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 MC 805: Perinatal and Child Health Services: From Evidence to Innovation and Implementation
    Societies that create conditions for healthy families and communities and invest in effective health systems and services extending from the perinatal period through infancy and childhood reap the benefits of healthier women, children, and families. In this course, programs, services, and policies to the wider aim of improving birth outcomes and sustaining the health and well-being of mothers, fathers, and children (ages 0-11) in the U.S.Of course, the path to effective services and policies is not always clear, either because political priorities do not support the aim, the evidence about what works is incomplete, inadequate, or poorly communicated to policy-makers, or because the challenges of implementation are daunting. Throughout the course, we will integrate each of these perspectives (political, scientific, and practical) as we critically examine a wide array of perinatal and child health services and the policies (MCH and cross-sectoral) that under gird them. The life course perspective, with its integration of human development and the cumulative effects of the social determinants of health, will serve as a guiding theoretical framework for the course; and, in turn, the promotion of equity and elimination of racial/ethnic disparities in outcomes and services will be a key thread in all of our discussions and activities.
  • SPH MC 815: Sexual and Reproductive Health Advocacy: Practice in Global and Local Context
    Graduate Prerequisites: The health law core, the social and behavioral sciences core course, or consent of instructor.
    MC815 is the 4-credit practice-based version of MC785, with expanded content in the area of global SRH and LGBTQ-related fertility and family formation. This course prepares students to design, lead, or collaborate in advocacy efforts around matters of sex, reproduction, sexual identity, and gender expression as they relate to family creation in public life. MC815 uses case-based teaching and practice-based learning. During the course, students engage with an advocacy organization and participate in an ongoing campaign or produce a product relevant to a new initiative. Throughout the course, student assess their own values related to SRH, and draw on multiple disciplines --social history, law, medicine, politics, religion, and public health science--to critically examine SRH movements and debates as they have played out in the U.S. and globally over time. Students develop skills in critical analysis, argument, advocacy strategies, and writing and presentation to diverse audiences, including public officials, readers of social media and the popular press.
  • SPH MC 820: Managing Public Health Programs and Projects
    Graduate Prerequisites: SPH MC725
    This course helps students develop skills in program implementation and management. The class moves through the implementation process step-by-step, culminating in the development of a complete programmatic management plan as the course final. Class meetings build from the initial steps of problem definition through the development of a logic model, monitoring and evaluation planning, incorporation of appropriate strategies for engaging relevant stakeholders, design of program outreach materials, and development of a program budget. Assignments are progressive: as new components are added to student plans, previous components are revised and refined. The class emphasizes team work as well as development of individual skills. Students learn to critique one another's work in workshop sessions scheduled at key junctures in the course. Students are expected to have completed MC725 before taking MC820. Exceptions are possible, however, for students from concentrations other than MCH and occasionally for students who can draw on substantial experience around a particular MCH topic.
  • SPH MC 840: Women and Health Policy: Gender, Evidence, and Politics
    Graduate Prerequisites: MC725 or consent of instructor.
    This course provides an opportunity to link theory, experience, and policy-making in the field of women?s health. Topics explored during the first half of the course include: what women in the U.S. need, want and receive with respect to health care services and preventive education; the role of women as health activists, consumers and providers; the meaning of gender, race, class, and culture in the provider-patient relationship; the assumptions and agendas that have shaped the field of women?s health; and the implications of that history for policy-making today. During the second half of the course, case studies are used to consider whether or not the questions currently being asked in women?s health are the right questions and whether or not resources are being directed appropriately. Topics examined in depth include mammography, lesbian health, hormone replacement therapy, physical disability, depression and aging. Students complete the course with sharpened skills for making arguments and promoting their ideas orally and in writing to audiences as diverse as legislators, the media, private foundations, public health policy-makers, and the general public. this class carries SB concentration credit.
  • SPH MC 845: Perinatal Health Services
    Graduate Prerequisites: MC725
    This seminar will focus on the contribution of perinatal health services and policies to improving birth outcomes and maternal well-being and reducing racial/ethnic disparities. This seminar will not address the identification of underlying causes or risks for poor birth outcomes, but rather the amelioration of known risks through organized public health programs and policies. A sample of current prenatal health initiatives will be examined, including the CDC's preconception and health care initiatives; comprehensive prenatal care (including home visiting) and centering pregnancy initiatives; community-based Healthy Start initiatives and collective impact models; the March of Dimes prematurity prevention campaign; intrapartum care interventions and models of maternity care; women's health and MCH life-course initiatives. The special emphasis of this course will be on the practical implementation and delivery of efficacious perinatal health services
  • SPH MC 940: Maternal and Child Health Culminating Experience
    All Maternal and Child Health concentrators must complete an integrative paper. Students must meet with their advisors to plan the experience, submit a signed Culminating Experience Approval form, and complete the drafts and final product according to the established deadlines. In addition, MCH Leadership Program students must complete an electronic portfolio by the established deadlines for the MCH Culminating Experience. To document their work on the culminating experience, concentrators must register for SPH MC940, a zero-credit, pass/fail course. For more details on the requirements for the culminating experience, please see the Concentrator Guide.
  • SPH MC 941: Maternal and Child Health Culminating Experience II
    All Maternal and Child Health concentrators must complete an integrative paper. Students must meet with their advisors to plan the experience, submit a signed Culminating Experience Approval form, and complete the drafts and final product according to the established deadlines. Should the deadline not be met, MCH concentrators must register for SPH MC941, a zero-credit, pass/fail course, in the next semester, summer included. For more details on the requirements for the culminating experience, please see the Concentrator Guide.
  • SPH PH 510: Essentials of Public Health
    Students will gain an understanding of public health as a broad, collective enterprise that seeks to extend the benefits of current biomedical, environmental, social, and behavioral knowledge in ways that maximize its impact on the health status of a population. The course will provide an overview of the public health approach including epidemiology, understanding the social determinants of health, and prevention. Through active learning, students will learn skills in identifying and addressing an ever expanding list of health problems that call for collective action to protect, promote and improve our nation's health, primarily through preventive strategies. Specific topics will include: food safety, HIV/AIDS, vaccines, and tobacco control and prevention. PH510 is a requirement for obtaining an undergraduate minor in public health. It is appropriate for undergraduates and others who are not in an SPH degree program. It does not carry degree credit for MPH students.
  • SPH PH 511: Pathogens, Poverty, and Populations: An Introduction to Global Health
    Undergraduate Prerequisites: Not for SPH graduate credit. Students who take PH511 may not take IH703 for MPH degree credit.
    Graduate Prerequisites: Students who complete PH511 may not take SPH IH703 for MPH degree credit.
    This course will introduce students to issues of public health importance in developing countries. For each disease or public health problem considered, the class will explore its epidemiology, natural history, risk factors and contributing causes, and responses of the public health community at local, national, regional, and international levels. The course includes six sections: Core Concepts, Child Health and Nutrition, Infectious Diseases, Women?s Health and HIV/AIDS, Chronic and Non-communicable Diseases, and Concluding Sessions. PH511 is appropriate for undergraduates and others who are not in an SPH degree program. Students who complete PH511 as undergraduates should not also take IH703.
  • SPH PH 712: Public Health Response to Emergencies in the United States
    This course provides students with the necessary knowledge and skills to understand the public health impacts and roles during emergencies and disasters in the United States. The course will use two recent cases, 2013 Boston marathon bombing and 2009-2010 pandemic flu, to explore the persons, events, decisions, policies, and systems involved in each of the events. Students will apply emergency preparedness skills to analyze preparedness, response, recovery, and mitigation operations and to communicate risk effectively. Students will consider the question that plagues governmental authorities and residents alike: ARE WE READY? In the end, students will possess a command over how the public health system can provide essential services and support healthy communities during times of emergency. This is accomplished through a combination of case studies, panel discussions, team activities, tours, and exercises.
  • SPH PH 717: Quantitative Methods for Public Health
    Public health is, at its core, an evidence-based discipline. Evaluating relevant evidence to understand the distribution and determinants of disease across the population and to identify and engage in prevention activities requires the collection, analysis and communication of quantitative information. In this course, students will learn fundamental quantitative skills to evaluate data and make evidence-based decisions as a public health professional. This course will provide students with core training in the conduct and design of epidemiologic studies, basic biostatistical analyses and the use of biostatistical software, and foundational knowledge of exposure and outcome assessment.
  • SPH PH 718: Leadership and Management for Public Health
    Public health professionals rarely work alone to make anything happen. Thus, the goal of this course is to develop your ability to be a change agent for public health by furthering your abilities to communicate with, engage, and organize others in the pursuit of specific projects and change efforts. While you may not immediately hold a formal leadership position, you can always "lead from where you are" and/or informally by understanding how to effectively and ethically work with others both within and beyond your particular organizational home, and manage processes to achieve specific objectives, in order to advance the health issues that you care about.
  • SPH PH 719: Health Systems, Law, and Policy
    This is a course about who gets what health services, when and how. Policies and laws governing what services are available and on what terms strongly influence health status at both the individual and population levels. This course examines the Constitutional, regulatory, political and socio-economic bases for the policies that determine access, quality, cost and equity in health services and population health programs. While the focus is principally on US examples, the course is structured on the World Health Organization's framework for organizing and analyzing national health systems, covering governance, financing, delivery systems, workforce, and human and other resources. The course combines intensive individual preparation for each class using both written and video materials, interactive class presentations and hands-on individual and group projects in laboratory sessions.
  • SPH PH 720: Individual, Community, and Population Health
    This course is intended to provide students with a foundation for future coursework in program design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation. It assumes little prior knowledge of determinants of health, and various ways of addressing health problems. It aims to help give students an appreciation of health and the determinants of health at multiple levels in order to gain knowledge and skills necessary to work effectively to improve the health of individuals, communities, and populations.
  • SPH PH 728: Religion, Ethics, and Public Health
    This course will introduce students to the health related aspects of a variety of Western and Eastern religious and ethical traditions, health controversies that exist within those traditions, methods that can be used to reconcile public health needs with religious and ethical traditions. Through review of case studies, students will be challenged to harmonize public health priorities with cultural beliefs in a way that best serves the community. For example, we will study the religious and ethical controversy inherent in major public health issues such as exemptions to mandatory vaccination laws, sex education in public schools, statues outlawing female genital cutting, life support withdrawal, determination of death, faith healing, fetal stem cell research and allocation of scarce resources. Ultimately, students will generate a robust conceptual framework, enabling a nuanced approach to some of the most critical topics in the field of public health.
  • SPH PH 739: Foundations of Infectious Disease for Public Health
    This is a foundational course in infectious diseases for students pursuing a career in public health practice that involves working to control, prevent, eliminate, and/or eradicate these diseases. In the first week of class, students learn basic principles of infectious disease causation and spread. In subsequent weeks, they apply those principles to analyze how agent, host, and environmental (physical, social, behavioral, cultural, economic, political) factors impact the transmission and clinical course of infection, and contribute to the susceptibility and vulnerability of individuals and populations. Students then use this information to analyze the effectiveness of key public health infectious disease control and prevention strategies, and to identify and propose their own intervention strategies. Through a combination of active learning and problem solving, students recognize that addressing infectious disease problems requires consideration of not only the natural history of a disease, but also policy-based decision making, resources and economics, and the ecological, social behavioral and cultural context of disease settings. They learn that designing and implementing contextually appropriate and effective infectious disease control and prevention interventions requires a multi-disciplinary and multi-sectorial, One Health, approach.
  • SPH PH 740: Pharmaceuticals in Public Health: An Introductory Course
    Graduate Prerequisites: Recommended: EP713 and MPH core course in health policy and management
    This course provides the students with an overview of the role of pharmaceuticals in public health and the basic functions of the pharmaceutical sector in terms of stakeholders,regulations, policies and evaluation. In addition the course has the objective to introduce the students to the pharmaceutical program and provide them with basic knowledge that is necessary to enter other courses. By the end of the course the students will be able to discuss the relevance of pharmaceuticals for public health, identify relevant actors in the pharmaceutical sector and their functions, to identify problems within the pharmaceutical sector that lead to inequity and inefficiencies and the proposal strategies to overcome these problems.
  • SPH PH 746: Career P.R.E.P.
    This career development course is made up of 6 sessions, each 90 minutes long, designed to give you the tools and techniques to effectively market yourself during the job search process and advance in your career. It will also enable you to research potential career options and to manage your job searches and careers as proactively and effectively as possible.
  • SPH PH 757: Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
    Chronic, non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes, and chronic lung disease, are a leading threat to the health of the population. In this course, students will set out to ascertain the background and significance of major chronic diseases affecting population health, and evaluate intervention efforts targeting chronic disease prevention and its long term management. Controversies in current chronic disease prevention efforts will be analyzed. Students are expected to gain skills directly relevant for the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions directed towards chronic disease prevention and management.
  • SPH PH 780: Chronic Disease: A Public Health Perspective
    Graduate Prerequisites: Successful completion of the MPH integrated core courses or permission of the instructor
    This is the foundational course for the certificate in chronic and non-communicable disease (chronic/NCD). Chronic and non-communicable diseases (Chronic/NCD) are responsible for a large majority of the deaths in the United States and a rapidly rising share of deaths in low- and middle-income countries. In addition to their effect on mortality, these conditions have an enormous impact on disability, quality of life, health care costs, and lost productivity, and are also a major contributor to health disparities. The course provides students with an overview of the public health approach toward chronic/NCD across the continuum of identification of causes, implementation and evaluation of strategies for prevention, and treatment and management of disease to reduce mortality and improve quality of life. Through readings, lectures, in-class exercises, and group work, the course provides a foundation for students to further develop their knowledge and skills in subsequent courses toward their certficate.