MPH@GW Cross-University Courses

The following courses are available from MPH@GW, the online Master of Public Health from the Milken Institute School of Public Health at the George Washington University:

Biological Concepts for Public Health
The goals of this course are (1) to provide an overview of current knowledge about the biologic mechanisms of diseases that are major causes of death and disability in both developed and developing countries; (2) to understand and interpret the reciprocal relationships of genetic, environmental, and behavioral determinants of health and disease within an ecologic context; and (3) to provide opportunities to analyze, discuss, and communicate biologic principles of disease across the biologic and public health spectrum.

Environmental & Occupational Health in a Sustainable World
This introductory course examines the connection between population health and exposures to chemical, physical, and biological agents in the environment. Through the use of problem-solving frameworks, students will become familiar with key data and information sources, methodologies, and policy approaches that address the public health impacts of environmental and occupational health hazards, including the consequences of climate change, demands on natural resources, and industrial and agricultural production. The course will integrate key concepts of environmental health with principles of sustainability to illustrate how public policies and practices on the local, national, and global levels affect population health.

Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health
This course is part of the MPH core curriculum. It examines the complex relationships between social context, behavior, and health at both the individual and community level. It identifies key social and behavioral aspects of health in the United States and throughout the world and presents theories that facilitate interventions aimed at improving health and well-being.

Principles and Practice of Epidemiology
This course will introduce the general principles, methods, and applications of epidemiology, the basic science of public health. We will be using a textbook that places an emphasis on current methodologic concepts in epidemiology and will also introduce students to newer conceptual models of disease causation. The course is designed for all public health students who will be consumers of epidemiologic literature and for those who will be practicing epidemiologists. Topics covered in the course include; approach and evolution of epidemiology, history of epidemiology, outbreak investigation, measures and comparisons of disease occurrence in populations, major sources of health data in the US and globally, analysis and interpretation of disease patterns, hypothesis development and testing, study design, including a discuss of all of the major epidemiologic designs, analysis of bias and confounding and methods for assessing and for controlling for its effects, concepts of disease causation, screening, public health surveillance, and critical evaluation and synthesis of research. Lectures and case studies include applications of the theory and practice of epidemiology to cancer, other chronic disease, and infectious diseases.

Policy and Management Approaches to Public Health
This course provides an introduction to basic principles, concepts and skills related to public health management and policy. The course focuses on management and policy approaches to public health at three different levels: the system, the organization, and the group/individual level. A third of the course will concentrate on the larger, system issues surrounding the organization, financing, and delivery of health services in the United States along with policy typologies/frameworks and the legal basis for health policy interventions. A third of the course will also examine policy and management at the organization level. During this segment, we will explore organization theory and design, organization change, financial management, and crafting a policy analysis for an organizational decision-maker. The last third of the course will be dedicated to the group and individual. Here, we will explore personnel management, teams and team performance, and communication. Throughout the course, the interrelated nature of management and policy will be reinforced.

Biostatistical Applications for Public Health
Application of biostatistical principles to critical analysis of retrospective studies, prospective studies and controlled clinical trials, as well as studies in the health services literature. Selection, basic calculations and interpretation of statistical methods for detection of significant associations and differences.

Planning and Administration of Health Promotion/Disease Prevention Programs
In this course students will develop skills to effectively plan, implement and manage programs that address public health problems for defined populations in a variety of settings. 

Comparative Global Health Systems
Examines what national health systems are, how they differ, and how they are performing. Health systems will be analyzed through four different lenses: Health Care Organization; Health Workforce Development; Health Care Financing and Health Policy Development. The course compares health systems and health reforms in seven regions of the world and draws lessons on how health system performance might be improved. 

Global Health Program Evaluation
Students will gain skills in the fundamentals of program evaluation and monitoring methods. Students will also understand the evaluation aspects of major international health programs such as the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and the President’s Malaria Initiative. Country-specific case studies will be used as synthesizing tools to review major concepts and assess student knowledge of key concepts.

Introduction to Public Health Communication and Marketing
Communication theories and methods used in promoting health and preventing disease. Theoretical background in communication and behavior science and practical communication development methods. 

Introduction to U.S. Health Care System
Introduction to the systems that define and shape delivery of health services in the United States. Case studies and presentations on major issues develop an appreciation of dilemmas confronting policymakers, providers and patients: balancing cost, quality and access. Access and disparity, health care professions, facilities, managed care organizations and government health care programs. Policy changes that have had major impact on American health care in the past century.

Qualitative Research Methods
The course examines the fundamental concepts of empirical analysis and qualitative analysis. Topics covered include open and axial coding, the basis of “Grounded Theory,” and regression analysis.

Qualitative Methods in Health Promotion
Application of qualitative methods in the development of health promotion interventions, evaluations, and research. Collecting and analyzing qualitative data through participant observation, interviewing, group methods, and case studies.

Global Health Program Development & Implementation
Basic concepts and principles of program development and implementation including data collection methods, decision making, and problem-solving techniques. Application of program development techniques to specific interventions.

Community Organization, Development and Advocacy
Educates health promotion practitioners in how to organize community groups to promote health. The focus is on learning how to use resources available in the community to advocate change.

Public Health and Law
Examines how law can both promote and impede the public’s health. Introduces students to the legal concepts that underlie the public health system and that inform public health policymaking in the United States. Topics to be covered include the role of law in public health care and policy (e.g., governmental powers vs. civil liberties, regulation of public health, tobacco regulation), managed care and public health, the role of public health officials in shaping law and policy, and public health law reform.

Global Health Communication Interventions
Examines social marketing theory with specific emphasis on public health, including social marketing campaign design, best practices for implementation, and evaluation methodology. It will cover applied techniques for domestic and international markets. It is an introduction to the importance of public/private partnerships in development and to stakeholders in social marketing organizations.

Advanced Public Health Communications
Focuses on the use of communication to positively influence people’s – and population’s – understanding of health information, decision-making, and health behavior. In this skills-based course, students will study, and in a group project apply, a range of theories and techniques germane to effective message design and delivery.

Global Health Data Collection
Provides further depth to understand data collection in a global health setting. Methodologies include survey design, interviewing, and participant observation. Archival research and clinical trial research will also be discussed.

Media Advocacy for Public Health
Focuses on the use of communication to positively influence public policy and public opinion. In this skills-based course, students will study and apply a range of theories and techniques germane to the policy advocacy process.

Design and Conduct of Community Health Surveys
This course teaches students how to frame questions in health promotion surveys using sound principles of questionnaire design with emphasis on reliability and validity. Students learn survey design principles and methods and how to analyze survey data.

Social Marketing
Focuses on the use of marketing to change the behavior of people, populations, and policy makers in ways that are in their, and society’s, best interest. Students in this skills-based course will study and work in teams to apply a range of marketing strategies to a real-world situation.

Marketing Research for Public Health
Focuses on the use of marketing research techniques to better understand customers of public health programs and thereby improve program design, implementation, and effectiveness. A range of qualitative and quantitative techniques will be studied for their relevance to program planning, development, and continuous improvement. 

Global Health Policy & Analysis
Introduces policy and analytical issues that have implications for the health of populations worldwide, as well as various concepts, paradigms, practices and programs that have global health policy implications. Major areas of focus will include the role of regional and international health organizations in developing and implementing global health policies and conducting policy analyses, and the critical role of rich and poor nations in global health policy and analysis. 

Primary Health Care Policy
Explores the politics and policy of the provision of primary health care in the U.S. Covers the rise of the field of primary care and how it is supported and financed, and the role of insurers and government in regulation and oversight in the areas of access, cost, and quality.