MS - Population Health Science

Main Content

Course Descriptions

  • BDS 761. Data Science. Provides a modern introduction to data science, including data wrangling and dynamic data visualization processes, while reinforcing advanced analytics reproducible research and applied statistical methods. Course content will be delivered through lectures and hands-on lab instruction. Traditional Lecture (3 credit hours)
  • MSCI 710. Epidemiology I. This course will introduce students to the principles and methods of epidemiology in human populations, including study design (randomized trials, case-control studies, cohort studies, and cross-sectional studies), risk estimation, and methods of causal inference. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 700. Essentials of Population Health Science. Introduction to how the multiple determinants of health (e.g., health care, socioeconomic status, genetics, the physical environment and health behavior, and their interactions) have implications for the health outcomes of populations. Characteristics of populations defined by geography, diagnosis, and/or point of care will be discussed. Avenues in which health care systems, public health agencies, community-based organizations, retail health organizations work together to improve local, national, and global communities. Students will also learn how to view problems from a population health and population health management perspective. Descriptions of how clinical and non-clinical data is used to measure health-related outcomes, analyze patterns, communicate results, and develop evidence-based intervention practices to manage of health of populations will be explored. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 709. Population Health Management. This course will introduce students to the applied field of population health management through the use of case studies and key elements of population health management such as development of accountable care processes and infrastructure, payer relationships, care coordination, health and financial management systems, and leadership. Descriptions of how clinical and non-clinical evidence is used to measure health-related outcomes, analyze patterns, communicate results and identify best practices and implement effective interventions to manage the health of clinical populations. The importance of the translation of data and information into intelligence used for clinical decision-making will be emphasized, as well as the challenges of using this data in health policy decision-making. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 711. Healthcare Quality and Safety. This course provides an overview of health care quality and safety. Students will learn quality improvement concepts and techniques and will practice the techniques in teams. Assigned readings, video talks and lectures, online discussions, individual writing assignments, small group activities, and team projects will be used. (3 credits)
  • PHS 712. Introduction to Knowledge Translation and Science Communication. This introductory course is based on the premise that scientists, and increasingly, other practitioners and educators, are agents of change in creating research impact, promoting research utilization, and ensuring that research findings reach the appropriate audiences. Knowledge Translation as defined by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, as “a dynamic and iterative process that includes the synthesis, dissemination, exchange and ethically sound application of knowledge to improve health, provide more effective health services and products, and strengthen the health care system”. This course is designed to increase the practical knowledge, competencies and skill set of translating scientific knowledge to multiple communities and population groups. (2 credit hours)
  • PHS 713. Introduction to Implementation Science and Dissemination. This course is an introduction to implementation science and dissemination, with an emphasis on population health. The course will first highlight current challenges in population health and the role of implementation science in addressing them, including the development of practice-based research activities and the provision of technical support for program implementation. The course then will define current implementation research frameworks and active implementation frameworks and describe the interface between improvement science and implementation science. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 714. U.S. Healthcare Organizations and Delivery. Focuses on the organization, financing, and delivery of healthcare in the U.S. Contrasts the private and public sectors and examines the effects of market competition and government regulation. Examines the ways that medical providers are paid, and explores the major issues currently facing physicians, hospitals, and the pharmaceutical industry. Also discusses several potential small and large scale reforms to the U.S. healthcare system and evaluates their likely effects on healthcare spending, quality of care, and access to care. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 715. Health Disparities Seminar. This course will examine relevant historical issues, theories, and empirical data, emphasizing critical analysis and application of knowledge. Disparities will be discussed relative to race/ethnicity, gender, income, and sexual orientation. Students will gain a better understanding of research on health disparities and interventions to promote health equity through a combination of readings, reflection papers, and in-class exercises. Students will summarize the evidence regarding a specific health disparity (topic and population of their choice). (1 credit hour)
  • PHS 730. Health Promotion, Disease Prevention, and Care Management. The course is concerned with the socio-cultural, behavioral, psychological, and biological factors contributing to wellness and disease prevention. Students will be introduced to the theory and application of health promotion principles and will review and critically assess the current efforts to influence lifestyle change, at both the individual and population levels. (3 credit hours) 
  • PHS 731. Introduction to Disease Distribution and Health Inequalities. This course will explore and examine the distribution of disease, inequalities and patterns of inequity in health and health care. An introduction to the social and scientific contexts, content, and implications of theories of disease distribution will be discussed using selected case examples. Current theories and controversies will be presented to demonstrate how these theories shape questions people ask about–and explanations and interventions they offer for–patterns of health, disease, and well-being. Students will also learn about the current and changing population distributions of disease and health inequalities, particularly in relation to race/ethnicity, geography, age, sex and the interaction of these factors. The course will emphasize critical analyses of contemporary mainstream theories of disease distribution. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 732. Introduction to Global Health: Disparities, Determinants, Policies, and Outcomes. This course will focus on four main topics: 1) the burden and distribution of disease and mortality; 2) the determinants of global health disparities; 3) the development of global health policies; and 4) the outcomes of global health interventions. Substantial attention will be given to the difference in terminology used to describe inequalities across countries, the underlying historical assumptions that undergird those definitions, and the resulting solutions that are implemented as a result. Factors that highlight how global health disparities and global health policy responses are shaped by social, economic, governmental, and political forces will be discussed. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 740. Foundations of Scientific Writing. This course covers how to conduct a literature review, and interpret and evaluate scientific literature that focuses on population health. In addition, this course will provide students with fundamental skills of writing scientific manuscripts. Skills obtained in this course will prepare students for writing theses/dissertations, and peer-reviewed manuscripts. (1 credit hour)
  • PHS 741. Introduction to STATA. During this two-week course students will obtain the necessary skills to be able to work and conduct their own empirical analyses with the statistical software STATA. This will be a good basis for the writing of an empirical seminar paper, a Bachelor or Master thesis. The course will cover basic commands, data management, graphs, data manipulation, descriptive statistics, and regression analysis (see preliminary outline below). If time allows, more advanced topics such as the analysis of survey data and basic programming in STATA may be covered as well. (1 credit hour)
  • PHS 744. Bioethics and Society. This is a case-method course, consisting of discussion of the fundamental basics of bioethical theory. In this class, students will learn the fundamentals of bioethical theory and then apply this knowledge in developing a language and toolbox for making decisions when faced with dilemmas and ethical conflicts in a healthcare setting and in regard to issues of health and healthcare. The underlying concepts are vital to selecting and applying the appropriate frame to view these dilemmas and ethical conflicts. (1 credit hour)
  • PHS 750. Population Health Research Methods I. This course will introduce the major components in research methods including: levels of measurement, qualitative and quantitative study designs, selection of study populations, hypothesis formulation, sampling, measurement instrumentations, formulation of research questions, and study interpretation issues such as determination of causality and the effectiveness of clinical and community interventions. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 799. Thesis and Thesis Research. The purpose of this culminating course is for students to produce a written, independent scientific work. During the course, students will demonstrate their ability to independently plan, carry out and present (orally and written) their research on a topic that addresses a current population health-related issue identified by a local agency. This involves formulating a research problem and objectives, selecting appropriate methods, collecting and analyzing data, and presenting and discussing results in relation to scientific articles and other relevant literature. This course provides the opportunity to apply knowledge and proficiencies acquired during the other courses in the master of population health program. The course includes a final seminar where the thesis is presented and discussed. The outcome of the master thesis should be a publishable manuscript and a knowledge translation article intended for a general audience. (1-3 credit hours)