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Introduction to Public Health


Public health is the science of preventing disease, prolonging life and promoting health through the organized community efforts. One way to define public health and its function is to compare it with medical care. While medicine is focused on the individual patients and illnesses, public health is concerned with population needs and prevention. In this vein, a unifying principle of public health is its essentially “public” nature and the fact that it is mainly focused on the health of the population. The course focuses on all three-core functions of public health as they are: (i) the diagnostic assessment of the information on health of the population, (ii) the policy development, and (iii) the development of programs and interventions to protect public health.

The course places primary emphasis on the broader perspective of public health, such as methods, biomedical basis and psychosocial and behavioral factors, as well as a focus on specific issues, such as tobacco consumption, obesity, family/parenting factors, eating habits and eating disorders.



Petrocchi S.

Course director

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