Screening in Public Health Practice

Photo of nurse taking blood pressure of patient.

Screening is a critical tool that can save lives, improve health outcomes, and can even help public health practitioners make tough decisions about how to allocate limited resources. In this module, you will learn what screening is, how to select an appropriate screening test and administer it, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of your screening program for your patients.

Suggested pre-requisites

Before you go on with this module we recommend that you become familiar, if you haven’t already, with the material presented in the following courses in this series.

  • What Is Epidemiology in Public Health? 
  • Data Interpretation for Public Health Professionals
  • Study Types in Epidemiology
  • Measuring Risk in Epidemiology.

This course is co-provided by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice (NWCPHP) and Continuing Nursing Education (UWCNE) at the University of Washington.

Target Audience

People working in the field of public health who are not epidemiologists but who would like to increase their familiarity with and understanding of the basic terms and concepts used in epidemiology.

Objectives for Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, you will be better able to:

  • Define screening and describe its role in the work of public health practitioners
  • Use the definition of screening to determine diseases for which it is appropriate to screen and to determine which tests are appropriate to use for screening, based on the various characteristics of a good screening test
  • List and describe important factors to consider when designing and evaluating screening programs
  • Help clients interpret the results of their screening tests through knowledge of the concept of predictive value

Additional Information

Course summary
Maximum credit available: 
  • 1.00 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level

Victoria Holt, RN, MPH, PhD
Faculty, Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, School of Public Health and Community Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle; Faculty, Department of Epidemiology, University of Washington, Seattle

Available Credit

  • 1.00 Contact hours
  • 0.00 Pharmacology hours at the advanced practice level


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