A population's health status and factors determining it are vital to producing health of the citizens therein. The evidence is overwhelming that people in the United States have worse health outcomes than those in other rich nations. Yet this fact is little appreciated in the United States. U.S. public health practice remains rooted in the 20th century with efforts to change personal behaviors, access health care, and ensure satisfactory sanitation outcomes. Professional public health education remains similarly stuck in the last century's paradigms. The population health block of the MPH in Community-Oriented Public Health Practice attempts to orient students to 21st century public health with a focus on creating appropriate structures in societies to make a population healthy. Such an approach is inherently political, which is a challenge in the United States because we tend to view health through an apolitical lens. This chapter explains the population health approach, which requires students to look at other countries to learn about health production. The goal: for people in the United States to not be dead first but to live longer healthier lives.
Keywords: Barker hypothesis, Early life, First thousand days, Health, Inequality, Inequities, Life expectancy, Medical harm, Morbidity, Mortality, Population health, Socioeconomic gradient, U.S. mortality.