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308.615.81 the Opioid Crisis: Problem Solving Seminar

Health Policy and Management
1st term
3 credits
Academic Year:
2017 - 2018
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Christina Potter
Course Instructor :

Introduction to Online Learning is required prior to participating in any of the School's Internet-based courses.


An epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose is sweeping the United States. Political leaders, health departments, and the healthcare system have not been able to develop effective responses. This course will examine this crisis by critically evaluating available data, science, and policy options in their political context.

Uses interactive case-based and problem-based strategies to provide an overview of the impact of the opioid crisis in the United States. Enables students to develop skills to address different aspects of the opioid crisis. Addresses topics including stigma attached to opioid use and treatment of opioid use disorders, the development of strategies to address such stigma, the importance of data in identifying opportunities for response, assessment of current policy options for addressing the opioid crisis in the United States, and addressing the political challenges to support effective policymaking. Prepares students to undertake data collection at the state level.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Express the practical challenges of using data in confronting a rapidly evolving public health crisis
  2. Recognize the importance of cultural norms such as stigma in shaping the policy environment, and develop strategies for addressing stigma
  3. Construct a system-level intervention that employs effective strategies to address the opioid epidemic
  4. Distinguish between popular strategies that are unlikely to work and unpopular strategies that have a stronger evidence base for effectiveness
  5. Prepare a policy memo sensitive to both policy imperatives and political considerations
Methods of Assessment:

Class Participation (15%), Includes:
- Attendance at Live Talks (5%)
- Participation in Discussion Forum Assignments (5%)
- Peer Review of Final Presentations (5%)
Individual Assignments (45%), Includes:
- State Data Topic Summary (15%)
- Letter to the Editor Addressing Stigma (15%)
- State Policy Area Summary (15%)
Final Group project (40%), Includes:
- State Policy Memo (20%)
- Final Presentation (20%)

Enrollment Restriction:

undergraduate students are not permitted in this course

Instructor Consent:

Consent required for some students

Consent Note:

Non-DrPH and Non-MPH Bloomberg Fellows must obtain permission from instructor in order to register

For consent, contact:

Jointly Offered With: