Public Health 101

What is Public Health??

Public health promotes and protects the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play.

While a doctor treats people who are sick, those of us working in public health try to prevent people from getting sick or injured in the first place. We also promote wellness by encouraging healthy behaviors.

From conducting scientific research to educating about health, people in the field of public health work to assure the conditions in which people can be healthy. That can mean vaccinating children and adults to prevent the spread of disease. Or educating people about the risks of alcohol and tobacco. Public health sets safety standards to protect workers and develops school nutrition programs to ensure kids have access to healthy food. 

Public health works to track disease outbreaks, prevent injuries and shed light on why some of us are more likely to suffer from poor health than others. The many facets of public health include speaking out for laws that promote smoke-free indoor air and seatbelts, spreading the word about ways to stay healthy and giving science-based solutions to problems.

Public health saves money, improves our quality of life, helps children thrive and reduces human suffering.

Public Health 101 Series

Browse through this Public Health 101 Series to learn more about Public Health.

Compiled by the Center for Disease Control from the following sources: Office of Public Health Scientific Services, Center for Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services, Division of Scientific Education and Professional Development

Public Health 101 Series (2019). Retrieved June 5, 2019, from

Degree Programs

Master in Public Health (MPH) or Bachelor of Science in Public Health

The Master in Public Health (MPH) is suited for students interested in pursuing a high-level professional career in public health, in environments including hospitals, consulting firms, international agencies, state and federal agencies, health departments, managed care organizations, community-based organizations, among others. 

The Bachelor of Science in Public Health prepares students for a wide range of entry level public health positions. The coursework includes the foundational knowledge of public health practice (epidemiology, health policy, global health) and reflects the values of public health: community engagement, disease prevention, health promotion and serving vulnerable populations. The program’s major focus on health education prepares students to implement behavior modification and lifestyle changes for individuals, families and communities.

Both degrees are designed to provide students with the competencies required to take the Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES) exam (MPH-Health Education track only).  

A Minor in Public Health is also available to supplement a different undergraduate degree at UM-Flint.


Our mission is to improve health in the community through collaborative research and community service.  We aim to produce future practitioners who create health populations by providing experiential learning opportunities through community engagement.


Achieving health equity in Flint and beyond

  • Diversity, Inclusion & Equity: Our diverse faculty and students bring their highly varied ideas, beliefs, and cultures to classroom interactions, scholarly activities, and community partnerships.
  • Social Justice: Our students and faculty engage in professional activities to reduce social disparities and health inequities in our communities.
  • Ethical Practice: Uphold high standards of honesty, integrity, and fairness in public health research, teaching, and service.
  • Professionalism: Model the duties and responsibilities of public health consistent with the code of conduct for the field.
  • Community and Partnerships: Engaging in mutually beneficial community collaborations built on respect, trust, and personal commitment to improve the public health status of local and global communities.
  • Local-Global Synergy: Create an educational synergy among domestic and international students, faculty, and communities that foster learning and practice opportunities that improve public health across cultures.



The Department of Public Health & Health Sciences is pursuing accreditation for its public health programs (MPH & BS) through the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH) . This extensive process is enhanced through input from our many stakeholders. See below for opportunities to participate in this process.

  • Serve in an advisory capacity on one of the following committees:

    • Admissions, Recruitment and Retention
    • Curriculum
    • Evaluation
    • Public Health Advisory Committee
    • Research & Community Engagement
  • Review select sections of the self-study document and data
  • Complete surveys as needed on various aspects of the program, such as:
    • Academic advising surveys (current students)
    • Alumni perceptions of program effectiveness
    • Course evaluations (current students)
    • Input on workforce development ideas and effectiveness
    • Staff services

If you are interested in any aspect of this process please email Dr. Michelle Sahli your contact information at:

Criterion for the accreditation process is below: