Course description
This course presents an historical interpretation of the ideology, theory, and practice of public health in the modern world (i.e., 1750 onwards). We explore how populations and groups of individuals go about securing their health and how the organization of societies facilitates or mitigates the production and transmission of disease. The focuses is on how public health involves the medical management of space in one form or another—from the public space of the environment through institutional spaces such as schools and workplaces, to personal/individual body space.
Learning outcomes

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Examine the development of public health though its historical context
  2. Evaluate a range of current public health issues through comparisons with historical examples 
  3. Judge public health interventions in the past in relation to their impact on inequality and prejudice 
  4. Assess the historical contribution of public health in relation to citizenship, freedom, and identity
Course topics
  • The “new” public health
  • Quarantine
  • Sanitation and the environment
  • Workplace health
  • Public health in the school and the home
  • Vaccination and immunization
  • Managing global health
  • Cancer treatment and prevention
  • Professionalization
Course prerequisites

Introduction to Online Learning


This course is offered through the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Students in the History of Medicine Online Program can register for this course with the School of Public Health as a Special Student Limited. The 3 credits can go towards an Online Certificate or Master’s in the History of Medicine.

Course Faculty

Graham Mooney, PhD,