This course will introduce you to participatory approaches to public health. You will learn about the history of participatory health research and why it is essential to solving contemporary public health challenges. The course will help you to understand the social and cultural context of public health, before introducing you to essential concepts for working with communities: knowledge and power. Finally, you will engage with critical analyses of participatory approaches, to help you to determine if and when such strategies are appropriate. Throughout the course you will analyse real-world case studies of community-based health projects, including historical HIV social movements, public health projects with sex workers, and participatory approaches to the COVID-19 pandemic. The course will equip you to practice public health in partnership with local communities. It is followed by a second course, Applying Participatory Approaches in Public Health Settings, which builds upon the theoretical foundations of this introductory course.