available
  • Discuss future goals for the nation
  • Identify different definitions of health - including physical, mental, and social well-being

Module 1 Part 3

  • Identify the domains of health determinants
  • List and critically evaluate examples of health determinants in each domain

Module 1 Part 4

  • Explain public health
  • Argue the pros and cons of public health as a profession  
  • Describe components and images of public health

Module 1 Part 5

  • Discuss the evolution of public health
  • Describe the actions of historical heroes in public health
  • Discuss public health's achievements during the 20th century

Module 1 Part 6

  • Identify the three core functions for public health work
  • Translate the core functions into public health practice
  • Apply the core functions of public health to your own work

Module 1 Part 7

  • Discuss the unique features (core values) of public health
  • Critically evaluate the interaction of these unique features

Module 1 Part 8

  • Identify public health’s 10 essential services
  • Discuss the practical implications of the essential services
  • Compare your own work  with the  essential services that form the framework of public health

Module 2

  • Differentiate and compare local, state and federal public health roles and responsibilities
  • Identify funding sources and how they are appropriated via the three levels

Module 3 Part 1

  • Explain how assessment fits in as a public health core function
  • Describe ways to measure health status and disease rates in population
  • Name the importance for monitoring trends in diseases
  • Identify ways to find subpopulations at elevated risk
  • Determine modifiable antecedents to disease

Module 3 Part 2

  • List methods of assessment in assessing the health of a population
  • Explain how to analyze, interpret and disseminate surveillance data
  • Explain how vital statistics are used in assessment and the purpose of using special studies
  • List questions and measures that are useful when evaluating public health programs
  • Name both federal and state sources of data for overall health assessment

Module 4

  • Compare and contrast the ethical bases of public health and medical care
  • Explain similarities and differences between law and ethics
  • Define the philosophical and religious bases of ethics
  • Explain the ethical foundations of public health and their impact on target constituencies
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 4.00 Participation/CE
    Tulane Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) awards 4.00 hour(s) of credit for completing Orientation to the Essentials of Public Health - Advanced Level
Course opens: 
Course expires: 


Carolyn Johnson

Carolyn C. Johnson, Ph.D., N.C.C., L.P.C.

After obtaining a business degree from Soule College, New Orleans, and extensive experience in the business arena, Dr. Johnson received an undergraduate magna cum laude degree in Psychology from the University of New Orleans in 1982, a Master of Science in Clinical Psychology from San Diego State University in 1985, and a Ph.D. in Applied Biopsychology from the University of New Orleans in 1990.

Dr. Johnson has been associated with the Tulane Center for Cardiovascular Health since 1986. In her association with the Center, she has been an investigator and coordinator for the Health Ahead/Heart Smart program (1984-87), an investigator with the Bogalusa Heart Study (1986-98), Co-Principal Investigator and Project Director for the national Child and Adolescent Trial for Cardiovascular Health (CATCH)(1987-present), and Co-Principal Investigator for the Gimme 5: A Fresh Nutrition Concept for Students program, a 5-a-day NCI-funded dietary intervention for high school students (1993-97). Dr. Johnson developed and coordinated a clinical program for reduction of cardiovascular risk factors for members of high-risk families, the Heart Smart Family Health Promotion Program and assisted with applying program principles to families at Ft. Polk, LA.

Dr. Johnson is currently Principal Investigator of a high school smoking prevention program, the Acadiana Coalition of Teens against Tobacco (ACTT) (2000-05), and a school-based teen pregnancy prevention program in Vermilion Parish, LA (1997-2002). She is a Co-Investigator in the national Trial of Activity for Adolescent Girls (TAAG) (2001-07). She is also Director of Community Outreach for the Tulane-Xavier National Center of Excellence in Women's Health.

Dr. Johnson's area of specialty is behavioral medicine. Her program efforts have been in the lifestyle and psychosocial areas, as well as administration. She is a nationally certified counselor (NCC) and a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in the state of Louisiana. Prior to coming to Tulane, Dr. Johnson did clinical behavioral psychotherapy and worksite wellness and smoking cessation programs. Currently, she teaches human sexual behavior, behavioral psychology theory, and introduction to public health policy and practice.


Thomas Farley

Thomas Farley, MD MPH

My background is in pediatrics, epidemiology, and control of infectious diseases. I have worked on a child health program in Haiti, in infectious disease epidemiology for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and in prevention of vaccine-preventable diseases, tuberculosis, STDs, and HIV at the Louisiana Office of Public Health. In recent years I have evaluated interventions to control bacterial STDs and HIV.

My work in prevention of STDs/HIV led me toward population-based interventions to address the underlying causes of high-risk sexual behavior. Because these underlying causes influence other diseases and injuries as well, I moved from infectious disease control at the health department to the Department of Community Health Sciences at Tulane. I am interested in developing, implementing, and evaluating population-based interventions for a range of health problems, particularly interventions that act on our social and physical environment.


Joan Wightkin

Joan Wightkin, DrPH


Richard Culbertson

Richard Culbertson, PhD

Available Credit

  • 4.00 Participation/CE
    Tulane Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) awards 4.00 hour(s) of credit for completing Orientation to the Essentials of Public Health - Advanced Level


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