Orientation to Public Health

Orientation to Public Health is a web-based course that provides learners with a basic understanding of the mission and functions of public health. Designed to orient newly hired support and technical staff to the field, the course consists of two parts:

  • Part One introduces the mission and six obligations of public health.
  • Part Two explains the ten essential services.

The course uses the metaphor of a new worker orientation (computer-based) to present information. By reading e-mails, completing assigned tasks, and participating in simulated desktop conferences, the learner discovers that public health is very much a part of everyday life, and learns how many different agencies work to carry out its mission.

Newly registered learners login to find a virtual “desktop” they will use to navigate through the course. Sections called “Inbox,” “Documents,” “Tasks,” and “Conferencing” provide access to content. Course components are generated dynamically in response to the learner’s progress.

As each new area is explored and tasks completed, more material is revealed. Once learners have entered the course, a “task list” appears on their desktop. This serves as a progress indicator, helping those who logout out and return at a later time to remember work they still need to complete.

As learners work through assigned tasks, they receive feedback alerts regarding how well they have understood the material presented. Upon finishing the course, they may print out a certificate of completion.

*This course was launched in February 2003. It was reviewed in August, 2015 to assess its relevance to the current public health workforce and evaluate its continued listing on the Region 2 PHTC website. The review process was based on a subset of recognized standards. In order to keep the course up-to-date,  along with identifying further resources to help learners achieve the objectives of the course.

Click on the appropriate button to begin.

I do not work for a State or Local Health Department in NYS.


I do work for a State or a Local Health Department in NYS.

If you are employed by NYS or a local health department in NYS, we recommend that you register for this course through the NYS Department of Health Learning Management System (DOH LMS).

Further Resources:

  • Association of Schools and Programs in Public Health, “What is Public Health?” here
  • APHA’s “What is Public Health?” here
  • Public Health Foundation’s Core Competencies Workgroup here
  • CDC’s overview of the 10 Essential Public Health Services here
  • Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s (ODPHP) homepage here