Course 3 Preview

Public Health History

Become familiar with the broad evolution of public health, with an emphasis on examining the root causes of health inequities and social reform efforts. Looking for the full Course 3? Access Course 3 here.

Illustration with doctors symbol, medicine and syringe, black female doctor.

Purpose and Overview

In this course, you will explore select events and themes from the history of public health and their intersection with social movements. Health inequities have persisted for centuries stemming from numerous root-cause systems such as racism, white supremacy, (cishetero) patriarchy, classism, (cis)sexism, among others. History shows us that health equity and social justice are critical to advancing the health of our country, especially for the most marginalized communities who have faced, and continue to face, oppression throughout history. 

This course features an interactive timeline of public health history over the past two centuries, along with case studies to delve deeper into seminal public health events that have shaped our country. While the course primarily focuses on U.S. history, we will also highlight key international events that have directly impacted the U.S. public health system. We will call out social injustices and show examples of how public health has both advanced and hindered positive health outcomes. You will examine the scope of public health’s role and responsibilities in the U.S., and discuss how it has developed as a field that intertwines with various interests, organizations, and social movements.

Course 3 Highlights

Screenshot of the Public Health Timeline
screenshot of historical context mapping

Next Steps

Illustration of a group of people of various genders and races stand and sit around a table conversing
Start a group

Learn together about the roots of health inequity by starting a group for your organization. Our course provides step-by-step guidance on how to facilitate healthy dialogue and exploration.

Illustration of a black man sitting on the ground with a laptop open in his lap
Learn independently

Enroll in the Independent Learners group and complete the course with a community of learners interested in health equity.