The Boston University Online Master of Science in Health Communication consists of ten required online courses.
A vital component of the Health Communication curriculum, this course explores the health care system in terms of 1)communication within organizations, resources, and processes that constitute structure and operations; 2) relationships among stakeholders that shape it; and 3) resulting policies that impact system performance and influence the future of health care. Given the complexity and dynamics of the health care environment, an understanding of related issues at all levels is essential for effective communication and prevention of error within health care organizations. Without it, organizations must react defensively to environmental and political threats, often at the expense of patient safety and well-being; with it, organizations can act strategically to maximize growth opportunities and anticipate those forces that influence policy. The course draws upon multiple perspectives, including health communication in medicine and public health, health management (access, quality, and cost), politics, healthcare ethics, law, and the complexities of cross-cultural and psychosocial considerations within today's healthcare system. [ 4 cr.] [ 4 cr.]
This course is recommended for students who are not Epidemiology concentrators. The purpose of this course is to introduce the basic principles and methods of epidemiology and demonstrate their applicability in the field of public health. A further objective is to provide an introduction to the basic skills needed to critically interpret the epidemiologic literature relevant to public health professionals. [ 4 cr.] [ 4 cr.]
This course, designed for students who have little or no background in the biological sciences, provides a foundation in the biological mechanisms and principles underlying major health problems. Selected health problems are explored from a biological perspective in order to provide fundamental information about infectious and non-infectious agents of disease, disease transmission, biological defense mechanisms, co-evolution of man and microbes, the effects of nutritional deficiency and excess, effects of respiratory exposures, the biology of cancer, aging, and other topics. Each student completing this course should be able to knowledgeably participate in a discussion of related health problems with a basic understanding of the terminology, and the underlying biological mechanisms. [ 4 cr.] [ 4 cr.]
This course provides an in-depth understanding of the essential concepts of marketing and their application to health care. Students gain a working knowledge of marketing tools (such as pricing, promotion, channels, consumer behavior, brand equity, and segmentation) and how to use them. Students build practical applied skills in analyzing marketing problems and developing marketing programs and strategies, with particular attention to health care and its organizational structures, financing, technologies, market demands, laws, and regulations. Students also expand their understanding of the differences and similarities between marketing in for-profit and not-for-profit health care organizations, and they increase their appreciation of the role of data collection, analysis, interpretation, and management in marketing decisions. [ 4 cr.] [ 4 cr.]
Provides an overview of the professional principles and practices in public relations for corporate, governmental, agency and nonprofit organizations. Includes history, organization, and scope of the field; its roots in social science; types of campaigns and programs; and professional ethics. Theories, strategies, and tactics in current practice emphasized and applied to health communication. Explores opportunities and requirements for work in the field. Students will learn to apply the basic public relations campaign planning model and examine public relations specialty practice areas including media relations, community relations, government relations, crisis communication, investor relations and employee communication. [ 4 cr.] [ 4 cr.]
An overview of the theories, practices, and techniques in the emerging field of interactive marketing communications (IAMC). Students gain an understanding of the strategy and tactics of IAMC and its place in the more comprehensive field of marketing communications. In addition, students review IAMC's relationship to and its effects on society, culture, and the economic system. The course will explore almost all the ways interactive marketing can be practiced via the Internet: historical introduction, dotcom era, basic principles, database marketing, etail, email, search (SEO & SEM/PPC), display advertising, social networking, gaming, mobile, et al. [ 4 cr.] [ 4 cr.]
Students learn publicity techniques used in mass media communication, including working with daily and weekly newspapers, magazines, radio, television, film and online media. The course will examine the principles and practices of working with mass media "gatekeepers" to accomplish campaign objectives as well as strategies and tactics for communicating directly with audiences through new media. Students will develop knowledge and skills related to the production and use of media relations tools with a focus on health communication. Case studies will be employed to understand the challenges and opportunities inherent in working with mass media as well as the special demands and practices associated with crisis communication. The course will also explore the emerging role of interactive and social media. [ 4 cr.] [ 4 cr.]
Health communication is an emerging field in which professional communicators inform, influence and motivate individual, institutional, and public audiences about important health issues. This course examines theories of interpersonal, organizational, and mass communication relevant to the professional communicator in the health field. Reviews strategies of persuasion, the relationship between attitudes and behavior, and the changing nature of health and health delivery in the United States, and evaluates successful and unsuccessful health information campaigns. [ 4 cr.]
Introduces students to the methodology of communication research. Particular attention will be paid to pre- and post-campaign communication research. The course includes both qualitative and quantitative approaches. Student will learn the nature of scientific logic, computer literature searches, research design, questionnaire construction, sampling, measurement techniques, and data analysis. The course will also explore the use of focus groups, experiments, surveys, and content analysis to inform and evaluate health communication campaigns. [ 4 cr.]
Clear and persuasive writing is arguably the most fundamental tool in the contemporary health communicator's toolbox. Essential writing qualities including clarity, cohesion, and concision will be emphasized throughout this course alongside advanced grammar, sentence structure and writing mechanics. The course aims to build advanced writing knowledge and skill upon the foundation each student brings to the classroom. Students will be exposed to a variety of traditional and online writing formats common to the field of health communication. Students will be required to analyze diverse audiences and refine writing strategies, style, vocabulary and levels of formality to accommodate each audience. Requires extensive writing, rewriting and editing assignments. [ 4 cr.]
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