Skip Navigation


Public Health Advocacy


Advocacy—working for policy change and better implementation of existing policies—is crucial to public health. As research and discovery are translated into policies and programs, the accurate interpretation and use of evidence are essential to political leaders, health care providers, potential clients, and the public at large.

Certificate program coursework will allow students to engage deeply with core theories and skills in public health advocacy, and to augment these with an understanding of how to apply these in a variety of policy and geographic settings. The certificate program will complement students’ options for training in public health policy making with theoretical and practical insights into the role of advocacy in this process. 


The primary goal of the certificate is to develop students’ abilities to translate research into practice, use evidence to inform public health policy, shift social norms and attitudes, and improve public health. The curriculum enables students to understand advocacy methods and apply evidence. Additionally, the program offers practical experience in public health advocacy. 

Upon successful completion of the certificate program, students will be able to:

1.   Discuss the role of political actors inside and outside governments in developing and implementing health policy

2. Identify other actors in the policy making process and how actors such as the media help shape policy

3. Improve policies and laws and their development, adoption, and implementation 

4. Increase and influence better use of resources for interventions and scientific inquiry 

5. Set agendas in policy circles and the media environment through higher visibility and understanding of issues

6. Shift public attitudes, behaviors, and social norms toward better public health.



The certificate program is open to currently enrolled masters and doctoral students at the Bloomberg School of Public Health, with the exception of MAS students who are not eligible to apply until they have completed their primary degree program. It is also open to students in graduate programs in other divisions within the Johns Hopkins University.


Applicants should review the How to Apply page for information about eligibility and special instructions. The certificate program's review committee will review the applications and notify each applicant of their admissions decision.


The certificate requires a minimum of 18 term credits. All required and elective courses must be taken for a letter grade; a minimum grade of C is required in all certificate coursework and students must maintain a 2.75 or better overall GPA for all certificate coursework. The certificate program length is flexible; it varies from student to student, however, the certificate must be completed within three years.

The student should review the section of the website that addresses completion before completing certificate program requirements. The student's transcript will not indicate that the certificate was earned until the Notification of Completion has been submitted, verified by the certificate program, and processed by the Registrar. 


Students should check the course catalog to confirm when courses are offered. The term and time may change from what is listed in the table below and some courses are only offered every other year. Students should also check for prerequisites and whether instructor consent is required.


Course No.

Course Title

No. Credits

Online Term

Campus Term


Introduction to Online Learning

All students are required to complete this free course before taking other online courses.

01,2,3,4, Summer-

Academic & Research Ethics at JHSPH

All students are required to complete this free online course during their first term of study.

01,2,3,4, S, SI, WI-

Required Core Courses (Students must complete a minimum of 9 credits) 

Students must complete 301.645 AND 410.663; students must also complete EITHER 410.672 OR BOTH 410.677 AND 410.678

301.645Health Advocacy3-4
410.663Media Advocacy and Public Health: Theory and Practice3-4
410.672Introduction to Campaigning and Organizing for Public Health 3S,3-
410.677 & 410.678Theory and Practice in Campaigning and Organizing for Public Health I and II8-


Elective courses. Students must complete a minimum of 9 credits, UNLESS they opted to take 410.677 and 410.678 as required courses, in which case only 4 elective credits are required.

221.633Policy Advocacy in Low and Middle-Income Countries: Application for Real World Challenges2-SI
221.631Evaluation Methods for Injury Interventions33-
221.650Health Policy Analysis in Low and Middle Income Countries 3-3
300.600Introduction to Health Policy41-
300.610Public Health Policy4-S
300.650Crisis and Response in Public Health Policy and Practice3-2
300.652Politics of Health Policy4-4
300.712Formulating Policy: Strategies and Systems of Policy Making in the 21st century3-2
301.627Understanding and Preventing Violence3-2
306.625Ethical Issues in Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care3-2
306.650Public Health and the Law3-3
308.604Effective Writing for Public Health Change3-SI
312.693Introduction to Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research31-
317.610Risk Policy, Management and Communication342
330.667Mental Health and the Law3-3
380.681Strategic Leadership Principles and Tools for Health System transformation in Developing Countries4-2
380.771Understanding and Changing International Reproductive Health Policy3-4
380.880, 380.881, 380.882 & 380.883Lessons in Leadership: Application for Population, Family and Reproductive Health I, II, III & IV



-1,2,3, &4

Tobacco Control Leadership

Course cancelled and will not be offered after 2017-18 academic year.

410.653Contemporary Issues in Health Communication1-1
410.668Policy Interventions for Health Behavior Change3-2
550.608Problem Solving in Public Health 4-SI, FI, WI

Course that has been cancelled but will still fulfill certificate program requirements, if taken before the course stopped being offered: 410.642


Sponsoring Departments

Health Policy and Management

Health, Behavior and Society
Population, Family and Reproductive Health

Certificate Program Contact

Pam Davis


Faculty Sponsors

Robert Blum, MD

Joanna Cohen, PhD

Shelley Hearne, DrPH



In accordance with US Department of Education regulations, the JHU Bloomberg School of Public Health is required to disclose graduation rate data, median loan debt data, and other select information for all Title IV eligible gainful employment programs. To see the most recent data available for this gainful employment program, please view this disclosure.