Mission Statement

The mission of the Public Health (formerly Health Education) program at Orange Coast College is: to provide a just, equitable, and inclusive student-centered learning environment that fosters an understanding of the importance and significance of the biological, psychological, sociological, and environmental factors that impact personal health; to deliver courses and learning experiences that lead students to an appreciation of the role public health efforts have in keeping diverse populations healthy; to develop the skills students needed to make positive health behavior choices in their continued development and adoption of a lifestyle that contributes to a high quality of life, supports sustainability, contributes to the health of their local community, and improves global health; to provide transfer and certificate opportunities for students interested in Health Education, Health Science, and Public Health careers.


Public health is the science of protecting and improving the health of people and their communities. This work is achieved by promoting healthy lifestyles, researching disease and injury prevention, and detecting, preventing, and responding to infectious diseases.  Overall, public health is concerned with protecting the health of entire populations. These populations can be as small as a local neighborhood, or as big as an entire country or region of the world.  Public health professionals try to prevent problems from happening or recurring through implementing educational programs, recommending policies, administering services, and conducting research—in contrast to clinical professionals like doctors and nurses, who focus primarily on treating individuals after they become sick or injured. Public health also works to limit health disparities. A large part of public health is promoting healthcare equity, quality, and accessibility. Find out more about "what is public health?"

There are a variety of career options for persons who earn a bachelor's degree in Public Health or Health Science.  These include clinical jobs such as public health nurses and doctors; non-clinical positions concerned about the health of communities such as state or federal environmentalists, public health lawyers, public health veterinarians; and more traditional public health careers such as health educator, community health worker, epidemiologist, HIV Specialist, behavior scientist, or biostatistician.   

Orange Coast College offers two degrees in Public Health, a transfer degree (ADT) and a local degree.  The transfer degree is part of California's Degree with a Guarantee which guarantees entrance to a California State University once courses are completed when students meet other minimum eligibility requirements.  The local associate's degree is aimed at students who know they want to transfer to California State University, Fullerton.  It does not provide the guarantee of the ADT, but does align completely with the requirements of CSUF, reducing the number of courses students will need to take upon transfer.

Sample Courses

  • Personal Health
  • Peer Health Education 
  • Introduction to Public Health
  • Drugs, Health, and Society
  • Health and Social Justice
  • Navigating U.S. Health Care System, Health Ins., Public Assistance, & Benefits Programs
  • Techniques and Topics in Health Education

For a complete list of required coursework, please refer to the Course Catalog.

Fast Facts

  • Orange Coast College was the first college in Orange County to offer a transfer degree in Public Health Science
  • Public Health courses provide opportunities for students to collaborate and work with the Student Health Center
  • Peer Health Education provides students with national certification as a Peer Health Educator through the National Association of Student Personnel Administration (NASPA) that can be used to gain employment at four-year institutions. 
  • The Peer Health ACtion Team, or PHAcT, is a student-led health promotion team that develops health promotion activities for the students of OCC
  • Public Health courses such as "Navigating U.S. Health Care System, Health Ins., Public Assistance, & Benefits Programs" and "Techniques and Topics in Health Education" are part of the Integrative Health Coach certificate program.
  • Public Health Science classes are offered both on-line and face-to-face.


Diane Brown, MPH, MPW
Department Chair

Anna Hanlon, MS, MPH, EdD