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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.


Students should review the JHU e-catalogue for complete information about the certificate program curriculum and course requirements. 


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.

Applying to the certificate program as a JHU graduate student
Students already enrolled in a graduate program at JHU are not required to submit the School's electronic admissions application, but must submit declaration of intent prior to starting coursework.

Start terms: It is possible to begin the certificate program only in these terms: 1, 2, & 3


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. 



Sponsoring Departments

Health Policy and Management

Health, Behavior and Society
Population, Family and Reproductive Health

Certificate Program Contact

Pam Davis

Faculty Sponsors

Shelley Hearne

Joanna Cohen

Beth Fredrick