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Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University

Health Sciences

MPH Course Descriptions

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This course provides students with techniques for studying the distributions and determinants of disease, disabilities and death in human populations; the characteristics and dynamics of human populations; and the natural history of disease and the biologic basis of health. Topics will include measurement of disease occurrence, dynamics of disease transmission, and the identification and quantification of health risks. Students review basic health research methods, covering association and causation, bias, confounding and interaction, surveys and sampling, and study design approaches such as cross-sectional, case-control and cohort studies, and randomised clinical trials.

This course introduces students to selected statistical techniques and applications for the collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and interpretation of health data; design and analysis of health-related surveys and experiments; and concepts and practice of statistical data analysis. Biostatistical methods that are essential to the practice of public health will be covered including statistical reasoning, summarisation and presentation of data, probability and decision analysis, sampling distributions, confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, sample size and statistical power, categorical and correlation analysis.

Occupational & Environmental Health.
This course will focus on identifying and understanding biological, physical and chemical factors that affect the health of people in a community and in places of employment. Naturally occurring and human contamination of air, water, and land by toxic substances and other agents will be covered. The course deals with such subjects as hazardous materials, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, noise, risk assessment, and governmental regulatory policy. Students will describe the components of successful occupational and environmental health programs. This course is designed to meet the environmental health requirement for all professional masters degree students.

Health Services Policy and Administration.
This course provides students with practical knowledge concerning the planning, organization, administration, management, evaluation and policy analysis of health programs. Multiple organizational and management approaches to integrate the various components of the health services system and hospitals, and management of the human and non-human factors to produce safe, effective and efficient health services will be studied.

Social & Behavioral Health This course explores the social dimensions of health and medical care. Concepts and methods of social and behavioral sciences relevant to the identification and the solution of public health problems will be covered.. Students will learn to identify key social and cultural principles that guide appropriateness in health care. They will be introduced to tools used to influence social expectations and personal behavior in relation to illness, health, and demand for medical treatments.

Race Ethnicity and Health. Explores the role of economic, social, and individual factors in explaining racial and ethnic health disparities, and examines intervention approaches to eliminate them. Topics include genetic and social constructions of race and ethnicity, measuring race and ethnicity, and the differences in prevalence and patterns of disease across groups; cultural and structural factors that affect health-care delivery, such as discrimination, racism, and health status; and public health approaches to prevention and improving health-care delivery. Class activities include field work.

Principles and History of Urban Health. This course focuses on the aspects of urban development and life that impact the health and well-being of city residents. Students will learn about the impact of migration patterns, built environments, occupational stratification and other cultural and community contextual factors that impact health status and health care access. The level of overall health and health care found in urban populations, particularly the urban poor, and the disproportionate impact on racial and ethnic minorities in the US and elsewhere will be examined. Public policy approaches for addressing the unique health issues of urban areas will be considered. Urban health issues will be examined both in a national and international perspective.

Urban Community Health Assessment.
This course provides tools and service learning opportunities focused on developing effective urban community health assessments designed to inform health and other policy and program development. The course covers key principles and methods of community health problem identification and analysis using community epidemiology methods and study designs. Students learn effective use of available behavioral risk and other health related population surveys as well as other population data sources including syndromic surveillance. Targeted community consultation is used to further inform data analyses. Students use outcomes of community health assessments to identify strategic responses in health and community program development, social planning, and public advocacy.

MPH Elective courses

(4 courses, 3 credits each = 12 credits)

Elective courses may be taken on a range of public health topics. Cross-departmental offerings are included in elective courses and provide MPH students with unique opportunities to focus their interests in emerging areas of urban public health practice.

Social Epidemiology.
Focuses on social epidemiology, which is defined as the study of the distribution and determinants of health in populations, related to the social and economic determinants of health. This seminar in social epidemiology includes theories, patterns, and controversies, as well as programs and policies that can be applied to address health inequalities. Each week, readings will include articles that will situate one dimension of social epidemiology, with articles addressing the empirical patterns, addressing prevailing theories and controversies regarding the causes of the inequalities, as well as addressing interventions or policies that may be applied to address the inequalities.

Strategic Management and Leadership in Healthcare.
Focuses on the key management challenges facing health-care organizations, particularly community-based agencies and their role in the public health-care delivery system, and introduces the strategic thinking and leadership approaches that must be considered for the management of a successful healthcare organization. Covers key areas of health-care management that have major implications for healthcare delivery. Selected topics include strategic planning; organizational development and understanding the barriers to organizational change; relationship management with key internal and external constituencies; marketing, financial management, and contract negotiation; evolving principles of health insurance and the changing role of the consumer; and the key elements for effective organizational leadership in today's evolving health-care marketplace. When appropriate, outside experts, will be used to supplement readings, case studies, and lecture, and discuss practical real world challenges in leading various health-care initiatives.

Health and Human Rights. Addresses the growing recognition within the field of public health that attention to human rights is essential in developing effective and sustainable health policies and programs. Provides an overview of human rights and the international documents that establish them. Reviews the impact of globalization while providing an in-depth analysis of the human rights-based approach to health through the examination of multiple case studies. Offers students an opportunity to become familiar with a human-rights framework used to design and evaluate public health policies and programs. Additionally, emphasizes educational frameworks to increase awareness of the linkages between health and human rights.

Exercise in Health and Disease. Studies the role of exercise in health and disease, including acute and chronic effects of exercise on individuals with cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, and immunology diseases and disorders. Also explores exercise prescriptions, training guidelines, and therapeutic benefits of exercise intervention and rehabilitation for individuals with heart disease, vascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, obesity, renal failure, cancer, and immunological disorders.

Health Education and Program Planning. Focuses on underlying concepts of health education and explores current health education issues that require intervention. Covers program planning models and theories used in health education. Offers students an opportunity to develop a working knowledge of the planning process for health education through the analysis of case studies and by creating a program plan to address a health issue of their choice. Provides health science students with preparation for HSCI 4710, in which they may choose to implement and evaluate their program plan.

Health Advocacy. Seeks to educate students about the role of advocacy in public health while providing tools and support to address current health care issues. Provides information and theory about advocacy, education, and community organizing in public health practice and skills geared toward direct application. Covers various techniques related to developing and conducting an advocacy project within a community setting. Offers students an opportunity to develop, communicate, and refine a community-based advocacy program.

Qualitative Methods in Health and Illness. Discusses the role of qualitative inquiry in topics related to public health and experiences of health, illness, and the body. Qualitative research aims to achieve in-depth and contextual understanding of people, culture, and societies, and usually employs texts, interviews, published materials, images, and focus group discussions as sources of data. Integrates theoretical and methodological readings and discussions with practical experience of designing and conducting a qualitative project. Aims to understand meanings of illness and the body in a variety of "local worlds" and reflect on the importance of valuing them to inform public health, research, and practice.

Public Health Nutrition.
This is a graduate level course designed to cover public health nutrition issues among individuals, communities and populations living in urban settings. It will emphasize issues about vulnerable populations living in urban settings such as ethnic minorities, women, children and the elderly. The public health nutrition knowledge to be provided during this course will be complemented with real-world activities and experiences. The knowledge and skill development provided by this course will include food and nutrition science; evaluation of specific nutrition programs; and the understanding of the role of public health services, policies and legislation, funding, marketing and communication strategies for the development, evaluation, implementation and dissemination of nutrition programs. Finally, this course will briefly review international public health nutrition issue of relevance such as world hunger and food insecurity

Global Health. This course presents an overview of global health issues and will focus on less economically developed countries. The course will cover measures of disease burden, demography of disease and mortality, Millennium Development Goals, infectious diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, malaria and their prevention, vaccine utilization and potential implications, chronic diseases, tobacco-associated disease, nutritional challenges, behavioral modification, mother and child health, health human resources, and ethical issues in global health.

Capstone Project (6 credits)
Instead of a thesis, students are required to complete a Capstone Project associated with the required 6 credit Community-based Practicum in Urban Health. The Capstone project provides students with the opportunity to work on-site in a range of diverse public health practice settings reflective of their particular urban health focus. The Capstone Project provides students with the opportunity to integrate their theory and practice experiences in a major research, program planning, policy development, management, service delivery, or evaluation project. Community-based participatory projects are actively encouraged and, to the extent possible, Capstone Projects have as a goal the active contribution to the health of the local community. Capstone Projects are student led and designed in consultation with community partners. Faculty members provide guidance and mentoring. Students participate in a Capstone Seminar intended to support the integration of their practice and analytic experiences.

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