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Health Policy and Management

Sample Course Offerings from 2016

Below is a sample of courses offered in prior Fall Institutes. The 2017 Fall Institute course schedule will be made available in late spring.


Climate Change Adaptation in Public Health: Large World Cities, 317.700.98

3 credits
Instructors: Drs. Mary Sheehan and Marc Marí-Dell'Olmo

Warmer temperatures, sea-level rise and more frequent and unpredictable severe storms brought by climate change pose major challenges for public health policy makers and practitioners. The policy challenge is to develop and implement strategies and programs to protect populations from a growing number of adverse health outcomes, including heat stress and heat stroke, injuries, and vector-borne disease. Students who are future public health policy and practice leaders will gain policy and practice tools that will help public health departments in the effort to adapt to climate change.

This course provides an overview of the science behind climate change and highlights the particular risks of global mega-cities due to their concentrated populations, urban heat-island effect, frequent proximity to coasts and rivers, and locus of transport and trade. The WHO and US CDC Guides to Vulnerability for Public Health and the UN Habitat Guide to Vulnerability Assessment for Cities will be used to identify populations at greatest risk from climate impacts. Critically evaluates through case studies actual climate and health adaptive policies as they are implemented in real-life contexts in several large, innovative world cities including San Francisco, London, Rio de Janeiro, Durban, and Copenhagen.

A special presentation will be made by the City of Barcelona Climate Adaptation Team.


Problem Solving in Public Health, 550.608.98

4 credits
Instructors: Ms. Dana Sleicher, Dr. Cyrus Engineer and Mrs. Francesca Sánchez

This course serves as an integrated introduction to the field of public health, offering definitions of health and public health, a comparison of the fields of public health and medicine, and an introduction to a broad array of current public health issues. The main focus of the course is to help students develop an effective, coherent approach to solving public health problems. Public health work is rarely conducted in isolation: Students will work in teams to develop their skills in the use of a public health framework for addressing public health challenges—and opportunities.

The Problem Solving Framework used in the course contains a series of sequential steps: defining the problem; measuring its magnitude; understanding the key determinants; identifying and developing intervention and prevention strategies; setting priorities and recommending policies; implementing intervention strategies; and evaluating the interventions. Effective communication strategies are critical at all stages of the Problem Solving framework, and the human rights impact of each step is actively considered.


Transportation Policy and Health, 305.630.98

2 credits
Instructors: Drs. Keshia Pollack and Catherine Pérez

Through readings, lectures, and interactive discussion, students learn that intersectoral collaborations between public health and the transportation sector can promote options that meet transportation goals, as well as maximize the health-promoting aspects of transportation and mitigate its adverse health impacts.

This course provides an overview of the significant effect of transportation on health in terms of safety, air quality, physical activity, noise pollution, and equitable access to opportunities, and importance of this sector for public health. Covers topics including, transportation policies that (a) promote safe travel by vehicle, aviation, and rail, (b) foster active transportation (e.g., walking, bicycling), (c) expand public transportation, (d) address air quality and the built environment; and (e) promote equitable access. Uses case studies to highlight transportation policies that have been developed and implemented at the federal, state, and local levels, and describes how they have promoted health or had the unintended consequence of adversely affecting health.


The Tools of Public Health Practice and Decision Making, 300.603.98

3 credits
Instructors: Ms. Beth Resnick and Dr. Joan R. Villalbí

This course will introduce the core functions of public health and the core competencies for public health professionals. Students will assess their strengths and academic goals while building their toolbox of public health competencies. Case studies will be used to present competencies and will include topics such as management and personnel decision making, cultural sensitivity, communicating with the media, outbreak and emergency response. Some elements of the public health problem solving approach will be presented and integrated into the case examples.


Analysis of Longitudinal Data, 140.608.98

2 credits
Instructors: Dr. Elizabeth Colantuoni and Mr. Xavier Bartoll

This course covers statistical models for drawing scientific inferences from longitudinal data. Topics include longitudinal study design; exploring longitudinal data; linear and generalized linear regression models for correlated data, including marginal, random effects, and transition models; and handling missing data.


Suicide as a Public Health Problem, 330.674.98

3 credits
Instructors: Dr. Holly Wilcox, Diana E. Clarke, and Jordi Alonso

This course introduces students to the following content areas with regard to suicide: history and theories; epidemiology; etiological factors and mechanisms; clinical phenomenology and comorbid disorders; assessment of suicidal behaviors; special populations; preventive and treatment interventions; ethical issues on the conduct of research on suicidal populations.


Patient Safety and Medical Errors, 309.730.98

3 credits
Instructors: Dr. Albert Wu

This course provides an introduction to the science of safety, and how it relates to problems with patient safety in health care. Explains the role of both individuals and systems in improving patient safety. Reviews institutional responses to adverse events, including the topics of risk management and medical malpractice. Emphasizes the importance of communication and teamwork. Students learn the basics of conducting an incident investigation, gain an understanding of the advantages and limitations of error reporting, learn how to disclose errors and adverse events, and learn models for improving safety in hospitals and other health care organizations from both the micro and macro points of view.


Special Studies: Crisis Response in Public Health Practice: International Perspectives, 302.843.98

2 credits
Instructors: Dr. Joshua Sharfstein

Firefighters battle fires; police officers fight crime. Public health officials capture the public’s attention during crises, such as infectious disease outbreaks, panic over tainted food or other household products, weather-related disasters, and high profile disputes with regulated industries. This course brings the concept of crisis to center stage in order to prepare future and current public health officials for crisis.

This course examines crises from the point of view of an agency leader responsible for designing and implementing an effective response while maintaining credibility and securing long-term policy change. Recent crises to be discussed include: global response to Ebola and Zika, responses to regulatory failures, foodborne outbreaks, and vaccine controversies. Offers students an opportunity to apply their knowledge by proposing a crisis response plan for a public health agency. Note, this is not a course in emergency preparedness or disaster planning.


Social Determinants of Health Inequalities for the 21st Century, 308.847.98

3 days
Instructor: Drs. Joan Benach and M. Isabel Pasarín Rua

In many countries, Public Health research on health inequities has become an emergent topic, with most perspectives still based on limited risk factor analyses and narrow life-style and biological perspectives. This course introduces an approach based on a systemic transdisciplinary approach.

Embracing a systemic approach, focusing on emergent concepts, models, and methods based on intertwined disciplines, this course introduces a transdisciplinary systemic integrated approach to exam complex challenges such as obesity or addition. Advances at the upstream (e.g. political institutions and power relations), midstream (e.g. employment precarization), and downstream levels (e.g., behaviours and biological factors) will be reviewed, including explanatory case studies and the evaluation of policies and interventions to tackle health inequities.


SS/R: Introduction to Environmental Health, 180.841.98

3 credits
Instructors: Drs. Keeve Nachman and Ms. Natalia Valero

This course examines health issues, scientific understanding of causes, and possible future approaches to control of the major environmental health problems in industrialized and developing countries. Topics include physical, chemical, and biological agents of environmental contamination; solid and hazardous waste; susceptible populations; biomarkers and risk analysis; the scientific basis for policy decisions; and emerging global environmental health problems.


The Impact of the Financial, Economic and Political Crises on Health, Quality of Life and Well-Being of Population, 308.605.98

3 credits
Instructor: Dr. Vicente Navarro

This course analyzes the causes for the current worldwide crisis, both in developed and developing countries, with a special emphasis on the United States/Canada and Europe. Focus will be placed on the consequences of those crises on health and social policies that affect the quality, well-being and health of populations. The crisis will be considered from the political economy, social policy and health policy perspectives.