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  • Open Access

Public Health Education in India and China:History, Opportunities, and Challenges

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Public Health Reviews201133:BF03391628

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Public health education in China and India has a long history that has been both deeply responsive to the unique needs and medical traditions of each country, and sensitive to global influences. The history of public health education in China reaches back several centuries, with substantial input from American and European organizations during the Republican Era, 1911–1949. In India, centuries-old health care traditions were influenced during the colonial period by the British Empire prior to independence in 1947. Political upheaval in both countries during the 1940s further impacted the public health systems as well as public health education.

The primary goal of this review is to outline public health education in India and Mainland China, with a focus on describing the historical systems and structures that have promoted the development of formalized public health education. We examine current challenges, and analyze opportunities for improvement. Health reforms in China and India need to consider new and modern models for public health education, perhaps in independent faculties of public health, to reinvigorate public health education and strengthen the position of public health in addressing the health challenges of the 21st century.


  • China
  • India
  • public health
  • education
  • capacity building
  • training