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 744: Program Design for Global Health
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 and SPH PH 720; Students cannot take both GH744 and GH887.
    Developing a structured approach to program design is an important skill for public health professionals. IH744 provides an opportunity to learn and apply the key steps of program design. The course invites students to work with an international non-governmental organization to design a public health program. The non-governmental organization will orient student consultant teams with a scope of work that will contain guidelines for developing a program for the organization and identifying prospective donors for funding. To complete the scope of work, each team will identify and describe a relevant public health problem and apply evidenced based solutions to address the problem(s). Course work will also sharpen the knowledge and the skills required for working effectively in a team and students will learn to reflect on individual and team performance. Students will be introduced to e-portfolio and will use it to document their knowledge and skills in program design.
  • SPH GH 745: Monitoring and Evaluation of Global Health Programs
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 or SPH EP 714; or instructor permission.
    here is consensus within the global public health community that inadequate project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) represents a major constraint in programmatic efforts to address the problems we face. The absence of sound M&E processes in large numbers of public health projects, despite continued evidence of their value in assessing and improving project performance, suggests that many project planners and managers may not yet have the necessary skills or understanding to develop and operate such systems. This course is designed to help address this need. This course provides a detailed analysis of program monitoring and evaluation with an emphasis on public health and nutrition-related projects. By reading relevant literature and using case studies, students will gain an understanding of the language and tools of program evaluation. The course will focus both on theory and practical utilization, and will consist of presentations, discussions, and applied exercises involving the preparation and critiquing of monitoring and evaluation plans. The course has a required, non-credit lab that is scheduled in a different time slot than the class.
  • SPH GH 750: Gender, Sexuality, Power, and Inequality in Global Health
    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 GH 755: Managing Disasters and Complex Humanitarian Emergencies
    This course will provide students with a solid introductory understanding of disasters and complex emergencies and introduce practical responses and interventions. By the end of the course, students will be able to describe human and natural emergencies and their main causes, articulate and conduct public health assessments, prioritize needs, and plan immediate and long-term interventions. Class discussions will also focus on analyzing and anticipating the consequences of emergencies.
  • SPH GH 756: Analytical Methods for Pharmaceutical Systems Assessment
    Graduate Prerequisites: PH740 or consent of instructor
    This course aims to develop skills essential to assessing and evaluating pharmaceutical policy and the performance of pharmaceutical programs. Students will learn to develop a pharmaceutical country profile, analyze medicine prices and availability, apply technical guidelines, and use other assessment tools and methods in the pharmaceutical sector. Students will also develop skills to undertake a sampling exercise, use qualitative methods, and review and write technical reports. Students will use instruments which are already developed with a focus on implementation issues, analysis of data collected and awareness of strength and limitation of each method applied. The course will introduce students to the many resources which exist to help understand pharmaceutical sectors, and prepare them to work in a national or sub national pharmaceutical system.
  • SPH GH 757: Fighting Corruption Through Accountability & Transparency
    Graduate Prerequisites: Students must have completed > 16 credits in program
    Corruption and lack of accountability in government are concerns in all countries, but they are especially critical problems in developing and transitioning countries where public resources are already scarce and corruption can cripple growth and development. In international health work, most public health practitioners will encounter corruption at some point and will need to make ethical and management decisions about how to work within corrupt systems and how to prevent corruption from occurring. This course is designed to introduce participants to the problem of corruption and provide them with skills for assessing vulnerabilities to corruption in the health sector. Topics covered include corruption risks in drug procurement and supply, medical conflicts of interest, informal payments, and financial corruption. Participants will acquire the confidence, knowledge, and skills needed to become effective advocates for anti-corruption strategies and health system reforms.
  • SPH GH 760: Foundations in Global Health
    Global health is defined as "collaborative trans-national research and action for promoting health for all." It requires an understanding of how context and culture affect population-wide and individually based health care actions, systems and strategies. Through this course students develop an understanding of the causes and consequences of global health problems, especially in low- and middle-income countries, and how underlying social, economic, environmental and political determinants of health in different countries affect health outcomes. Students learn how global health systems developed over time in varying environments, and the factors affecting their design and performance. Case studies and exercises provide students with opportunities to apply foundational skills in analyzing global health systems and situations, and develop cross-cultural awareness and resourcefulness in solving problems that they may encounter in their professional careers. The course places a strong emphasis on developing skills in persuasive, evidence-based writing and oral presentation.
  • SPH GH 762: Essentials of Economics and Finance for Global Health
    This course is an introduction to the essential concepts and tools of health economics and financing with application to the particular challenges facing transitional and developing countries. The course does not assume prior training in economics and will provide an introduction to the conceptual underpinnings of health economics, highlighting those concepts that will be most useful in applied policy settings. Case studies will focus on practical application to current global health financing policy problems.
  • SPH GH 765: Cross-Cultural Approaches to Mental Health in Low & Middle Income Countries Certificate: Mental Health and Substance Use
    This course introduces students to mental health and mental illness in low and middle income countries and also looks at some highly vulnerable populations in high-income countries. Class sessions and assignments will provide students with a chance to explore the critical role played by the social, cultural, and economic context in defining local concepts of mental health and in availability and type of treatment in a variety of contexts. The course is designed to provide students with a working knowledge of the history of mental health on the global agenda, core theoretical concepts underlying research and interventions, and innovative methodological approaches to adapting psychiatric assessment tools and treatment for cross-cultural, low-resource contexts. Students will build skills in identifying and critically analyzing global and country-specific data estimating the burden of mental health disorders. They will also develop creative approaches to research, treatment, and advocacy to improve health systems and legal protections for people living with mental health disorders.
  • SPH GH 766: Sexual and Reproductive Health in Disaster Settings
    Of the millions of people displaced by armed conflict around the world, 65-80% are women and children. In recent armed conflicts, women have been the targets of exploitation, rape, forced marriage, forced pregnancy, and other types of gender-based violence. These violent acts have implications on women?s reproductive health. This course will expose students to the issues affecting the reproductive and sexual health of women in conflict and post-conflict situations. The context of recent conflicts and their effects on women?s health will be analyzed. Other topics will include: common reproductive health morbidities in conflict situations, reproductive health assessments, programming, monitoring and evaluations, gender-based violence, and rape as a weapon of war. Specific examples will be drawn from the wars that occurred in former Yugoslavia, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Southern Sudan, and the ongoing war in Darfur, Western Sudan.
  • SPH GH 770: Poverty, Health, and Development
    Graduate Prerequisites: Successful completion of graduate or undergraduate courses in economics and statistics and a working knowledge of Excel software
    Poverty, Health and Development is an elective course for MPH students in Global Health and a core course for graduate students in the Global Development Policy Program at BU. The goal of this course is for students to explore the relationships between poverty, health, and development in low-income countries. While not primarily a methods course, methods in public health, economics, statistics, and quantitative impact evaluation will be introduced and used throughout the course.
  • SPH GH 773: Financial Management for Health Programs
    Health care managers must be prepared to talk about financial issues, analyze and interpret data, and make decisions using financial information. This course develops competencies in cost analysis, pricing, budgeting, and reading financial reports in international health settings where financial systems are weak and data not easily available. In addition to using principles of differential and full cost analysis, students gain skills in breakeven analysis and calculating mark-ups. Examples are drawn from hospitals, clinics, and revolving drug funds from developing countries.
  • SPH GH 774: Implementation and Evaluation of Global Health
  • SPH GH 775: Field Practicum in Africa
  • SPH GH 777: Global Health Culminating Experience Seminar
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 or SPH EP 714; 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: How to License a New Vaccine
    Vaccines are one public health's most powerful tools. Vaccines have controlled many of the worst childhood infectious diseases, including bacterial meningitis, measles, diphtheria, and pertussis. Smallpox has been completely eradicated - and polio may soon follow. But where do vaccines come from? The goal of this course is to open the black box and give students a hands-on introduction to the challenging but fascinating process of clinical development, using the development of a new vaccine as the case study. The class is designed as an extended and competitive simulation -- essentially a game with pedagogic purpose. The students assume the role of clinical development teams at a hypothetical pharmaceutical company working to advance the development of a new vaccine. Each year, the class will select a vaccine candidate to enter development. Over the subsequent sessions, the students will advance their vaccine with the ultimate goal of securing licensure by FDA. In this course, students will acquire a deep understanding of clinical development and the regulatory process, will learn about contemporary and historical aspects of vaccine development, clinical epidemiology, and infectious diseases. By the end of the course, students will have a solid understanding of what it takes to bring a vaccine to market, while honing their skills at working in teams, giving professional presentations, and providing and responding to constructive feedback.
  • SPH GH 804: mHealth
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH PH 717 and SPH PH 720; or consent of instructor.
    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: SPH PH 717 or SPH EP 714.
    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 809: Tech Pop Anlys