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The Science of Public Health

Seminar Leader:
Seema Sonnad (1963-2015)


Public Health: “…the science and the art of preventing disease, prolonging life, and promoting physical health and mental health and efficiency through organized community efforts toward a sanitary environment; the control of community infection; the education of the individual in principles of personal hygiene; the organization of medical and nursing service for the early diagnosis and treatment of disease; and the development of the social machinery to ensure to every individual in the community a standard of living adequate for the maintenance of health.” (C.E.A. Winslow). It is because of public health that we understand that unclean water can carry bacteria that cause disease, that second-hand smoke can be deadly, and that seat belts can save lives.

The goal of this seminar will be to examine how public health disciplines may approach understanding connection between environment, culture, behavior or nature and the health of communities and individuals. Specific topics will be proposed by the participating fellows and might include: when does something become a public health concern (examples might include violence or obesity); what are the links between earth sciences and health (examples might include health hazards associated with the use of toxic metals in the semiconductor industry of the upper Hudson River dredging debate – are there parallels with the Delaware); what are the range of approaches to prevention (examples might include preventing substance abuse, cancer or flu epidemics).

As a seminar leader and member of TIP’s University Advisory Council, Prof. Sonnad was dedicated to the program mission and played an important role in our founding. She passed away unexpectedly in 2015.

Unit TitleAuthor


Alcohol: Friend or Foe of Teenage Pregnancy

Wendy J. Hafford
Keywords: alcohol, Health, teen pregnancy

Eat, Read and Move

David H. Adams

HIV/AIDS: A Touch of Reality for Young Adults

Sherin Philip

Living Healthy and Practicing Prevention: Immunization

Nancy Baulis

Youth Giving Voice to the Obesity Epidemic: A Need That Rises Out of Food Consumption

Rosa Dubisette

Obesity in the Middle School: An Active Plan

Megan Wapner

Pathways To A Healthy Life

Karen L. Brinkley
Keywords: eating, Health, healthy, nutrition

You Are What You Eat

Klair McGlynn
Keywords: diet, Food, food pyramid, Health, Health literacy, healthy, nutrition

Teenage Obesity and the Problems it Presents for High School Students

Deborah H. Smithey
Keywords: Biology, blood sugar, carbohydrates, diabetes, Health, heart disease, Science, self esteem, stroke