Published on 14th May 2018 by lauram

population health

Looking for an alternative route to Medicine? You may not have considered studying Population Health, but there are many ways it can benefit you and your future medical career.

This is because Population Health is an emerging discipline at the crossroads of social and medical sciences, demography and economics. Put simply, Population Health refers to the many factors that shape the health of individuals, groups and populations over the life course. These can include healthcare systems, public health interventions, genetics, human biology, plus lifestyle and individual behaviour as well as other influences from the social and physical environments.

Studying population health will provide you with an excellent grounding for professional practice and research careers in the medical and life sciences and beyond.

Here are just three ways in which Population Health will help prepare you for your future medical career…

But why does Population Health matter?

But why does Population Health matter?

1. You might not know it, but population health is a key part of Medicine

Today it seems that everyone involved in healthcare in the UK and beyond is talking about Population Health.

From plans to redesign and shape local health and social care services, to national strategies for sustainability and resource management, healthcare leaders are using the language of Population Health to redefine the aims of their healthcare systems (The Kings Fund, 2017).

Traditionally, the NHS and other healthcare systems globally have adopted a reactive approach to healthcare, limiting the interaction between patients and healthcare providers to the GP or hospital doors.

In contrast, Population Health approaches urge healthcare providers to proactively interact with their patients throughout the life course and enable people to take responsibility for their health and wellbeing, more directly and personally, with the guidance of healthcare providers.

2. You will study something increasingly important to the global healthcare workforce

There have long been calls for Population Health to be included in all medical curricula in the UK and beyond. Healthcare systems are increasingly recognising that in order to bring improvements, there is a need to firstly understand the health needs of its population.

But many conditions are now seen as requiring long-term management, and Population Health competencies, especially as they relate to chronic disease, are becoming of increasing importance to the global healthcare workforce.

There is a global call for medical schools to develop education and training in Population Health in order to meet the challenges facing healthcare systems worldwide, with anticipated workforce needs for existing and emerging professions.

3. Population Health has been hailed ‘The Next Big Thing in Healthcare’

The pursuit of Population Health approaches requires healthcare systems to shift their focus from being solely concerned with individual health ‘events’, and instead concerns itself with the health of whole persons, groups and populations, and all of the biological, social and physical environmental influences that impact on, and determine their health.

Ultimately, Population Health is increasingly recognised as the vanguard of new, innovative healthcare models which aim to:

  • Improve the health and wellbeing of local communities
  • Provide a better experience of care for patients
  • Deliver lower per capita cost for the taxpayer

Where can you study Population Health?

Swansea University Medical School have developed an exciting new BSc called Population Health and Medical Sciences (entry for September 2018).

Swansea University Medical School is a top 5 UK Medical School and also the top Medical School in Wales (Complete University Guide 2019).

Swansea’s BSc in Population Health and Medical Sciences recognises the crossover between Population Health Sciences and Medical Sciences, and the course brings together two spheres of study that have traditionally been separated. In doing so, studying our Population Health and Medical Sciences degree will pave the way for a departure from the traditional conceptual position of being either focused on ‘molecule to man’ or ‘man to molecule’ and will give you a more holistic understanding of human health and wellbeing. You will be able to see the applicability of skills across the spectrum of population health and medical sciences and gain more gain fuller knowledge on disparities and determinants of Health.

What kind of things will you study in Population Health and Medical Sciences?

The programme has been carefully designed to provide you with a sound understanding of the factors that influence Population Health. This will be delivered through:

  • research-led teaching on the social, economic and demographic distribution of health and disease
  • training to use evidence and analyse health information and data concerning outcomes

You will also develop fundamental knowledge, skills and competencies in biomedical sciences, and the ability to apply this knowledge in a range of settings, including medical practice, laboratories, research and enterprise and innovation. The programme also fosters critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are paramount for any career in the global, digital age.

Secure a guaranteed Graduate Entry Medicine interview!

By studying this degree, you will be ideally prepared for further professional and vocational training, such as Graduate Entry Medicine and Physician Associate Studies (or other graduate entry programmes such as NHS Management), education and training, postgraduate study or research.

The BSc Population Health and Medical Sciences programme is also included in the ‘Pathways to Medicine’ programme, which provides students with direct links to Swansea’s Graduate Entry Medicine degree, and the opportunity to secure a guaranteed interview for this programme.


Words: Dr Jodie Croxall (Programme Director BSc Population Health and Medical Sciences) and Dr Kerina Jones (Deputy Programme Director BSc Population Health and Medical Sciences)


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