The Educated Citizen and Public Health

An understanding of public health is a critical component of good citizenship and a prerequisite for taking responsibility for building healthy societies.  At its best, the study of public health combines the social sciences, sciences, mathematics, humanities, and the arts.  At the same time, it serves as a vehicle for the development of written and oral communication skills, critical and creative thinking, quantitative and information literacy, and teamwork and problem solving.  It incorporates civic knowledge and engagement—both local and global—intercultural competence, and ethical reasoning and action, while forming the foundation for lifelong learning.  The study of public health, in other words, models a capacious vision of liberal education.

The Educated Citizen and Public Health Initiative serves the broader higher education community, setting the stage for integration of public health perspectives within a comprehensive liberal education framework. The Initiative simultaneously aims to fulfill the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation that “…all undergraduates should have access to education in public health.” Developed in part by the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR), the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS), the Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) , and AAC&U, the project creates and organizes publications, presentations, and resources to help faculty develop public health curricula in all our nation’s colleges and universities.

See Project Events for information on reports and events in the wider world of undergraduate public health education, including Framing the Future, a new vision for public health education for the 21st century.

Events and Publications Beyond AAC&U

Important recent publications include Framing the Future.  Of interest to the Educated Citizen and Public Health community is the Undergraduate Education report, the Undergraduate Learning Outcomes Model, and the Community College framework.

In spring 2015 an article titled “History of Undergraduate Education for Public Health: From Behind the Scenes to Center Stage,”  by Richard Kenneth Riegelman, Susan Albertine, and Randy Wykoff, was released by Frontiers in Public Health, in the section Public Health Education and Promotion. To view the online publication, please click here.  This article is an open access publication, freely accessible to any reader anywhere in the world.

Program Goals

The initiative aims to connect and inform, to bring undergraduate study of integrative public health to all institutions of higher education, to foster interdisciplinary and inter-professional collaboration, and to link to other initiatives that address human health and environmental sustainability.