Introduction to Public Health

2 ECTS / Semester / Portuguese

Objectives and competences

Pedagogical objectives:

  • To know the definition and principles of Public Health and the models of health care systems.
  • To know the Health System in Portugal in a historical evolution perspective and current management.
  • To understand the basics of the several strategies for Health promotion and Disease prevention.
  • To know the general policies and to exemplify public health measures taken in our country.
  • To know the several stages of health programming and planning.
  • To understand the relevance of establishing a National Health Plan, and to know the plan in force.

Expected results:
It is expected that students, knowing the functioning of the national health system, as well as the desirable
Synergies in Public Health - with individuals, the community and the authorities - feel prepared to cooperate in community interventions suitably, particularly as regards the promotion of healthy lifestyles.


Teaching Methodologies

This Curricular Unit is only made up of lectures, and it uses essentially the expositive and the demonstrative methods. However, students are challenged repeatedly in order to express their views, share their experiences and make a parallel with the present. They are often commented news published in Public Health.

To encourage the application of the presented concepts, students are asked to draw a hypothetical intervention of health promotion and to share it with colleagues. They are also invited to choose a theme and to develop it in the form of a monograph in order to train the power of argument in the Public Health field.



Public Health – concepts and definitions.
Environment and health

  • Examples of environmental factors with impact on health.
  • The role of Public Health.

Organization of Health services in Portugal

  • Primary health care (Alma Ata Declaration; Ottawa Declaration)
  • Differentiated health care
  • Articulation of both types of health care

Strategies of health promotion and disease prevention

  • Participation/ accountability of the community
  • Health surveillance
  • Education for health

Common areas on intervention in Public Health. Application in the national context.
Planning and programming in health

  • Stages

National Health Plans in Portugal: details of the plan in force


Assistant Professor
Elisabete Pinto graduated in Nutrition Sciences from the University of Porto in 2003 and got her PhD in Public Health at the same University in 2010. She is…