Courses

The course descriptions below are correct to the best of our knowledge as of June 2013. 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. Paper copies are also available in the BUSPH Registrar’s office. 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 June 1, 2013, SPH, 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 EP 813: Intermediate Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: The epidemiology and Biostatistics MPH core course requirements or consent of instructor.
    The purpose of this course is to further develop the methodologic concepts underlying the science of epidemiology. The material covered is intended to broaden and extend the student's understanding of the elements of study design, data analysis, and inference in epidemiologic research, including issues related to causation, bias, and confounding. The primary aims of the course are to provide working knowledge of the fundamentals of epidemiology as well as to serve as a foundation for more advanced study of epidemiologic methods. The course consists of lectures and workshop sessions. The workshop sessions are designed to reinforce the concepts/topics covered in the lectures.
  • SPH EP 815: Epidemiologic Modeling
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP813. May be taken concurrently with BS852 and shouldbe taken before EP817.
    This course provides students who have completed EP813 with an opportunity to apply epidemiologic concepts to the analysis of observational datasets. Students learn strategies for building epidemiologic regression models using SAS software and examine key issues with respect to exposure, such as classifying time-varying exposures and comparing what is measured to biologically relevant. Also, the course emphasizes appropriate interpretation of results given a study's specific design, limitation, and potential epidemiologic biases. BS852 complements this course and may be taken concurrently. This course should be taken before EP817.
  • SPH EP 817: A Guided Epidemiology Study
    Graduate Prerequisites: EP813 or EP854 and BS723 and consent of the instructor, lfredman@bu.edu.
    This is an upper-level , hands-on seminar course, which teaches a small group of students how to develop and conduct a hypothesis-based study, using datasets that are currently available to the instructors. Through a combination of workshops, written assignments, and oral presentations, students develop hypotheses, conduct literature reviews, perform data analyses, and write each section of a manuscript. The final project requires the student to integrate all sections into a complete paper for journal submission. This course prepares students to write thesis proposals and manuscripts.
  • SPH EP 854: Advanced Epidemiology
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP813.
    This course covers the theory and application of key principles and methods of epidemiologic research in depth. The topics include causal models, confounding, randomization, interaction, statistical analysis and inference, and causal inference. Special emphasis is given to the meaning and interpretation of p-values, confidence intervals, and likelihoods. Alternative approaches are identified for selecting and interpreting measures of disease frequency and measures of effect. Guidance is offered for determining objectives and strategies in study design and analysis, especially for case-control research. Methods are presented for the assessment and control of confounding, misclassification bias, and selection bias. Strengths and weaknesses of standardization, pooling, modeling, and exposure-response analysis are reviewed.
  • SPH EP 855: Advanced Epidemiology Seminar: Issues in Study Design
    Graduate Prerequisites: Primarily for doctoral students. MPH students must have completed EP854 and have consent of the instructor.
    This course is structured around reading and discussing both historical and current methodological papers. The first section of the course focuses on papers by early theoreticians and methodologists. The second section focuses on contemporary methodologic questions. Substantive areas may evolve and vary over time. Recent topics have included case-control studies, study efficiency, measures of effect, exposure misclassification, sensitivity analysis, casual diagrams, and direct and indirect effects.
  • SPH EP 857: Design and Conduct of Cohort Studies
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP 813 or EP 854
    This is a third-level epidemiologic methods course intended for advanced Masters and Doctoral students who desire to build depth and nuance in their understanding of cohort study design and conduct. The course will build on classic and state-of-the-art papers which focus in depth on various topics such as selection of appropriate measure of excess risk and intermediate endpoints (theory and practice). For each topic, methodologic readings will be linked back to concrete examples of cohort study design, with special emphasis on practical aspects of study conduct.
  • SPH EP 858: Design and Conduct of Case-Control Studies
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH BS723 and EP813 or EP854.
    This course will develop students? practical knowledge of the design and conduct of case-control studies. It will cover the relationship between cohort and case-control studies and study design issues, including identification of a study base, selection of cases and controls, collection of exposure information, sources of bias, and matching. Published papers will be used to illustrate design, bias, and analytic issues through reading and discussion. Each class includes a lecture and discussion of assigned articles.
  • SPH EP 980: Continuing Study
    Graduate Prerequisites: MS or doctoral candidates in Epidemiology who have completed all academic course requirements for degree and are completing their thesis ordissertation.
    PhD, DSc, and MS in Epidemiology students who have completed all academic course requirements, must register for Continuing Study every Fall and Spring semester until they have successfully defended their theses/dissertations and have 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.
  • SPH HC 840: Field Practice in the Philippines
    Graduate Prerequisites: Good academic standing. Completed 12 MPH credits, including the core courses in Epi, Bio, and SB, plus IH 703 or IH704. Must apply by stated program deadline.
    Students take HC840 as part of the The Program in International Health Practice (PIHP) in the Philippines. The program is open to students by application only. The deadline for applications for fall is April 15 and for spring is October 15. Students participate in an intensive five-week field experience in a rural setting a few hours from Metro-Manila. Students become a member of an existing group of Philippine students. This group will have chosen a topic such as "Diabetes as a Community Health Issue" or "Taking on Diarrheal Disease at the Community Level" in a community (barangay or ?neighborhood?). As a group, they spend 10-12 hours every day, adding up to over 250 field practice hours spent analyzing their particular public health problem and planning the intervention. Short reports are written along the way, and the major academic product is a bound Final Group Report, which is presented to College of Public Health faculty and also brought back for review by the BU-DIH Faculty Coordinator. The Philippines Program plus two skills-based professional development seminars done separately from the Philippines Program meets the MPH degree practicum requirement.
  • SPH HC 841: Community Health Financing
    Graduate Prerequisites: Good academic standing. Completed 12 MPH credits, including the core courses in Epi, Bio, and SB, plus IH 703 or IH704. Must apply by stated program deadline.
    Students take HC841 as part of the Program in International Health Practice Philippines. This program is open to students in the MPH program by application only; students must apply by the stated deadlines. The goal of HC841 is for students to acquire a theoretical and practical understanding of community health financing alternatives by exposure to actual community financing programs in the Philippines. Students learn how poor communities pool their resources to pay for medical care when it is needed. Specifically, students meet with fund managers at each of the rural health funds, interview them to find out how such a fund is set up and how it is kept running. Students pay special attention to discovering lessons of success at each of these community health financing funds, and any pitfalls experienced along the way. Community members are also interviewed, to find out their personal experience with a community financed health care system. In addition, students meet others involved with the community financing system, including midwives, rural health workers, and physicians, to discover their personal experiences with community financing systems.
  • SPH HC 842: Coursework at University of Philippines, Manila Campus
    Graduate Prerequisites: Good academic standing. Completed 12 MPH credits, including the core courses in Epi, Bio, and SB, plus IH course work. Must apply by statedprogram deadline.
    Students in HC842 at part of the Program in International Health Practice in the Philippines. As part of the requirements of HC842, students attend classes in Manila, at the University of the Philippines, College of Public Health, earning 8 credits towards the MPH degree. For more information, go to http://sph.bu.edu/ih/philippines.
  • SPH IH 702: Skills in Critical Analysis and Evidence Based Writing for Public Health Professionals
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology and biostatistics core courses; may be taken concurrently
    This introductory course will develop students? abilities to read the public health literature critically and to integrate evidence into a well-crafted policy memo. The class will focus on critical analysis of a case study focused on two research articles analyzing interventions to prevent HIV transmission. Through in-class discussions students will explore why the studies drew different conclusions. Course assignments will allow students to hone the applied critical analysis and writing skills they will need as public health professionals.
  • SPH IH 703: Global Public Health: History, Approaches and Practices
    Graduate Prerequisites: Students who take PH511 as undergraduates may not take IH703 for MPH degree credit.
    If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of Giants. Sir Isaac Newton, 15 February 1676. As public health professionals, we stand on the shoulders of giants. This course has two major goals: to welcome students into membership in the professional social movement called public health and to expose them to the rich historical tradition of the profession. Using selected public health case studies, we will highlight a selection of extraordinary individuals and events with the goal of illuminating current global health architecture and building understanding of the politics of priority-setting and decision-making. The course will address issues of human rights, individual rights, population rights and ethics.
  • SPH IH 704: International Public Health and Medical Care: A Systems Approach
    This course gives students an understanding of the elements common to all medical care systems and the factors which influence the shape, cost, performance, and quality of health systems. Examples are drawn from countries whose wealth and stage of development vary widely. The interaction between the public and private components of the health sector is explored. Equity in health services is a crosscutting theme. Students learn about the organization, delivery, and financing of medical care and the strengths and weaknesses of alternative approaches to health care finance and delivery. The major problems in health care facing low- and middle-income countries and the strategic options available to these countries are addressed. The course is taught in an interactive lecture format. There is an emphasis on systems thinking and systems approach. All International Health concentrators, MPH students who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents of the U.S., and MI program students may take this class. HPM concentrators must take PM702. Students who have taken PM702 for MPH degree credit may enroll in IH704 as an MPH elective. IH concentrators are given preference in registration but registration is open.
  • SPH IH 707: Kenya Field Practicum in Public Health and Environment
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology and biostatistics core courses or approved waivers.
    This 5-week course in Kenya focuses on environmental and community health as it relates to the indigenous Maasai residing at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro. In the early 1980s Kenya began a process of privatizing open grazing land into group ranches. This significant land use change has forced traditionally nomadic peoples, including the Maasai, onto smaller plots of land. This change in lifestyle has been associated with a rise in sanitation-related and water-borne diseases, infant and childhood disease and HIV/AIDS. Participants in the Kenya Field Practicum will be trained in field-based data collection, analysis, report-writing and presentation skills. Past summer sessions have collected baseline information on water and sanitation practices, community health indicators and worked with local organizations to evaluate the success of health interventions. Results and recommendations are presented to local Maasai leaders and other stakeholders. Contact Joe Anzalone for information regarding application, travel, and related information. The course also fulfills the BUSPH field practicum requirement if students also complete two skills-based professional development seminars.
  • SPH IH 715: Antiretroviral Program Management and Adherence Issues in Low-Resource Settings
    Successful HIV/AIDS treatment programs rely on consistent, uninterrupted supplies of antiretrovirals (ARVs), appropriate ARV prescribing, retention of patients in treatment programs, and a high level of adherence by patients. Ineffective ARV management can lead to treatment failures, ARV resistance, and insufficient program uptake. This course provides students with practical knowledge and skills to manage challenges in the areas of ARV selection, pricing, quality, and program monitoring and evaluation. Guest lecturers with relevant expertise will be invited to speak on several specific topics. One session will be devoted to a field visit to an adherence clinic to learn directly about the ARV program management issues faced by practitioners and patients.
  • SPH IH 720: Social and Behavioral Sciences in International Public Health
    Public health professionals know what behaviors contribute to health; however, they know less about why people fail to adopt healthy practices. This course is based on the premise that the more we understand about why people behave the way they do, the more successful we will be as we develop and implement programs and policies designed to improve health. This course uses psychology, sociology and anthropology to improve our understanding of the determinants of health behavior and will provide an introduction to a variety of health behavior theories and basic qualitative research methods. Our intent is to develop practical strategies for understanding the social and behavioral foundations of public health, enabling us to plan effective interventions. Working individually and in groups, students will use conceptual frameworks such as BEHAVE to help identify a public health problem, select a target audience, conduct basic qualitative research to determine facilitators and barriers to engaging in a given practice, and propose several behavior change and communications (BCC) strategies based on an assessment of the situation. This course is intended to provide students a foundation for future coursework in program design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. The three sections of IH 720 that are offered in the Fall (as well as SB 721) focus more heavily on the contributions of psychology and sociology while the Spring section emphasizes anthropology. All IH concentrators and international, nonresident students who are not SB concentrators may substitute IH 720 for the behavioral sciences MPH core requirement, SB 721. Students who have taken SB 721 may not take this course for degree credit. Preference is given to IH concentrators for registration.
  • SPH IH 735: Gender, Sexuality, Power, & Inequity in International Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH SB721 or IH720; the course may be taken concurrently
    This course explores the socio-cultural, economic and political contexts in which people live their lives and how these, and local and large-scale forces of structural violence (inequity, marginalization and gender discrimination) impact health and development. Course readings and discussions examine how these forces constitute immediate and fundamental risk factors and must therefore be considered and addressed as part of any effort to improve public health. Course format: seminar with topics introduced by professor and guest lecturers.
  • SPH IH 741: International Health Consultation Techniques
    This course will prepare students for consulting and technical assistance assignments in developing countries. Students learn to analyze the pros and cons of potential consulting assignments and prepare proposals. The potential conflicts between donors/sponsors and the agency receiving the consulting services will be considered. Assignments considered include financial analysis, operational improvements, training and program evaluation. Cross cultural issues and the problems of operating in remote areas are discussed. This course is for foreign nationals returning to their own countries and US citizens/residents who will seek international assignments with USAID contractors or NGOs. During this intensive one week course, students prepare a proposal in response to an actual RFP (Request for Proposal) as well as a presentation summarizing findings of a major consulting or research assignment Students interested in consulting in the US should take PM741.
  • SPH IH 743: Implementing Health Programs in Developing Countries: Making Programs Work
    Graduate Prerequisites: For advanced MPH students (16 earned credits or more). IH704 or IH744or permission of instructor.
    As professionals working in low and middle income countries, we often end up running programs we did not design, which are under-financed, and which face enormous implementation challenges. In this course, students will work with a specifically identified health program that is currently being implemented and conduct systems analyses, undertake problem solving exercises, and propose solutions to real implementation challenges in the field. Ultimately they will be able to prioritize the interventions necessary to effectively run a complex health program in such diverse situations as urban slums and dispersed rural areas in developing countries and be prepared to plan the actions to effectively run those programs. This course is directed towards students in the health management emphasis area and is not suitable for students in their first semester of studies. Students who will particularly benefit from this course are foreign nationals returning to their own countries and U.S.citizens or residents who will provide technical assistance through NGOs or other agencies to implement existing health programs.