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Introduction to Food Systems and Public Health

1st Term
Environmental Health and Engineering
Academic Year
2024 - 2025
Instruction Method
Asynchronous Online with Some Synchronous Online
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year

Introduction to Online Learning

This course provides a foundational understanding of the many complex challenges inherent in food systems and why improving our food systems is critical to achieving a healthier, equitable and more sustainable future. This course sets the stage for additional courses in the MPH concentration in Food Systems and the Certificate in Food Systems, the Environment and Public Health.
Introduces the complex interactions among diet, food production, ecosystems, public health, and equity. Explores the challenge of nourishing a growing world population against a backdrop of resource scarcity, climate change and increasing global demand for animal protein. Considers key historical, economic, and political forces that shape modern food systems. Discussions and assignments challenge students to apply a systems lens to current food system issues and critically evaluate interventions to influence policy, value chains and dietary demand. Guest speakers include experts from a variety of disciplines and perspectives.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Define the concepts of food systems, food security, sustainability and resilience, and how each relates to public health
  2. Describe how diet, food production, and our environment interact to impact each other and ultimately, human health
  3. Characterize political, social, cultural and economic influences on food systems
  4. Identify and evaluate opportunities and challenges to achieving a healthy, equitable and sustainable food system
  5. Use a systems perspective to propose an evidence-based food system intervention
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 35% Quizzes
  • 25% Reflection
  • 0% Discussion
  • 30% Written Assignment(s)
  • 10% Participation