University of Pennsylvania Graduate Program in Public Health mph degree Program Course Syllabus – Spring 2011 Title: pubh 597 History of Public Health Course Units: 0 c u. Course Description

Download 45.64 Kb.
Size45.64 Kb.
University of Pennsylvania

Graduate Program in Public Health

MPH Degree Program

Course Syllabus – Spring 2011
Title: PUBH 597 - History of Public Health
Course Units: 1.0 c.u.
Course Description: This masters-level seminar examines the health of human populations and the science of improving it in historical perspective. Special attention is given to the city of Philadelphia as a living laboratory of public health in the past and present. Lectures, readings, and discussions cover various societies’ attempts to respond to and prevent disease since the Enlightenment. Case studies focus on the roots of contemporary public health knowledge and policy in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Topics include responses to epidemics, the Bacteriological Revolution, racial and economic disparities in health, the development of policy infrastructures, and behavioral and environmental health. Periodic field trips will be arranged to public health-related historical sites in Philadelphia and vicinity.
Placement / Room Assignment:

Course Directors: David Barnes, PhD

University of Pennsylvania

Jennifer Ibrahim, PhD, MPH

Temple University

Michael Yudell, PhD, MPH

Drexel University

Pre-requisites: None.
Co-requisites: None.
Course Objectives: Students who complete the course will gain practical knowledge in several important areas of public health practice. The objectives of this course are:

  1. To introduce students to the methods, uses, and application of history to public health practice.

  2. To familiarize students with the key themes and debates in the history of public health, especially in the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

  3. To foster a critical appreciation of the historical roots of contemporary issues in public health policy.

  4. To provide students with training in the use of primary sources and qualitative skills in using historical case studies to illuminate contemporary public health challenges.

Teaching Methods: The course will meet for five full-day sessions over the course of five weeks as well as a virtual introductory session which will be available online. The in-person class sessions will meet from 9am-3pm. Several field trips during class sessions are also required, so be sure to pay special attention to the syllabus to know where the class is meeting that day.
Course Requirements:

  • attendance at all class meetings and participation in all discussions

  • completion of assigned readings prior to the class for which they are assigned

  • attendance at occasional field trips and presentations to be arranged during class time

  • Please submit all assignments electronically

  • two short papers (a book review and a newspaper op-ed piece)

  • Book Reviewdue no later than Friday, April 15th

Please write an academic book review (we will describe in detail what this means) 4-5 pages in length on one of the following books:

      • James Jones, Bad Blood: The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

      • Keith Wailoo, Dying in the City of Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health

      • Conevery Valencius, The Health of the Country

      • Howard Markel, Quarantine!

      • William Coleman, Death as a Social Disease

      • Eric Klinenberg, Heat Wave: A Social Autopsy of a Disaster in Chicago

      • Laurel Ulrich, A Midwives Tale

  • Op-Ed Essay (750 words) - due no later than Friday, April 22nd

This assignment will be in the format of an op-ed newspaper essay. The topic will be to make a recommendation to the Obama administration on public health priorities drawing from the history studied in this course.

  • Final Group Projectdue no later than Monday, May 1st

This assignment will ask small groups to develop a proposal for restoration and commemoration of an important site in the history of public health in Philadelphia or the Delaware Valley
Academic Integrity: Students are expected to adhere to the University’s Code of Academic Integrity. Care should be taken to avoid academic integrity violations, including: plagiarism, fabrication of information, and multiple submissions. Students who engage in any of these actions will be referred to the Office of Academic Integrity, which investigates and decides on sanctions in cases of academic dishonesty.
See link for more information:
MPH Academic Standing Policy/Academic Probation: According to University policy, a graduate student must maintain a ‘B’ average or better to be considered in good academic standing. A student who does not meet the University policy of a ‘B’ /3.0 average will be reviewed by the MPH Program Director, the Associate Director and the Academic Progressions Committee. A student may be put on academic probation for a period of 1 semester to improve his/her overall average may be put on academic probation for a period of 1 semester to improve his/her overall average.

Any course in which the student receives a grade below a B- will not be applied toward the Master of Public Health degree. The record of any student who receives an unsatisfactory grade (less than a ‘B-‘) in a course or who does not meet the University policy of a ‘B’ /3.0 average will be reviewed by the MPH Program Director, the Associate Director and the Academic Progressions Committee. A student may be put on academic probation for a period of 1 semester to improve his/her overall average

Students may continue to take other courses during the probation period and the student must make arrangements with the course director to remediate any grades lower than a B-. These arrangements must be approved by the MPH Program Director with input from the Academic Progressions Committee as needed. Any student who is on academic probation for a period greater than 1 semester will be referred to the Academic Progressions Committee for review and recommendation. This committee is authorized to dismiss the student or allow the student to remain in the program on a probationary basis. A return to good academic standing is contingent on receiving an acceptable grade (B or higher) in all remaining courses.
The MPH grading policy is at the discretion of the individual course instructors. 
Please find below the generally used grading scale for the MPH Program.

A+     97-100 B+     87-89 C+     77-79          

A       93-96 B       83-86 C       73-76          

A-      90-92 B-      80-82 C-      70-72 F       0-69

Please note that an A+ carries the same weight (4.0) as an A.
Incomplete Grade: It is expected that a matriculated Master of Public Health student shall complete the work of a course during the semester in which that course is taken. A student who fails to complete a course within the prescribed period shall receive at the instructor’s discretion either a grade of I (incomplete) or F (failure). If the incomplete is given, the instructor may permit an extension of time up to one year for the completion of the course. In such cases, any course which is still incomplete after one calendar year from its official ending must remain as incomplete on the student’s record and shall not be credited toward the MPH degree. Students who receive two or more incompletes within a semester may not register for the subsequent semester(s) without the permission of the Department.
For additional information on academic policies, please refer to the corresponding sections in the Student Handbook.

Course Outline / Assignments:



Class Topics




Online Virtual Meeting
Calamity and Response

  • What is Public Health?

  • Why Study the History of Public Health?

  • Yellow Fever Epidemic in Philadelphia

  • Quarantine and Prevention in the Nineteenth Century

  • Virginia Berridge. “History in Public Health: Who Needs It?” The Lancet 356 (2000): 1923-1925.

  • Gabriel Scally and Justin Womack. “The Importance of the Past in Public Health,” Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health (2004) 58:751-755.

  • Charles Rosenberg, Explaining Epidemics, pp. 9-31, 293-318.

  • J.H. Powell, Bring Out Your Dead: The Great Plague of Yellow Fever in Philadelphia in 1793 (all)

  • "Politics, Parties, and Pestilence: Epidemic Yellow Fever in Philadelphia and the Rise of the First Party System," Sickness and Health in America, 2d ed. (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985), edited by Judith Leavitt and Ronald Numbers, pp. 356-371.


  • Charles Rosenberg, “Anticipated Consequences: Historians, History, and Health Policy,” in History & Health Policy in the United States: Putting the Past Back In (New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University Press, 2006) pp.13-31.



At the American Philosophical Society

105 South 5th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106-3386
Reformers, Experts, and Scientists in the Nineteenth Century


  • Cholera and Other Epidemics

  • The Early Public Health Movement

  • Sanitary Reforms

  • The Bacteriological Revolution

Field Trip: Yellow Fever Walking Tour of Old City

  • Public Health: The Development of a Discipline, vol. 1, pp. 170-185, 534-565

  • J.H. Warner and J. Tighe, eds., Major Problems in the History of American Medicine and Public Health, pp. 161-164, 178-180, 213-215

  • Christopher Hamlin, "Could You Starve to Death in England in 1839?" American Journal of Public Health 85: 856-866 (1995)

  • Charles Rosenberg, The Cholera Years, pp. 1-39, 101-150, 192-212, 226-234

  • David Barnes, “Historical Perspectives on the Etiology of Tuberculosis,” Microbes and Infection 2 (2000): 431-440.

  • Judith Walzer Leavitt, “’Typhoid Mary’ Strikes Back: Bacteriological Theory and Practice in 20th-Century Public Health,” Isis 83 (1992): 608-629.

  • Samuel Roberts. “’Where Our Melanotic Citizens Predominate:’ Locating African Americans and Finding the ‘Lung Block’ in Tuberculosis Research in Baltimore, Maryland, 1880-1920,” Forecast 9:89-112.

  • Nancy Tomes, The Gospel of Germs: Men, Women, the Microbe in American Life (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1998), pp.157-236.


  • Public Health: The Development of a Discipline, vol. 1, pp. 128-142, 145-165, 193-204

  • William Coleman, Death Is a Social Disease, Introduction, chapters 6, 8, 10

  • Rudolf Virchow, Collected Essays on Public Health and Epidemiology, vol. 1, pp. 14-16

  • William Coleman, “Epidemiological Method in the 1860s: Yellow Fever at Saint-Nazaire,” Bulletin of the History of Medicine



At the Fairmount Waterworks

640 Waterworks Drive, Philadelphia Pennsylvania 19130
Confronting Infectious Disease in the Industrializing City

  • The McKeown Thesis

  • Vaccination

  • Public health ethics

  • Gretchan Condran and Rose Cheney, “Mortality Trends in Philadelphia,” Demography. 19(1982) 97-123.

  • Amy Fairchild and Gerald Oppenheimer, “Public Health Nihilism versus Pragmatism: History, Politics, and the Control of Tuberculosis,” American Journal of Public Health. (1998) 88:1105-1117.

  • James Colgrove. “The McKeown Thesis: A Historical Controversy and Its Enduring Influence,” (2002) AJPH 92:725-9.

  • Nadja Durbach, "'They Might as Well Brand Us': Working-Class Resistance to Compulsory Vaccination in Victorian England," Soc History of Med 13: 45-62 (2000)

  • Jeffrey Baker, “Mercury, Vaccines, and Autism: One Controversy, Three Histories,” AJPH 98(2008) pp.244-253.

  • Yudell, M. “Public Health Ethics: An Update From an Emerging Field,”Penn Guide to Bioethics (2009);

  • Thomas, et al., “A Code of Ethics for Public Health,” AJPH 92 (2002) 1057-1059


  • Thomas McKeown, The Role of Medicine: Dream, Mirage, or Nemesis? pp. TBA

  • Alan Kraut, Goldberger’s War, Introduction, chapters 4-8, Epilogue.

  • James Colgrove, State of Immunity: The Politics of Vaccination in Twentieth Century America (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2006 (Intro, Chs. 1 and 2).



At the Lazaretto

99 Wanamaker Avenue, Essington, PA 19029
Immigration, Mobility, and Pandemics


  • Race, Inequality, and Health

  • Influenza Pandemics Then and Now

Guest Lecture: Dr. Scott Knowles

  • W.E.B. Dubois, “Race Traits and Tendencies of the American Negro,” Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science (1897) 9:127-133.

  • Vanessa Northington Gamble, “Under the Shadow of Tuskegee: African Americans and Health Care,” American Journal of Public Health. 87(November 1997) 1773-1787.

  • Mindy Fullilove, “Abandoning ‘Race’ as a Variable in Public Health Research: An Idea Whose Time Has Come,” American Journal of Public Health. (Sept. 1998) 1297-98.

  • Alan H. Goodman, “Why Genes Don’t Count (for Racial Differences in Health),” American Journal of Public Health, (2000) 1699-1702.

  • Edwin Black. War Against the Weak: Eugenics and America’s Campaign to Create a Master Race. (New York: Four Walls Eight Windows, 2003) pp.159-182.

  • C. Hardy, “The Watering of Philadelphia,” Pennsylvania Heritage 30 (Spr 2004) p.27-35.

  • Stanley Schultz and Clay McShane, “To Engineer the Metropolis: Sewers, Sanitation, and City Planning in Late 19th Century America,” The Journal of American History 65(1978) 398-411.

  • Alfred W. Crosby, “America’s Forgotten Pandemic: The Influenza of 1918,” (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2003) pp.17-44, 70-90, 311-328.

  • Howard Markel et al., “Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions Implemented by 43 U.S. Cities during the 1918-1919 Influenza Pandemic,” Journal of the American Medical Association 298(2007): 644-654.

Recommended Readings

  • Richard Doll and A. Bradford Hill, “A Study in the Aetiology of Carcinoma of the Lung,” British Medical Journal. 2(December 13, 1952) 1271-1281.

  • William B. Kannel, "Fifty Years of Framingham Study Contributions to Understanding Hypertension," Journal of Human Hypertension 14 (2000): 83-90.

  • Mervyn Susser, “Epidemiology in the United States After World War II: The Evolution of Technique,” Epidemiologic Reviews, 7(1985)147-177.

  • Robert Aronowitz, Making Sense of Illness, pp. 1-18, 111-144 Jacobson v. Massachusetts (U.S. Supreme Court)



Location TBA
Inequality and Health Disparities

  • Visual Epidemiology

  • Legionnaires’ Disease

  • Tobacco, Obesity and “Emerging Diseases”

  • Intellectual and Political Foundations of Public Health Today

(Guest lectures from Dr. Carolyn Cannuscio and Dr. Robert Sharrar)

  • David W. Fraser, “The Challenges Were Legion,” Lancet Infectious Disease 5(2005) 237-41.

  • David M. Morens, Gregory K. Folkers, and Anthony S. Fauci. July 8, 2004. The Challenge of Emerging and Re-Emerging Infectious Diseases. Nature, 430: 242-249.

  • Bruce G. Link and Jo Phelan. 1995. Social Conditions as Fundamental Causes of Disease. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 35 (Extra Issue):80-94

  • Allan M. Brandt, The Cigarette Century, Introduction, chapters 1-6, Epilogue

  • Bayer and Colgrove, Science, Politics, and Ideology in the Campaign Against Environmental Tobacco Smoke. American Journal of Public Health. 92(2002) 949-954.

Recommended Readings:

  • Randall M. Packard et al., eds., Emerging Illnesses and Society: Negotiating the Public Health Agenda, Ch 1, 4, 13, 14

  • Public Health: The Development of a Discipline, vol. 1, pp. 589-596

  • Charles E. Rosenberg, Pathologies of Progress: The Idea of Civilization as Risk. Bulletin of the History of Medicine 72(1998) pp.714-730.

  • Walzer Leavitt and Ronald Numbers, Sickness and Health in America: Readings in the History of Medicine and Public Health eds. (Madison, University of Wisconsin Press, 1997) pp.426-434.


4/29, 4/30, 5/1

At the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel, 2nd & Walnut Streets
American Association for the History of Medicine Annual Meeting:

  • Sign up in advance to attend four of the conference sessions designated as relating to the history of public health.

  • Write a brief response paper synthesizing findings or insights from the sessions.

Download 45.64 Kb.

Share with your friends:

The database is protected by copyright © 2022
send message

    Main page