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.

  • SPH PM 835: Lean Management in Healthcare
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 719 or SPH PH 720 or SPH PH 717; or consent of instructor.
    This course is designed to prepare students to plan and successfully implement lean management driven processes in health care organizations. It teaches lean principles and provides the opportunity to complete a lean managed project. It therefore uses a blended format that includes a week long intensive program for training on lean concepts and tools, followed by a semester long field work on a quality improvement project using lean methodology with online and personal support.
  • SPH PM 837: Evaluating Health Care Quality
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PM 702 or SPH PM 814; or consent of instructor.
    The purpose of this class is to provide a scientific basis to quality measurement. Topics include reliability and validity of measures, implicit versus explicit reviews, provider profiling, and the role of risk-adjustment. The course also covers applications of quality measures in health care today. Examples are drawn from various settings including acute care, long-term care, and ambulatory care. Readings are mostly based on articles in the health services research literature.
  • SPH PM 838: Health Politics and Policy
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PM 702 or SPH PH 719.
    This course is designed to help students understand political dynamics of health policy making at the state level and to develop practical skills required for effective work as policy advocates. Analytic models, case studies, guest speakers, and in-class exercises promote a practical understanding of how ideas succeed, or fail, to become law.
  • SPH PM 840: Analysis of Current Health Policy Issues
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PM 702 or SPH PH 719; AND (SPHPH717 OR SPHEP714)
    The purpose of this course is to arm students with the skills to debate, define, and defend health policy proposals. We will explore, in depth, several current health policy problems. The course will take an analytic case approach, identifying policy options and tools, then gathering information and applying data to evaluate outcomes, costs; winners and losers. Methods for finding and accessing information on the Internet are emphasized. This is a capstone course meant to be taken in the student's last semester.
  • SPH PM 842: Health Economics for Health Services Research
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PM702 or PH719 or PM814, one semester of calculus or consent of instructor
    This course provides an understanding of principles of microeconomics and applied microeconomic analysis of public health policy issues sufficient to comprehend and conduct health services research. The over-arching philosophical issues facing the post health care reform world and the arguments defining the debate between pro-market and government regulatory approaches are addressed. The main focus is on domestic health economics; however, analytic methods developed in the course are applicable to foreign health care systems. Students may not take both PM833 and PM842 for degree credit.
  • SPH PM 844: Health Policy and Policy-making for Public Health Researchers
    Graduate Prerequisites: For doctoral students in the health services research program. Othersonly with instructor approval.
    This doctoral level course will offer students in the Health Services Research program an in-depth look at major health policy debates. Particular attention will be paid to the factors affecting policy making and the role of scholarship in this process. The role of public health in policy debates or the lack thereof will be an ongoing theme throughout the semester. The course begins with a foundation on the policy making process at the federal, state, and local levels. Using these tools, students will examine the history of health reform in America and abroad, including the development and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the challenges and opportunities of payment and delivery reforms, the role of the Veteran's Health Administration, and mental and behavioral health. Students will apply theoretical concepts from the opening weeks to produce multiple types of deliverables about an issue of their choosing, including a blog post translating academic research for a broad policy audience, a literature review intended for researchers or potential funders, a manuscript in the style of a New England Journal of Medicine perspective intended for journalists and anyone participating in policy debates, and legislative testimony intended for policymakers.
  • SPH PM 847: Introduction to Organizational Theory
    Aligning with evidence-based medicine, evidenced-based management advances decision making from the realm of intuition to scientific study and implementation. Historically, however, there has been limited adoption of evidence-based programs without first changing an organization's culture. This suggests a need to both support "active users of evidence," but also to define which "evidence" is best, mindful that whoever controls the definition of "evidence" holds the power to disrupt the system. With this paradox in mind, the structure and behavior of healthcare organizations can have a major impact on the access, quality, safety, and cost of patient care. In this course, we will review and apply the major organization theory perspectives to address health care planning and action at the: (1) macrolevel - the ways that organizations adapt to various market and environmental factors; the (2) mesolevel - the structures and processes occurring at the level of the organization as a whole or within an organization network; and (3) the microlevel - the internal activities and relationships, such as within teams, inside an organization's boundaries. Particular attention is given to the theory of how organizations function in their changing environments, and in developing the student's ability to conduct theory-based research on health care organizations.
  • SPH PM 849: Introduction to Quality Measurement
    The purpose of this class is to provide a scientific basis to quality measurement and evaluation. Topics include conceptual frameworks of quality measurement, reliability and validity of measures, data sources, rating scales, measuring different domains of quality, development of performance and composite measures, provider profiling and ranking, risk-adjustment, and quality measurement in an era of health reform. Topics are explored through readings and journal clubs, lectures, practical data exercises, and case studies. Readings are primarily drawn from the health services research literature.
  • SPH PM 850: Consumer Organizing and Advocacy for Health System Change
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH719
    This course focuses on bringing change to our health system using consumer participation and advocacy. The course emphasizes the practical applications of capacities such as organizing and policy analysis to influence health policy particularly at the institutional, local, and state levels. Using the lens of policy change campaigns, we will learn about the major areas of an effective campaign, such as grassroots organizing, policy analysis, communications and stakeholder engagement. Extensive use of recent case examples ground the class in the current issues faced by community groups and other health interests in a rapidly changing health system. In this course, students will learn to distinguish the interest of consumers from providers, insurers and others groups working in the health care system. They will develop an understanding of the organizations that represent consumer interests and how organizing and advocacy can impact policy development. Students will learn theories of policy change as well as elements of an advocacy strategy and begin to apply those elements to real world political situations.
  • SPH PM 855: Cost Effectiveness Analysis and Decision Analysis
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS703 and PM814. Students may not take PM807 and PM855 for degreecredit.
    This course offers an introduction to the uses and conduct of cost-effectiveness analyses (CEAs) as decision making aids in the health and medical fields. It provides students with an understanding of the roles and limitations of CEAs and criteria for evaluating these studies. Important theoretical and practical issues encountered in measuring costs and effectiveness, evaluating outcomes, discounting, and dealing with uncertainty are discussed. Discussions on framing and reporting of CEAs focus on the purpose of the analysis and the effective communication of its findings. Case studies demonstrate the use of CEAs in the areas of prevention, drug treatment, and new technologies. Students who take PM855 should not enroll in PM807.
  • SPH PM 860: Contemporary Structures of Health Services
    This course is designed to provide an introduction to the objects of inquiry in health services research: the structures of health services that are the sites of organized processes that produce health outcomes. These structures include financial arrangements, e.g., insurance, ambulatory services, hospitals, systems for providing community-based care, and the socially organized relationships between organized services and their clienteles. These structures are examined in light of their constant evoluation in changing social, economic, and political contexts.
  • SPH PM 862: Theory in the Analysis of Health Services
    This course is an introduction to theory to inform analyses of the structures, processes, and outcomes of health services. Theoretical approaches, drawn from the social sciences, are reviewed in elucidating the evolving structures of health services, the providers' practices within organizations, and the relationships between providers and consumers of health care.
  • SPH PM 931: Directed Studies in HPM
    Directed Studies provide the opportunity for students to explore a special topic of interest under the direction of a full-time SPH faculty member. Students may register for a 1, 2, 3, or 4-credit directed study by submitting a paper registration form and a signed directed study proposal form. Directed studies with a non-SPH faculty member or an adjunct faculty member must be approved by and assigned to the department chair. Students are placed in a section by the SPH Registrar's Office according to the faculty member with whom they are working. Students may take no more than eight credits of directed study, directed research, or practica courses during their MPH education.
  • SPH PM 932: Directed Research in HPM
    Directed Research provide the opportunity for students to explore a special topic of interest under the direction of a full-time SPH faculty member. Students may register for 1, 2, 3, or 4 credits. To register, students must submit a paper registration form and signed directed research proposal form. Students are placed in a section by the SPH Registrar's Office according to the faculty member with whom they are working. Students may take no more than eight credits of directed study, directed research, or practica courses during their MPH education.
  • SPH PM 940: Health Policy and Management Culminating Experience
    Graduate Prerequisites: HPM concentrators in their final semester who have completed their Management or Policy & Planning distribution requirement.
    Health Policy and Management concentrators must complete a culminating experience in their final semester of registration. To document their work on the culminating experience, concentrators must register for SPH PM940, a zero-credit, pass/fail course. For more details on the requirements for the culminating experience, please see the Concentrator Guide for the concentration.
  • SPH PM 950: Applied Studies in Health Services Research
    This is an upper-level applied seminar, in which a small group of students is mentored through the completion of one of the most significant steps in the research process: the development of a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Students will analyze existing literature, previously collected data, or available datasets in order to explore a health services research topic and conduct all steps in developing a final manuscript for submission. Through a combination of workshops, written assignments, and oral presentations, students will develop research questions and/or hypotheses, conduct literature reviews, perform data analyses, and draft and edit each section of their manuscripts.
  • SPH PM 951: Applied Studies in Health Services Research 2
    This is a continuation of SPH PM950.
  • SPH PM 980: Continuing Study in Health Services Research
    Graduate Prerequisites: M.S. and Ph.D. students in health services research approved for dissertation or thesis work by program director
    M.S. and Ph.D. students in Health Services Research who have completed all academic course requirements, must register for Continuing Study every Fall and Spring semester until they have successfully defended their thesis or dissertation and graduated from SPH. Students are charged the equivalent of two credits of tuition, student health insurance, and all relevant fees, and are certified as full time students.
  • SPH SB 710: Nutrition and Public Health
    This course examines the principles of public health nutrition and explores the nutritional status of individuals throughout their life cycle. Faculty focus on nutrition assessment, the development of nutrition policy, the role of diet in obesity and chronic diseases of an affluent society, nutrition program planning, and national and local nutrition surveillance. In addition, the course reviews the components of administering nutrition services on a local, national, and international level. The impact of overall socioeconomic development on nutrition and health status, infectious disease, and public health policy is considered. No previous coursework in nutrition is required; a basic introduction to nutrition is provided.
  • SPH SB 730: Stress as a Public Health Problem
    Research on the impact of excessive psychological stress indicates that it plays a significant role in physical and psychological health, in rising incidence of substance use and violence in communities, in increased absenteeism and decreased productivity in the work place, and increased medical costs. This course examines the impact of psychological, biological, environmental and social stressors on health, illness, health-risking behavior and its economic and public health consequences. Education and intervention strategies and programs involving community awareness and participation are evaluated. Through literature review, lecture and discussion, students examine the field and explore its application to health care and public health.