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Systems Science in Public Health: Basic Modeling and Simulation Methods


East Baltimore
4th term
International Health
3 credits
Academic Year:
2019 - 2020
Class Times:
  • Wednesday,  3:30 - 6:20pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor s:
Bruce Lee

221.654.81 Systems Thinking in Public Health


Mathematical and computational modeling and simulation methods have helped transform many industries and fields such as manufacturing, transportation, communications, and finance and are increasingly being used in public health. As the use of such methods continues to grow, regardless of one’s eventual role in public health, familiarity with such approaches and methods will likely become more and more important in the future.

Introduces students to mathematical and computational modeling and simulation methods that can help public health decision makers better understand and improve various systems in public health. Addresses the basic concepts of mathematical and computational modeling and simulation. Covers probability theory, decision analysis, Markov models, compartment models, and systems dynamics models, as well as basics of economic and operational modeling. Introduces TreeAge, and VenSim software. Offers examples of public health systems including both communicable and non-communicable disease control programs (e.g., vaccines, medications, and non-pharmaceutical interventions), dietary and physical activity behaviors and interventions, and healthcare systems and healthcare policy.

Learning Objectives:

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

  1. Evaluate and critique a mathematical or computational model and its results
  2. Develop a basic mathematical/computational model and apply it to public health issue/questions
  3. Translate modeling results to public health decision-making
Methods of Assessment:

Final Project 50%; Exam 20%; Paper Critique 20%; Class Participation 10%

Instructor Consent:

No consent required