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 GH 774: COM Hlth Mexico
  • SPH GH 775: Field Prac Afri
  • SPH GH 777: Global Health Culminating Experience Seminar
    Graduate Prerequisites: GH concentrators with 24 credits or more completed; must be working on culminating experience
    This seminar course has two main purposes: first, to enable participants to respond to one another's work, examine issues in the writing process, make improvements from draft to draft, and complete a well-researched, well-argued concentration paper; second, to explore issues in global health that are the focus of their research and emerge with a greater understanding of the questions they raise for policy and practice. Papers go through three drafts, and students will have the opportunity to give and receive feedback in peer review sessions. Background readings and regular participation in class critiques and discussions are required. Students must be working on their culminating experience to be enrolled in the class.
  • SPH GH 795: Global AIDS Epidemic: Social & Economic Determinants, Impact, & Responses
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH core course in social and behavioral science, completed or concurrent.
    AIDS is one of the most important pandemics and human development challenges of our time. This course explores the determinants and impacts of the AIDS pandemic and examines best practices in prevention, care and treatment and impact mitigation. Students will explore the relationship between human rights, gender and vulnerability to HIV; examine effective multi-sectoral responses; and evaluate the benefits and limitations of major multi- and bi-lateral AIDS initiatives. Students will also examine the major debates in the AIDS field and explore different, at times contradictory, perspectives.
  • SPH GH 801: Dev New Medicin
  • SPH GH 804: mHealth
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH Biostatistics core course and IH720. Students should also have completed or be enrolled in IH704.
    Located at the nexus of technology, informatics and public health, mHealth (defined as medical and public health practice supported by mobile devices, such as mobile phones, patient monitoring devices, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and other wireless devices) is rapidly emerging from its pilot stage to become an important component of public health programs. In this course, you will learn how to design, develop, implement and evaluate a mHealth program. You will learn the basic terminology of mHealth programs, how to develop, design and evaluate a mHealth intervention as well as learn the current state of the field and major international mHealth implementers. Using a theoretical base, you will also learn the technical skills of developing an application based on a case study that can be deployed and used on a mobile phone. This course is suited for students who are at least in their second semester and who are familiar or interested in learning more about how mobile technology intersects with the health sector.
  • SPH GH 805: Controversies in Global Control and Eradication of Infectious Diseases
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics and epidemiology MPH core requirements.
    This is an advanced level seminar course. It focuses on areas of active controversy regarding past and current eradication/control campaigns. This class will consider the biological, epidemiological, sociological, political, ethical, and programmatic features that allowed the smallpox eradication campaign to succeed. Other diseases that are currently candidates for global eradication campaigns that will be covered in this class include polio, measles, malaria, lymphatic filariasis, onchocerciasis, and dracunculiasis. Public health policy decisions ultimately rest on basic and clinical scientific research. This course approaches this topic through a series of focused readings drawn from the primary scientific literature. The goal is to prepare students to better participate in these debates themselves.
  • SPH GH 811: Applied Research Methods in Global Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: The biostatistics & pidemiology MPH core requirements.
    The objective of this course is to teach student teams how to collect and analyze data to answer research questions and evaluate health interventions. Student teams will conduct a research study with multiple research methods including a cross-sectional survey and their choice from a variety of qualitative methods. The scope of the research questions addressed will be limited to minimal risk research conducted with students on the Boston University Medical Campus in the space of a semester. Each team will design a questionnaire, administer it, and enter and analyze the data using R. In conjunction with the cross-sectional survey, each team will also use some form of qualitative method, such as in-depth interviews or focus group discussions. The student teams will integrate the results of the cross-sectional survey and the qualitative research and present a report with findings and recommendations to their peers and faculty members. Students completing the course will have the skills to be able to collect and analyze data in a wide variety of settings.
  • SPH GH 815: Methods for Impact Evaluation
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH717 and GH745 and a statistical computing course, either BS723 or BS730
    This four-credit course provides students with a set of theoretical and methodological skills to evaluate the causal impacts of public health programs and policies. Students learn to use a broad range of evaluation methodologies, including experimental and quasi-experimental designs. They strengthen their skills through critical analysis of published evaluation research. They also apply their skills to design an ideal impact evaluation for an intervention or program of their own choosing. Students taking this course should already be competent in understanding and applying basic quantitative methods for public health research. This is a Third Level course intended for MPH students enrolled in the Monitoring and Evaluation Certificate, and these students are given priority for enrollment. Other interested students may enroll, space permitting.
  • SPH GH 854: From Data to Dashboards: Building Excel Skills to Support Health Program Decisions
    Graduate Prerequisites: For upper level MPH students who have basic proficiency with Excel
    In these uncertain times, managers need, more than ever, to make sound decisions based on data. Good spreadsheet models are important tools in this process. Build your Excel "toolbox" by learning and applying robust formulas, graphing and dashboarding techniques, and data analysis in a wide range of real-world case study examples, such as cost and utilization analysis, estimation of revenues and expenses, and performance dashboards to monitor and evaluate performance of health interventions. Students will have the opportunity to build their own models to apply to a health service challenge of their choosing. This course is appropriate for upper level MPH students who have basic excel skills.
  • SPH GH 880: Confronting non-communicable diseases in the developing world: the burden, costs and health systems challenges
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology and biostatistics core course requirements
    A combination of lower fertility rates and changing environmental factors and lifestyles has led to aging populations and epidemics of tobacco addiction, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancers, diabetes, and other chronic ailments, aggravating the persisting burden of infectious diseases in the developing world. This advanced course aims at providing a thorough understanding of the risk factors, epidemiology, burden, and economic consequences of the most prevalent non-communicable diseases and the fundamental policy considerations regarding intervention strategies for their prevention and control in resource constrained settings. This overall goal will be achieved by marrying economic approaches with those of epidemiology, clinical medicine and public health.
  • SPH GH 881: Global Reproductive and Perinatal Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH epidemiology core course AND SPH IH703 or IH704 or PM702. May take IH704 or PM702 concurrently.
    This course addresses the major reproductive and perinatal health problems facing communities around the world. We will focus on current strategies to address human reproduction, maternal health and the health of newborns. For each problem, we will consider the fundamental causes and possible solutions--what works/doesn't work and what is being tried. Topics will include determinants of maternal mortality, Perinatal Mortality, conditions that impact pregnancy outcomes, major causes of global maternal mortality, programming, policy and advocacy.
  • SPH GH 885: Global Trade, Intellectual Property, and Public Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: For upper level MPH students and DrPH students
    On the broadest level, any person interested in global public health needs to know about globalization and trade. Globalization rewards creative and technically skilled workers and places its largest pressures on lower-skilled workers. A specific example of globalization is that of India and their embrace of new intellectual property (IP) laws. The implementation of these IP and trade rules lies somewhere between outright opposition to reforming global IP rules and an unthinking acceptance that doing so will encourage biomedical innovation and improved health outcomes. The effects of stronger IP standards on health and innovation in medicines and diagnostics are ambiguous and thus need to be subjected to empirical analysis. This course will explore the complex and ambiguous relationship between global trade, intellectual property and its impact on public health.
  • SPH GH 887: Planning and Managing MCH Programs in Developing Countries
    Graduate Prerequisites: Students may not take both GH744 (formerly IH744) and GH887 for MPH degree credit
    This course provides a practical framework to enable students to design, manage, and evaluate services for children and women, with an emphasis on child health. The course covers the major health challenges with a focus on children and explores specific interventions to address these challenges. Topics covered include diarrheal disease, acute respiratory infection, immunization, malaria, micronutrient deficiencies, HIV/AIDS, safe motherhood and neonatal health. The final six weeks of the course will give students the opportunity to identify the technical, political, organizational, and environmental factors necessary for a successful program. Students will work in teams to respond to an RFP for improving the health of women, children, or newborns in a developing country. Teams will attend a bidder's conference and then prepare and present a written and oral proposal to an outside grants committee. Students cannot take both IH744 and IH887 for MPH degree credit.
  • SPH GH 888: Seminar on Global Health Policy Issues
    Graduate Prerequisites: Advanced MPH (> 16 credits) or SPH doctoral students
    This seminar focuses on policy formulation related to public health problems in low- and middle-income countries and is intended for students who have some experience. How is policy formulated in different settings? Who sets the policy agenda? Why do some issues get the attention of policy-makers, while other equally important issues fail to gain traction? And what approaches can be used to improve the chances of a particular policy being adopted? Students will carry out a policy analysis on a policy issue of their choice, using the policy analysis approaches and tools presented in class.
  • SPH GH 891: Global Pharmaceutical Policy: At the Intersection of Process and Politics
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH GH888 or permission of instructor
    Health care organizations need to provide viable and sustainable solutions to the many problems confronting them while balancing the often inconsistent and opposing agendas and interests of stakeholders. GH891 introduces the student to the real world of pharmaceutical policy making in global health. Students will analyze medicines issues at the intersection of policy, process and politics. Students will develop skills in pharmaceutical policy analysis through case studies, lectures, and discussion.
  • SPH GH 943: Global Health Directed Study for Culminating Experience
    Students who must complete a directed study for their Global Health Culminating Experience register for IH943 with their culminating experience advisor. Students who select Option Two, the journal article, must register for a 2-credit directed study. Other students may choose a 1-credit directed study if appropriate and approved by the Global Health Department. Registration in GH943 is via a proposal form and an add/drop form. Registration is not online.
  • SPH GH 950: Culminating Experience in Global Health I
    Graduate Prerequisites: For Global Health MPH students who have completed at least 25 hours and are approved for GH culminating experience by GH Department.
    Zero-credit option for completing the required culminating experience in global health. Students may register in fall, spring, or summer. Students must select a culminating experience option, complete the required documents with the Academic Services Coordinator, and register online for the class. Registering accords the student part-time status. Students who do not finish their culminating experience in the semester in which they registered for IH950 must register for IH951 in the next semester.
  • SPH GH 951: Culminating Experience in Global Health II
    Graduate Prerequisites: For students who did not complete GH950 in a previous semester.
    Students who do not finish their culminating experience in the semester in which they registered for IH950 must register for IH951 in the next semester. IH950 and IH951 are zero-credit options for completing the required culminating experience in global health. Students may register in fall, spring, or summer. Students must select a culminating experience option, complete the required documents with the Academic Services Coordinator, and register online for the class. Registering accords the student part-time status.
  • SPH LW 709: Healthcare Rationing: Medicine, Markets and Morals
    Graduate Prerequisites: The MPH health law core course requirement
    Although health care is rationed in a variety of ways in the United States, Americans, and American politicians in particular, make believe that rationing does not exist. Indeed, efforts at health care reform have often been criticized for leading to "rationing' health care resources, implying that rationing is something evil. The idea that all Americans get the health care they need or that we have limitless resources is obviously not so. What health care is available and to whom is the result of the often invisible choices policy makers make. This course critically explores the health care allocation choices that have been made and will be made in the future. It analyzes the advantages and disadvantages of various rationing methods, the values and moral judgments reflected in each, and the political and financial factors influencing the choice of approach, as well as who should make such choices. Examples of rationing to be discussed include the distribution of organs for transplantation, determining what constitutes "necessary" care under insurance schemes, the use of markets and lotteries as rationing methods, limitations on population screening, the use of age and "social worth" to limit health care to individuals, triage in emergencies, and the utility (or disutility) of cost-benefit analysis for making decisions about the availability and distribution of health care. By the end of the course, students will be able to articulate the range of possible rationing methods and to appropriately apply these methods to different scarce resource circumstances.