PhD - Population Health Science

Main Content

Course Descriptions

  • BDS 711. Statistical Methods in Research. Provides an introduction to selected important topics in statistical concepts and reasoning. This course represents an introduction to the field and provides a survey of data types and analysis techniques. Specific topics include applications of statistical techniques such as point and interval estimation, hypothesis testing (tests of significance), correlation and regression, relative risks and odds ratios, sample size/power calculations and study designs. While the course emphasizes interpretation and concepts, there are also formulae and computational elements such that upon completion, class participants have gained real world applied skills. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 701. Applied Demography. A growing number of administrative, planning, and statistical agencies at all levels of government, public policy research organizations, and private industries are showing an interest in employing persons whose primary training and expertise is in the use and analysis of population statistics. This course will provide a basic understanding of the way the population's social and demographic structure changes is becoming increasingly important for addressing a variety of social problems and issues--and for business and government decision making. This course will provide you with a useful framework for evaluating how social change becomes transmitted over time. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 705. Principles of Advanced Payment Models of Population Health Management. Alternative Payment Models (APMs) are approaches that reward providers for the delivery of high-quality and cost-effective care. Advanced Payment Models are a subset of APMs that let clinical practices earn more rewards in exchange for taking on risk relative to patient outcomes. This course will cover the range of alternative payment models in healthcare and the policies that undergird these advances such as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 706. Population Health and Consumerism. Hospitals and health systems are re-inventing themselves and working with providers and their communities to position their organizations for success in an environment that demands high-value, lower-cost and efficient health care. But as hospitals and health systems transition to value-based care, they must do so with an eye on the consumer. Patients, and their families, will be more informed and savvy in making health care purchasing decisions. This course will familiarize students with the growing movements in both healthcare consumerism and population health management. (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 credit hours)
  • 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 716. Designing Interventions to Change Organizational Behavior. This course is designed to provide students with a conceptual framework addressing the strategic importance of managing change and organization development (OD) in various agencies, health care organizations, human service organizations, community organizations and other settings. Uncertainty, complexity and rapidly changing organizational environments create the necessity for organizations to respond to and effectively deal with turbulence and instability. The capability of an organization's human resources to adapt to such conditions, adopt and successfully use new practices, technologies and develop ways of performing organizational tasks is vital to proactive and sustainable human service organizations. Managing change and OD are essential to these processes. Students will also learn LEAN methodology as a key tool for process improvement in healthcare settings that require the management of multidisciplinary teams. (3 credit hour)
  • PHS 717. Principles of Classic, Modern, and Emerging Health Behavior Theory. This course will provide an overview of social and behavioral science theories and frameworks that are currently used to: 1) understand health related behaviors; and 2) guide development of interventions and policies designed to prevent, reduce or eliminate major public health problems. Population health is an interdisciplinary field built upon other disciplines such as sociology, psychology, economics, demography, and public health. As a result, this course will cover classic theories in psychology and sociology; the leading health behavior theories in public health, and emerging theories used in population health interventions. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 720. Population Health Informatics. This course will focus on the concepts, theories and practices of the evolving discipline of health informatics. Differentiation between approaches used in this field versus health information technology will be highlighted. Health informatics is defined as the method of acquiring, storing, retrieving, and using healthcare information to foster better collaboration among patients and health care providers. This evolving specialization links information technology, communication and health care to improve the quality and safety of patient care. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 721. Digital Healthcare. This course introduces students to the utility of information and communication technologies (ICT) within modern healthcare practice. Students will learn about a range of digital technologies and applications in the areas of clinical practice, education and administration that are fast becoming commonplace. The course fosters awareness of digital health at national and international levels; it examines the characteristics of digital health innovation, strategic vision and deployment in various countries such as Australia, US, Canada, Europe and the developing world. While evaluating the technological advances relative to patient-centered care, students will also study the potential pitfalls of the use of technology in healthcare. The course draws attention to the associated social, ethical, legal issues and workflow issues that must be considered when integrating digital health into clinical practice. (3 credit hours)
  • 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 739. Science Translation and Communication. This course is designed to advance your knowledge of health and science communication theory, research, and practice. The major course objective is to provide a solid foundation for communicating complex scientific information and study findings to multiple audiences. The course will focus on the various contexts of science communication including interpersonal, small group, mass media, and organizational templates for message generation. (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 742. Advanced Statistical Analysis: Multivariate Regression. This doctoral level course focuses on applied linear regression involving hands-on data analysis. Students enrolling for this course should have taken at least one other graduate level statistics course and should be conversant with the basic fundamentals of statistical testing and estimation. Generally, statistical regression is collection of methods for determining and using models that explain how a response variable (dependent variable) relates to one or more explanatory variables (predictor variables). (3 credit hour)
  • PHS 743. Program Evaluation for Population-Level Interventions.This course is designed to cover a wide range of assessments including individual programs, institutional and governmental policies. Evaluators work with program staff and stakeholders to clarify a program’s operational theory and goals, develop information to help tailor an intervention to a specific audience, document a program’s specific activities, reach, and outcomes, and develop information about the impact of a program or policy on a specific community health concern. This practical course will cover the core knowledge and skills involved in program evaluation, provide hands-on experience in evaluation design, and provide exposure to some of the ethical and philosophical issues current in evaluation research. The course will be conducted entirely online. Course activities will be focused on giving students hands-on experience in the specific research skills and tools required for effective program evaluation. (3 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 745. Community Engagement. Community engagement strategies that affect health behavior are increasingly important for improving the health of populations. This course will focus on a new paradigm to change human behavior at the community level. It is intended to develop and expand the skills of population health professionals to designing and delivering culturally congruent health communication across communities. (3 credit hours)
  • 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 752. Population Health Research Methods II. This course is designed to provide graduate students with a solid and applied understanding of advanced research topics and methods used commonly in population health science research. It is designed to build on the research skills obtained in other fundamental research methods and statistics courses. Advanced topics in research design and statistical analysis will be discussed and students will be asked to lead discussions, apply their skills in class and for homework assignments. Participants will gain skills in the design of conceptually cogent and methodologically rigorous proposals and in manuscript preparation. (3 credit hours)
  • PHS 798. Doctoral Dissertation Seminar. This course deals with both the theoretical and practical aspects of designing dissertation research and successfully defending the design in a proposal hearing. The purpose of the course is to assist students through the proposal and dissertation writing processes. (1-3 credit hours)