Introduction to Public Health

At a glance

This course provides an overview of the mission of public health, including key public health terms, historical developments in public health, the roles of different partners, public health's core functions and essential services, determinants of health, and the Health Impact Pyramid.

Historic 1960 photo of nurse caring for polio patient in an iron lung.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • describe the purpose of public health.
  • define key terms used in public health.
  • identify prominent events in the history of public health.
  • recognize the core public health functions and essential services.
  • describe the role of different partners in the field of public health.
  • list determinants of health.
  • recognize how individual determinants of health affect population health.

Available Learning Formats

E-Learning Course

Recorded Webinar

Slide Presentation

These slide sets are in the public domain and may be downloaded and customized as needed by the user for informational or educational purposes. Permission from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is not required, but citation of the source is appreciated.

Suggested Citation:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Introduction to Public Health. In: Public Health 101 Series. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, CDC; 2014. Available at: