The 101 Approach

The "101" Approach to Undergraduate Public Health Education—What is It?

The "101" Approach provides what every college student should know about public health. It provides an integrated core curriculum.. The three "101" courses: "Public Health 101", "Epidemiology 101" and "Global Health 101" are central to the education of future health professionals as well as all those who will become educated citizens.

The "101" Approach grew out of the 2003 report of the Institute of Medicine which recommended that "...all undergraduates should have access to education in public health." At the time the Institute of Medicine report was published, many people thought that "all" was a typo since only a small fraction of the nearly 2,000 four-year institutions and over 1,000 community colleges offered even an introductory course in public health. Today the vision of core courses in "Public Health 101", "Epidemiology 101" and Global Health 101" offered by all colleges and universities is rapidly becoming a reality.

In 2004 Jones & Bartlett Learning initiated the Essential Public Health series with Richard Riegelman MD, MPH, PhD as series editor. The Essential Public Health series set out for the first time to develop a coordinated set of introductory public health textbooks. Today the series includes a full spectrum of introductory public health texts and ancillary materials.

View a complete list of series titles

In November 2006 the Consensus Conference on Undergraduate Public Health Education brought together public health and arts and sciences educational associations to make recommendations for the development of undergraduate public health education. Public health organizations included the Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) and the Association for Prevention Teaching and Research (APTR). Arts and Sciences organizations included the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences (CCAS).

Recommendations for Undergraduate Public Health Education were subsequently published by AAC&U and APTR. These recommendations provide curricular frameworks for "Public Health 101", "Epidemiology 101" and "Global Health 101" to permit these courses to fulfill general education distribution requirements. The Recommendations include learning outcomes and enduring understandings reflecting what public health knowledge and skills students should carry away and utilize for many years to come. Click here for a copy of these Recommendations for Undergraduate Public Health Education.

The recommendations also include a framework for public health minors which builds upon the three "101" courses, all of which should be taken by those who minor or major in public health. Those developing undergraduate minors and majors will find a broad range of useful textbooks as part of the Essential Public Health series as well as three textbooks that were written to fulfill the AAC&U and APTR recommendations i.e. Public Health 101: Healthy People-Healthy Populations (Riegelman and Kirkwood), Epidemiology 101 (Friis) and Global Health 101 (Skolnik).

In recent years there has been a dramatic increase in the number of colleges and universities with and without graduate public health education which are offering undergraduate major or minor in public health. According to the College Board there are now approximately 500 colleges and universities offering undergraduate programs in public health or related fields. For institutions interested in starting new undergraduate programs, click here for 10 Questions-to-Ask When Starting an Undergraduate Public Health Program. The "101" approach to undergraduate public health education and the Essential Public Health series the Jones & Bartlett Learning way of contributing to this national public health agenda.

2-year Colleges: Associate Degrees and Certificate Programs in Public Health

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health (ASPPH) in collaboration with the League for Innovation in the Community College has produced and approved the Community Colleges and Public Health report as part of ASPPH's Framing the Future Task Force. The Community Colleges and Public Health (CC&PH) report is intended to integrate education for public health at 2-year colleges into the continuum of public health education extending from associate degree through doctoral education.

The CC&PH includes two "prototype curricular models" whose development was supported by the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health of the Department of Health and Human Services. These are:

  • Public Health: Generalist and Specializations
  • Health Navigator

The Public Health: Generalist and Specializations include specialization in health education, health administration, and environmental health that were developed in collaboration with national academic organizations representing bachelor's degree programs to which associate degree students many wish to transfer and complete their bachelor's degree. These include the Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE), the Association of University Programs in Health Administration (AUPHA) and the Association of Environmental Health Academic Programs (AEHAP).

The full report as well as additional information is available here.

Many of the courses recommended by the CC&PH report can utilize current books in the Essential Public Health series. These include:

  • Public Health 101: Healthy People-Healthy Populations—Riegelman and Kirkwood
  • Global Health 101—Skolnik
  • Essentials of Health Behavior—Edberg
  • Essentials of Health Policy and Law—Teitelbaum and Wilensky
  • Essentials of Health, Culture, and Diversity—Edberg
  • Essentials of Environmental Health—Friis
  • Essentials of Public Health Preparedness—Katz

Forthcoming books by Jones & Bartlett Learning will aim to fulfill additional recommendations included in the CC&PH report.

Undergraduate Public Health Education: 4-Year Colleges

Public health studies may include minors and/or majors in public health. Public health studies can include core curricula, introductory specialty curriculum, electives, experiential learning, and integrative synthesis curricula. Public health studies take an academic generalist focus which complements the specialty focus of graduate public health curricula.

Undergraduate public health studies, either minors or majors, may lead to graduate public health education, clinical health professions education, as well as graduate education in law, business, international affairs and careers in a wide array of other fields. In addition it should prepare students for entry level positions in the public health workforce.

Minors in public health generally are 18 to 21 semester hours and should include core curricula, selected public health specialty courses and a limited choice of electives. Experiential learning such as community-based service learning is encouraged.

Majors should include all of the above plus a full spectrum of specialty courses covering all the key disciplines of public health. Cross-cutting or integrative curriculum as well as capstone or synthesis experiences are also encouraged.

The Association of Schools and Programs of Public Health has approved the Critical Component Elements of an Undergraduate Major in Public Health. The "Critical Component Elements" have also been adopted by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) as the basis for accreditation of the content of undergraduate majors. Books in the Essential Public Health series address many of the expectations of the Critical Component Elements. Click here to learn more.