Skip Navigation

Course Directory

Crisis and Response in Public Health Policy and Practice

East Baltimore
3rd term
Health Policy and Management
3 credits
Academic Year:
2021 - 2022
Instruction Method:
Hybrid In-person and Synchronous Online
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  1:30 - 2:50pm
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Mary Sewell

It has famously been said that one should never let a good crisis go to waste. Public health has never done so. From the sulfanilamide and thalidomide scandals that forged the modern FDA, to the scares that forever changed vaccine policy, to the recent Ebola crisis that could reshape international health, much in public health policy has emerged in response to a real or perceived catastrophe.

Studies the phenomenon of crises in public health. Demonstrates, from a historical perspective, how much of U.S. public health policy traces back to crises and responses that riveted public attention. Explains how substantial increases in FDA authority came about through serial crises in drug, device, food and tobacco markets. Shows that modern vaccine infrastructure emerged out of both disease and vaccine-related crises. Reviews, from a management perspective, how public health leaders at all levels respond to crises – the good, the bad and the ugly. Explores, from a strategic perspective, how health officials effectively manage crisis and response in order to win significant policy advances. Uses past and present examples to understand the role of crisis, how public health leaders respond during a crisis, and how a crisis can be an opportunity to bring about long-term change. Discusses these issues in an international context.

Learning Objectives:

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

  1. Describe the central role of crises in the development of food and medical product regulation in the United States
  2. Explain how the progress of the vaccination effort has been linked to the perceptions of how well or how poorly crises have been handled
  3. Analyze key elements of effective and ineffective day-to-day responses to crises at the local, state, national, and global levels
  4. Articulate how public health leaders can manage existing crises effectively to win significant, long-term policy advances
  5. Evaluate the pros and cons of public health leaders' deliberate use of the language of crisis
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 10% Participation
  • 30% Final Exam
  • 60% Paper(s)

Instructor Consent:

No consent required

Special Comments:

This is the onsite section of a course also held virtual/online. You are responsible for the modality in which you register.