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The Opioid Crisis: Problem Solving Seminar

1st term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Asynchronous Online with Some Synchronous Online
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructors:
Sean Allen

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 are working 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:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 60% Written Assignment(s)
  • 25% Group Project(s)
  • 15% Participation

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: