Courses

The course descriptions below are correct to the best of our knowledge as of April 2016. Instructors reserve the right to update and/or otherwise alter course descriptions as necessary after publication. The listing of a course description here does not guarantee a course’s being offered in a particular semester. The Course Rotation Guide lists the expected semester a course will be taught. Please refer to the published schedule of classes for confirmation a class is actually being taught and for specific course meeting dates and times. In addition to the courses listed in the Bulletin and courses approved after April 1, SPH degree candidates may register for a directed (independent) study with a full-time SPH faculty member. For more information, speak with your faculty advisor or a staff member in the SPH Registrar’s office.

Applied Research Methods for Social Determinants of Health

SPH SB 740 (4 credits)

This course is an investigation into the conceptualization, operationalization, measurement, assessment, analysis, and evaluation of socially and culturally-based determinants of public health problems for the purpose of conducting public health research and developing public health interventions. More specifically, students will critically evaluate existing research evidence, develop an understanding of the constructs, variables, hypotheses and conceptual models for various social factors that influence health; review and evaluate the measurements of selected social factors; interpret the impact of these factors on public health outcomes, and offer solutions in the form of interventions that develop protective strategies that would minimize negative effects of social factors. Students will be able to apply this understanding of social behavioral and cultural factors to both domestic and international settings by the use of specific case studies.

Preventing Intimate Partner Violence

SPH SB 750 (4 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the topic of intimate partner violence with a focus on how public health practitioners can contribute to its prevention. Lectures will cover teen dating violence, child witnesses to violence, batterer intervention, the domestic violence shelter movement, elder abuse, the intersectionality of oppressions framework and partner violence prevention, and the overlap between child abuse and partner violence. Students will receive information about current laws and controversies related to partner violence prevention. This course is primarily focused on partner violence in the U.S. Students who complete the course will be prepared to undertake research assistant, health department, or community-based work in the area of partner violence prevention and advocacy. Teaching methods include lectures, small group discussion, case analyses, the use of multimedia, and interviews with providers. National and state experts in the field of partner violence prevention present guest lectures.

2018SPRGSPHSB750 A1, Jan 22nd to May 7th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
W 6:00 pm 8:50 pm

Sexual Violence: Public Health Perspectives in Intervention and Prevention

SPH SB 751 (4 credits)

This course provides an introduction to the topic of sexual violence with a focus on how public health practitioners can contribute to its prevention. Students will have the opportunity to interact with a victim of sexual violence, learn about approaches to sex offender treatment, and receive information about current laws and controversies related to sexual violence prevention. This course is primarily focused on sexual violence in the U.S., although one or two lectures on topics such as women trafficking and sexual violence as a weapon of war may be presented. Students who complete the course will be prepared to undertake research assistant, health department, or community-based work in the area of sexual violence prevention and advocacy. Teaching methods include lectures, small group discussion, case analyses, the use of multimedia, and interviews with providers. National and state experts in the field of sexual violence prevention present guest lectures. NOTE: Students with an interest in this course need to consider their own capacity to focus intensively on the difficult subtopics that will be covered in detail, including child sexual abuse.

Sexually Explicit Media and Public Health Methods

SPH SB 752 (4 credits)

This course will review the history of sexually explicit materials and how these materials impact individuals and societies. Particular attention will be paid to policies aimed at regulating pornography production, dissemination and consumption. As public health professionals, we must understand clearly "what counts" as pornography, who makes, distributes and consumes it, for what reasons, and which health outcomes (either positive or negative) may be associated with its production or use. This class is not rooted in either a "pro-pornography" or "anti-pornography" perspective. The object of study has been analyzed by feminists and non-feminists, academics and sex workers, politicians and psychologists. Some argue that pornography is an opportunity for subversion, resistance, self-discovery, self-expression and the exercise of freedom. Others argue that it degrades interpersonal relationships, distorts information about sexuality and sexual health, contributes to serious international problems such as human trafficking, and normalizes oppression. Each viewpoint has adherents and detractors; our job as scholars is to sift through each argument and attempt to arrive at the most logical position for public health professionals to adopt. Important Information: Although this is a course about pornography, students will not be required to view any sexually explicit materials in order to participate fully in this course. (NB: Just as a course on tobacco control does not necessitate that students try smoking cigarettes). To be specific, no "hardcore" video or photograph pornography will be shown in class or assigned as homework.

Health of LGBT Populations

SPH SB 760 (4 credits)

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals live in every county of the United States and are recognized as underserved minority populations. In this 4-credit course students will examine the health of minority populations who are marginalized due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. You will identify and practice techniques for measuring LGBT populations as well as ways to better recognize the assets that are found within these communities. Today, data on these populations are increasingly collected in the context of public health surveillance and also some health care facilities have begun recording these data in medical records, yet access to these data is still mostly restricted. While recognizing the limitations of available data sources, you will make use of publicly available data to characterize quantitatively and qualitatively the diversity of LGBT populations. Course readings, class lectures, and exercises will be used throughout the course to analyze and discuss the micro and macro determinants of LGBT populations' health. You will build skills by utilizing secondary data, performing a content analysis, conducting a key informant interview, and by producing a final paper, which analyzes the literature on a LGBT health topic of their choice for the purpose of proposing next steps in research or program development for the LGBT community.

Mental Health and Public Health: A Social and Behavioral Sciences Perspective

SPH SB 780 (4 credits)

This course provides an investigation into mental health and mental illness from a public health perspective. It covers the concepts of mental illness versus mental health, describes the burden of mental illness, and discusses the etiology, diagnosis, course and treatment of prominent mental illnesses (such as schizophrenia, depression,post traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, and addiction). In addition, specific examples and cases will address international mental health, as well as domestic racial and ethnic disparities. Taking a social and behavioral sciences perspective, the social consequences of mental illness, such as stigma, isolation, and barriers to care will be explored and their impact on access to care, rehabilitation and recovery considered. Students will also be introduced to the complex interplay of multiple risk, protective and preventive factors with a focus on social factors. The effectiveness of the current system of services and the role of public health and public health professionals will be discussed. Student assignments and projects will develop skills that apply knowledge to understand issues of mental illness and encourage behaviors that promote mental health within communities.

2018SPRGSPHSB780 A1, Jan 19th to May 4th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
T 6:00 pm 8:50 pm

Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Use: People, Populations and Policies

SPH SB 785 (4 credits)

Alcohol, tobacco and other drug (ATOD) use is the leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Because virtually everyone has some experience with ATOD use themselves or in others, much about this topic is thought to be common knowledge, but in this course students will be surprised at the depth of scientific knowledge known that is not widely understood, in part evidenced by common policies and approaches that are not evidence-based. This course asks students to critically examine current ATOD research, intervention and prevention practice, and policy with the goal of acquiring skills with which to improve strategies to reduce ATOD-related consequences, illness and injury. Specifically, students will become well-versed in models for understanding ATOD use; gain knowledge in ATOD use across multiple populations and throughout the lifespan; understand contemporary public health debates regarding ATOD research and prevention strategies; learn how to address the deficiencies in current public health approaches to ATOD use; and be able to apply knowledge to emerging public health problems.

2018SPRGSPHSB785 A1, Jan 23rd to May 8th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
T 2:00 pm 4:50 pm

Obesity and Society

SPH SB 800 (4 credits)

This course explores environmental and policy approaches to promote physical activity and healthy eating, two behaviors strongly associated with obesity prevention. Students will gain knowledge in this topic by examining the literature and relevant strategies. Upon completion,students will be able to develop strategies to promote population wide physical activity and healthy eating.

2017FALLSPHSB800 A1, Sep 7th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 2:00 pm 4:50 pm CTC 460

Communications Strategies for Public Health

SPH SB 806 (4 credits)

This core course focuses on the development and execution of a planned communications strategy for a public health organization that is responsible for a community-based intervention. The course also features a review of basic theory and research that can inform the health communications process. SB806 uses practice-based learning to teach course competencies and skills. Specifically, students will are assigned a public health problem faced by a public health agency, and consult with the public health agency throughout the semester. Working through a sequence of written assignments, students conduct a literature review to inform an evidence-based and innovative intervention plan, and then prepare several materials to execute a communications strategy in support of the intervention. Communication pieces may include, but are not limited to: press release, letter to the editor, pitch letter with infographic, editorial, social media, video, and press event. Writing workshops in class, skill-based exercises, and consultations with the public health agency and instructor are designed to give students ideas for their projects, interim feedback on their written assignments, and tools necessary to successfully develop and present a product that can be implemented by the public health agency. Students present their final project to the class and public health agency partner.

2017FALLSPHSB806 A1, Sep 7th to Dec 7th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 10:00 am 12:50 pm CTC 460
2018SPRGSPHSB806 A1, Jan 18th to May 3rd 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 2:00 pm 4:50 pm

Merging Clinical & Population-Based Perspectives in Public Health Practice: Tension & Resolution

SPH SB 808 (4 credits)

Clinicians and public health professionals rarely share common definitions of health or illness, and they often have competing interests, conflicting agendas, and different strategic approaches to health care problems. This course explores contradictions and tensions between two perspectives that limit the effectiveness of both personal medical care and public health activities. The course features interactive discussions and readings that address both the public health and medical/clinical responses to public health challenges: the Opioid Overdose Epidemic, Community Violence, Humanitarian Disasters and Mass Casualties, Injury prevention/Falls, point of care Emergency Department education and testing for HIV and HCV, and immigrant and refugee health and the role of interpreter services. Students observe population-based programs within an emergency department setting and explore the policy implications of collaborative, integrated models.

Web-based Health Communication Strategies for Public Health Interventions

SPH SB 813 (4 credits)

This course covers key health communication principles for designing and critiquing digital health behavior change interventions. Students work in small groups to conduct formative research to plan a public health intervention website and prototype. Key deliverables include a comprehensive strategy document, a website diagram, a website prototype and usability testing results. Course topics include defining an audience, setting clear objectives, applying health behavior theory concepts, competitor analysis, using story as a health communication strategy, designing for accessibility, conducting usability testing, and working with practical user-centered design approaches (such as affinity diagramming and user personas). Although the emphasis is on the intervention planning process and not technology, a series of hands-on computer labs introduce students to basic online content creation tools and provide instruction and support for creating a simple website prototype. No technical background is necessary.

2017FALLSPHSB813 A1, Sep 5th to Dec 12th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
T 2:00 pm 4:50 pm INS 211

Qualitative Research Methods

SPH SB 818 (4 credits)

This course is designed to provide students with experience in the use and application of qualitative research methods for public health activities including needs assessments, research studies, intervention strategies, and program evaluations. Students are introduced to the quantitative versus qualitative data debate in social science research. Emphasis is placed on the practice of qualitative research and each student participates in the design and conduct of a project. Throughout the semester students' field proposals, problems, process, and progress are discussed as are methodological issues including objectivity, sampling, theoretical perspectives, data collection, ethics, and data analysis. Due to the intensive nature of the class, it is not suitable for auditors.

2017FALLSPHSB818 A1, Sep 11th to Dec 18th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
M 10:00 am 12:50 pm CTC 462
2018SPRGSPHSB818 A1, Jan 22nd to May 7th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 6:00 pm 8:50 pm

Assessment and Planning for Health Promotion

SPH SB 820 (4 credits)

This course will introduce students to neighborhoods of Boston and provide opportunities for acquiring and practicing community assessment skills. We address the fundamental question: How do public health scientists and practitioners demonstrate that a health problem in a community warrants intervention? Students will learn to consult the literature, large data sets (such as the U.S. Census, hospitalization data, vital records, and national survey data) and geographic/mapping data, as well as conduct key informant interviews and site visits to assess health promotion needs and assets of a specific neighborhood and groups. The course will culminate in the production of a community needs assessment report integrating the various sources of data gathered over the course of the semester.

2017FALLSPHSB820 A1, Sep 5th to Dec 19th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
T 6:00 pm 8:50 pm CTC 462xA
2018SPRGSPHSB820 A1, Jan 18th to May 3rd 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 6:00 pm 8:50 pm
2018SPRGSPHSB820 B1, Jan 19th to May 4th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
F 10:00 am 12:50 pm

Intervention Strategies for Health Promotion

SPH SB 821 (4 credits)

This course focuses on strategic planning for public health practice. Social science and maternal and child health approaches are included. Working through a sequence of written assignments, students develop a strategic plan for a program intervention designed to change health behavior or a health outcome. Work in class and during individual consultations is designed to give students practice with elements of the strategic planning process, ideas for their project, and interim feedback on their written assignments.

2017FALLSPHSB821 A1, Sep 7th to Dec 14th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 1:00 pm 3:50 pm CTC 462
2018SPRGSPHSB821 A1, Jan 23rd to May 8th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
T 10:00 am 12:50 pm
2018SPRGSPHSB821 B1, Jan 24th to May 2nd 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
W 6:00 pm 8:50 pm

Quantitative Methods for Program Evaluation

SPH SB 822 (4 credits)

This course provides an overview of the major principles and methods associated with systematic evaluation of public health programs. The overall goal is to help students develop skills needed to plan, conduct, critique, and use evaluation research. The course covers: program logic models; formative, process and outcome evaluations; internal, external, validity; threats to internal validity; experimental and quasi-experimental designs; probability and non-probability sampling; questionnaire development; operationalization of variables; statistical analysis strategies; power analysis; and analysis of evaluation design.

2017FALLSPHSB822 A1, Sep 5th to Dec 19th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
T 2:00 pm 4:50 pm CTC 462A
2017FALLSPHSB822 B1, Sep 7th to Dec 14th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 6:00 pm 8:50 pm CTC 460
2018SPRGSPHSB822 A1, Jan 18th to May 3rd 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
R 6:00 pm 8:50 pm

Trauma, Trauma-Informed Care, Recovery & Resilience

SPH SB 832 (4 credits)

This course will provide students the opportunity to understand trauma as a public health issue from interpersonal- and disaster-based perspectives. Students will strengthen their skills through critical analysis of published research on trauma, trauma-informed approaches, treatment, recovery and resilience-building. Students will apply their skills to create a strategic plan for a topic of their own choosing related to trauma-informed approaches or resilience-building, or develop a strategic plan that incorporates trauma-informed approaches and resilience-building for an established program/intervention/initiative through collaboration with community partners.

2017FALLSPHSB832 A1, Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
W 10:00 am 12:50 pm CTC 460A

Designing and Implementing a Public Health Communication Campaign

SPH SB 833 (4 credits)

What does it take to design a health communication campaign? Who is involved? What works? How do you produce an effective public health video? These are just a few of the questions that will be addressed by students of SB833. Students will work in teams for real non-profit organizations and produce a video that meets the communication needs of that client. They will learn about communication strategic planning and thinking as well as the steps towards producing an effective video. The final product is a finished video and an accompanying narrative report.

Strategies for Public Health Advocacy

SPH SB 860 (4 credits)

This course is for advanced MPH students. It will explore the role public health practitioners can play in advocating for programs and policies to improve the public's health that have been demonstrated to be effective through peer reviewed scientific research. Students will analyze the process of advocating for policy and program change based on scientific evidence at the city, state and federal level through the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government.

2017FALLSPHSB860 A1, Sep 6th to Dec 6th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
W 6:00 pm 8:50 pm CTC 462A

Culminating Experience in Social and Behavioral Sciences

SPH SB 940 (0 credits)

All Social & Behavioral Sciences concentrators must complete an integrative professional electronic portfolio as their Culminating Experience. The electronic portfolio will frame individual students' expertise, focus, experience, and skills in public health and help them to market themselves for employment as public health practitioners. Within the electronic portfolio, students will reflect upon their studies and synthesize materials from a range of courses. In integrating their knowledge, students will develop a plan of lifelong learning that reflects areas in which to bridge a knowledge gap or focus in greater depth. To document their work on the culminating experience, concentrators must register for SPH SB940, a zero-credit, pass/fail course. For more details on the requirements for the culminating experience, please see the Concentrator Guide.

2017FALLSPHSB940 A1, Sep 5th to Dec 19th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD
2018SPRGSPHSB940 A1, Jan 8th to May 7th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD

Culminating Experience in Social and Behavioral Sciences II

SPH SB 941 (0 credits)

All Social & Behavioral Sciences concentrators must complete an integrative professional electronic portfolio as their Culminating Experience. The electronic portfolio will frame individual students' expertise, focus, experience, and skills in public health and help them to market themselves for employment as public health practitioners. To document their work on the culminating experience, concentrators must register for SPH SB940, a zero-credit, pass/fail course. Should they not finish the portolio in the semester in which they registered for SB940, students must register for SB941 and complete their work. For more details on the requirements for the culminating experience, please see the Concentrator Guide.

2017FALLSPHSB941 A1, Sep 5th to Dec 19th 2017
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD
2018SPRGSPHSB941 A1, Jan 8th to May 7th 2018
Days Start End Type Bldg Room
ARR TBD TBD