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Translating Research Into Public Health Programs and Policy

4th term
Health Behavior and Society
3 credits
Academic Year:
2022 - 2023
Instruction Method:
Asynchronous Online with Some Synchronous Online
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Undergrads Allowed:
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor:
Sara Neelon

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


Students may wish to take this course if they are interested in the role that research plays or does not play in influencing public health programs and policies. Students are exposed in their training to both research and public health programs and policies, with little emphasis on how the two intersect and interact. This course attempts to address that gap.

Examines how behavioral research (especially intervention research) is used, and not used, by policy makers and program administrators to determine what public health services are delivered. Defines the major types of decisions made in determining services to deliver in public health programs and major decision analytic methods used to aid these selections. Includes these types of decisions: (1) how much to invest in service for one disease area relative to another, (2) determining if an intervention is affordable for large-scale delivery, and (3) choosing how much to invest in each of several different types of services within one disease area. Includes methods decision tree analysis, cost analysis, and cost-utility analysis.

Learning Objectives:

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

  1. Identify the roles behavioral research can play in informing program and policy decisions and ways to make research more applicable
  2. Identify ways to make behavioral research more applicable to public health programs and policies
  3. Describe the ways in which each of the decision analytics methods have been used or not used in public health settings;
  4. Explain the critical importance of empirical evidence in advancing public health knowledge;
  5. Evaluate policies for their impact on public health and health equity;
  6. Discuss the dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of research and ethics;
  7. Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy, or practice;
  8. Describe ways that research has been used to inform public health programs and policies related to obesity, marijuana, and HIV/AIDS
  9. Identify and conduct decision analytics that can be used to inform public health programs and policies;
Methods of Assessment:

This course is evaluated as follows:

  • 45% Writing Assignments
  • 15% Researcher Interview
  • 15% Discussion Board
  • 25% Final Paper

Instructor Consent:

No consent required