Course Descriptions

Year One

HSERV 531: Population Health & Community Development

Instructors: Deb HincheyStephen BezruchkaGita KrishnaswamySharon BoganPeter House and Brett Niessen

Credits: 6

This course presents a big-picture view of population health, encouraging students to consider the basic elements that determine the health of populations and asking the difficult question of why the richest and most powerful country in world history is so unhealthy. Students are challenged to question their innate views of health and what produces it by comparing the United States with other rich and poor countries over time, looking at structural factors affecting health in each. Recognizing the power of communities to advance the public's health and well-being, this course emphasizes specific skills and actions in examining three challenges: 1) recognizing and describing public health problems, 2) assessing the health status, needs, wants and resources of communities, and 3) building community and organizing for social action.


HSERV 533: Analytic Methods – Epidemiology & Biostatistics

Instructors: Ann Vander Stoep and Gita Krishnaswamy

Credits: 6

In this course students learn how to measure adverse health outcomes such as disease rates and mortality and risk factors such as environmental exposure, and examine the causal relationships between them. Special emphasis is given to learning how to read and evaluate scientific literature, analyze public health data and clearly present complex quantitative information.


HSERV 534: Environmental Health

Instructors: Wayne TurnbergTania Busch Isaksen and Eyob Mazengia

Credits: 2

This course provides an overview of the baseline scientific principles and practices in the field of environmental public health. Using case studies, students examine the burden of disease from environmental and occupational exposures and how these outcomes can be modified, reduced and eliminated by various control practices.


HSERV 535: Health Behavior & Health Promotion

Instructors: Sarah Ross-VilesKaren Hartfield and Hilary Karasz

Credits: 4

This course provides an overview of the theories behind and practice of planning, designing, implementing and evaluating public health promotion programs. It examines the theoretical basis for health-related behaviors, with an emphasis on issues related to understanding and modifying these behaviors. This includes theoretical and practical content on identifying and involving target audiences in program development; selecting and designing effective interventions based on health behavior theory and community needs; program implementation and health communication strategies.


HSERV 579: Structural Racism & Public Health

Instructors: Tara Bostock and Omid Bagheri Garakani

Credits: 1

This course introduces the concept of structural racism and how it undermines public health. It explores the history of racism and examines internalized racism to look at how racism acts as a barrier to health equity. The course also considers the role of the public health practitioner in addressing racism — structurally, institutionally and individually.


Year Two

HSERV 537: Health Policy

Instructors: Amy HagopianAaron Katz and Gerry Pollet

Credits: 6

This course focuses on how public health policy is developed and who develops it. Topics include the many stakeholder interests involved in public health policy and the relationship between these public decisions and the workings of the marketplace. Students explore the complex array of factors that affect public policy, how science and community values intertwine in health policy development, and how context (including ideology, culture and history) influences the structure of and changes to a nation's health system.


HSERV 538: Participatory Evaluation & Community Engagement

Instructors: Amy HagopianIan Painter, Susan Buskin, Bill Daniell and Roxana Norouzi 

Credits: 6

This course builds on the basic concepts of evaluation that students were introduced to in the first year of the program and brings in new concepts, analytic tools and skills for program evaluation and health policy development. Case studies will explore issues related to program evaluation in both the United States and developing countries. Students develop a real or fictional program evaluation by reviewing various evaluation designs and methods, collecting and analyzing relevant data, drawing conclusions, reporting findings and making use of the evaluation results.


HSERV 540: Management & Planning

Instructors: Katie BellChris Hurley and Elise Chayet

Credits: 6

This course focuses on the role of managers and the competencies and skills they need to carry out their responsibilities. Case studies will examine the breadth, depth and complexity of the managerial role, reflecting the manager's responsibilities within an organization and how it relates to its environment. These cases are generally, but not always, set within the broader context of a functioning health department. The course concludes with students spending several weeks assembling their personal public health portfolios.