Fundamentals of Public Health


At the end of the curricular unit students will be able to:
a) Know the history of public health in the context of the Western world;
b) Discuss the concept of Health and know reference definitions in Public Health;
c) Identify key health determinants and their implications for action in Public Health;
d) Understand the evolution of the epidemiological profile of health and to interpret the reference models in health: pathogenesis and salutogenesis;
e) Identify effective intervention strategies for reducing health inequalities;
f) Understand the historical evolution of health systems;
g) Identify public policy and the role of citizens in health promotion, in particular the principles and strategies of empowerment of citizens;
h) Look for innovative approaches to Public Health problem solving.

General characterization





Responsible teacher

Adalberto Campos Fernandes, Maria Isabel Guedes Loureiro


Weekly - Available soon

Total - 24

Teaching language



Available soon


  • Davies S.C.; Winpenny, E.; Ball, S.; Fowler, T.; Rubin, J.; Nolte, E. – For debate: a new wave in public health improvement. The Lancet, 2014. Doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(13)62341-7.
  • Kelly, M. et al. - Evidence-based Public Health: A review of the experience of the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) of developing public health guidance in England. Social Science & Medicine. 71 (2010)1056-1062.
  • Loureiro, I.; Miranda, N. – Promover a saúde. Dos fundamentos à acção. Coimbra: 2ª edição. Almedina, 2016.
  • WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. 2008. Closing the gap in a generation: Health equity through action on the social determinants of health. Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization
  • WHO - Health 2020: policy framework and strategy: final draft. [Em linha]. Copenhagen: Regional Office For Europe. World Health Organization, August 2012. [Consult. 9-06-2014]. Disponível em

Teaching method

Lectures and debate about the thematic included in the program.
The evaluation will be about building a portfolio of the curricular unit, representing 80% of the evaluation, being 20 % related to the level of participation of the student during the course.
Building a portfolio will bring to the student the opportunity to review all the issues approached at the sessions, and find a critical perspective as well as an understanding about related new issues requiring to be studied.
Portfolio is simultaneously an evaluation tool and a pedagogical strategy to provide focus in concepts such as health and health determinants. The demonstration of knowledge and understanding of the use of health management, policy intervention at organizational, environmental, population and individual levels or in actual problems, approaches of vulnerable groups, strategies for capacity building in specific contexts (work, schools, cities, communities, and health services), health policies or research will be valued as well as knowledge transfer to a practice, critical ability and the capacity of innovation.

Evaluation method

Available soon

Subject matter


  • Concepts of health and public health and its historical development;
  • Health determinants and their implications in practice;
  • Evolution of the epidemiological profile of health;
  • Health and Society;
  • From pathogenic to salutogenic paradigm;
  • Global Health;
  • Inequalities in health;
  • Health Systems and Health Policies. Historical evolution. The citizen centered healthcare system;
  • Main instruments for assessment and intervention in Public Health. The role of epidemiology and qualitative approaches in health management of populations;
  • Evidence-based Public Health;
  • The European Health Strategy 2020. Health in all policies;
  • Portuguese National Health Plan and Priority Health Programs;
  • National Strategies and Local Strategies for Health. The role of Primary Health Care;
  • The impact on Public Health of Economic and Social Crisis and austerity.