Skip Navigation

Health Policy and Management

Public Health Informatics Track

The focus of the Public Health Informatics Track is to offer training in methods and concepts of health informatics for application to public health and population health management.

The track curriculum is designed for public health professionals or population health managers who wish to develop an area of expertise or specialization in this emerging field. The track's curriculum is based on the wider DrPH curriculum in Health Policy and Management, but also includes a variety of specialized courses in Core Informatics, Database Methods, Biosurveillance, IT Project Management, Human Factors, Privacy and Security, and other areas.   This track targets those who have Master's level training related to public health, informatics, computer sciences, or healthcare management.


The competencies for the track in Public Health Informatics are met through required and elective coursework, independent research, and the process of writing a dissertation.  Upon successful completion, students will have mastered the school-wide, department and track competencies:

Foundational (School-wide) Program Competencies:

  • Identify, synthesize and apply evidence based public health research and theory from a broad range of disciplines and health related data sources for problem solving and to advance programs, policies, and systems promoting population health.
  • Identify and analyze ethical issues including balancing the claims of personal liberty with the responsibility to protect and improve the health of the population; and act on the ethical concepts of social justice and human rights in public health research and practice.
  • Influence decision-making regarding policies and practices that advance public health using scientific knowledge, analysis, communication and consensus building.
  • Assess and use communication strategies across diverse audiences to inform and influence individual, organization, community and policy actions in order to promote the health of the public.
  • Enable organizations and communities to create, communicate and apply shared visions, missions and values; inspire trust and motivate others; build capacity; improve performance, enhance the quality of the working environment; and use evidence-based strategies to enhance public health.
  • Design and evaluate system-level and programmatic initiatives in multidisciplinary teams so as to promote public health outcomes and health equity.

Track Competencies

  • Analyze the state of the science and current research and policy issues related to the foundation of public health informatics.  Explain how informatics can be leveraged to improve the practice of public health and enhance the overall role of public health organizations.
  • Characterize and critically evaluate the integration of different domains of public health informatics such as biosurveillance, decision support, predictive modeling, and population stratification with underlying clinical informatics systems such as electronic health records or laboratory information systems.
  • Evaluate a given public or population health information system based on different criteria such as standardized message-exchange protocols, common classification systems, governance structures, and embedded decision support systems.
  • Comprehend a number of essential informatics skills such as: client-server structure and its relationship to web based languages and database management systems; design, implementation, integration and analysis of relational databases; and client-or server-side programming for public health informatics.
  • Critically analyze and evaluate various informatics solutions for public or population health management interventions based on different criteria such as architecture and dynamics, interoperability and standards, security and integration, privacy and ethical issues, and interactivity and human factors.
  • Articulate the proper informatics management tools for an organization to implement solutions that assure confidentiality, security, integrity and legal compliance while maximizing the availability of information for public health use.


Required Non-credit Courses

  • Introduction to Online Learning (required for all JHSPH students prior to enrolling in online courses)
  • Title IX and Harassment Prevention Training (Students and Non-supervisors)
  • Academic and Research Ethics
  • HPM DrPH Graduate Seminar
  • School-wide DrPH Online Seminar– Developing a Dissertation (optional)

Required Foundational Courses

  • Problem-based Course 1 – The Opioid Crisis: Problem Solving Seminar, 3 credits
  • Problem-based Course 2 – Protecting the Environment and Safeguarding Worker Health: A Problem-based Approach, 3 credits
  • Problem-based Course 3 – Tackling the Intersectoral Challenge of Antimicrobial Resistance: Problem Solving Seminar, 3 credits
  • Problem-based Course 4 – Vaccine Safety, 3 credits
  • Foundations of Organizational Leadership, 3 credits
  • Applied Leadership Development, 3 credits
  • Making Effective Public Presentations, 2 credits
  • Case Studies in Communicating with the Media, 1 credit
  • Educational Leadership, 3 credits
  • Dissertation work, 8 credits (minimum)

Required Data Analysis

Choose at least 4 credits from the following:

  • Professional Epidemiological Methods: Decision Making in Health Situation Analysis, 2 credits
  • Statistical Methods in Public Health IV, 4 credits
  • Multilevel Models, 2 credits
  • Analysis of Longitudinal Data, 2 credits
  • Introduction to Health Survey Research Methods, 2 credits
  • Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods, 3 credits
  • Introduction to Qualitative Data Analysis for Public Health, 2 credits

Required Health Policy & Management Concentration Prerequisites

  • Managing Health Services Organizations, 4 credits OR Fundamentals of Management for Health Care Organizations, 3 credits
  • Introduction to the U.S. Healthcare System, 4 credits

Required Public Health Informatics Track Courses

  • Strategic Planning, 3 credits
  • Managed Care and Health Insurance, 3 credits
  • Introduction to Biomedical and Public Health Informatics, 3 credits
  • Leading Change through Health IT, 3 credits
  • Health Information Systems: Design to Deployment, 3 credits
  • HIT Standards and Systems Inoperability, 3 credits
  • Health Sciences Informatics: Knowledge Engineering and Decision Support, 3 credits
  • Population Health Informatics, 3 credits
  • Informatics Databases and Methods Course, 3 credits OR GIS & Surveillance Course, 3 credits (Recommended options available in DrPH Handbook)
  • Informatics Project Management Course (Recommended options available in DrPH Handbook)
  • One additional elective course (Recommended options available in DrPH Handbook)

Sample Dissertation Titles

Selected titles of dissertations from graduates of the HPM DrPH concentration are below.

  • Comparing the Utility of Alternative Measures of Financial Performance for Predicting Conversion to Critical Access Hospitals and Closure in a National Sample of US Rural Hospitals
  • Determining the Influence of Hospital Characteristics, Market Conditions, and Financial Performance on Clinical Quality in a Sample of US Rural Hospitals
  • Reducing Registration-Associated Patient Identification Errors: A Review of Methods, Metrics, and Performance Improvement
  • Dynamics of Acute Care Patient Flow
  • Do I Stay or Do I Leave? Exploring the Factors of Employee Retention in Senior Care
  • Measuring Clinician Satisfaction and Evaluating an Electronic Health Record at a "Pace" Geriatric Care Site