PHS PhD Program

PhD - Population Health Science

Main Content

Course Descriptions

  • PHS 700. Essentials of Population Health. 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. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 701. Applied Demography. The course provides an applied overview of common methodological approaches, major conceptual issues, and recent empirical research in demography. Demography is the study of the causes and consequences of population change. Populations change in size and composition in response to three basic phenomenon: fertility, mortality, and migration. Course readings and discussions will draw on research in multiple disciplines to provide students a framework for evaluating how social, economic, historical, cultural, and political factors interrelate with these demographic processes. Students will be introduced to the data, statistics, and substantive issues of demography including mortality, fertility, migration, population composition, population distribution, population policy and the relationship between population and environment. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 702. Statistical Methods in Research. This course 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. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 703. 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. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 704. Epidemiology II. This course will present and illustrate advanced concepts in epidemiologic methods with an emphasis on observational studies. Topics include causal inference in epidemiology, measures of disease frequency, measures of association, application of statistical methods commonly used in epidemiologic studies (e.g., stratified and logistic regression analysis), calculation of sample size and statistical power, precision and validity in epidemiologic studies, quantification of bias (e.g., information and selection bias), assessing confounding and effect modification, interpretation and critique of results from various epidemiologic studies including meta-analysis Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 712. Science Communication & Dissemination I. This is a foundation course in science communication theory, research, and practice in the context of health promotion and health care. This 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 appropriate audiences. This course is designed to increase practical knowledge, competencies and skill set necessary for translating scientific knowledge to various communities and populations. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 713. Implementation Science. This course is an introduction to implementation science and its relevance to population health science and practice. Implementation science is the scientific study of methods to promote the uptake of research findings in real world settings such as clinical, organizational, community, or policy environments. 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. Common implementation research frameworks will be introduced. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 714. US 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. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • 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. Traditional Independent Study (3 hours)

  • PHS 718. Proseminar. Proseminars are professionalism courses that provide an entree into a field. This course will review the evolution of the field of population health science and the school of population health, and take a look at developments and the future of the field. Traditional Lecture (1 hour)

  • PHS 731. Social Determinants of Health. This course analyzes the social factors, such as inequalities in income and opportunities, and racial/ethnic disparities that influence the health of populations. The course examines the effect of economic, social, cultural, and environmental factors on population health. The course looks at how systematic variation in these factors lead to health disparities, and explores how economic, social and cultural conditions interact with other determinants of health such as human behavior and biology. The course also reviews the methods used in health disparities research and assesses relevant economic and social policies. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 739. Science Communication & Dissemination II. This is an applied course in science communication and dissemination, designed to advance students’ knowledge of health and science communication theory, research, and practice. The major course objective is to provide opportunities to develop skills in communicating complex scientific information and study findings to multiple audiences. The course will expose students to various contexts for science communication including interpersonal, small group, and mass media. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 740. Writing and Reviewing Scientific Papers. 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. Traditional Lecture (1-3 hours)

  • PHS 742. Multivariate Regression. This course introduces the basic concepts and steps associated with multivariable statistical modeling. It integrates methods with performing the steps using data analysis tools such as Stata. Presents use of generalized linear models for quantitative analysis of data encountered in public health and medicine. Specific models include analysis of variance, analysis of covariance, multiple linear regression, logistic regression, and Cox regression. Applied linear regression involving hands-on data analysis will be emphasized. 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. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 743. Prgm Eval for Pop-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. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • 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. Traditional Lecture (1 hour)

  • PHS 747. Qualitative Methods and Analysis. This course will use a combination of didactic, interactive, and applied techniques to teach methodological and analysis techniques in qualitative research. Students will review theoretical approaches and explore the connections between overarching theoretical frameworks, data collection methods, and analysis strategies. Students will have the opportunity to learn and practice qualitative methodologies for use with different populations and conduct in-depth observations and interviews. Students will also learn and practice coding and axial coding techniques for data analysis. Different analytical approaches and software coding programs will be explored and examined. Traditional Lecture (1-3 hours)

  • PHS 749. Longitudinal and Multilevel Models. This course covers statistical models for drawing scientific inferences from clustered/correlated data such as longitudinal and multilevel data. Topics include longitudinal study design; exploring clustered data; linear and generalized linear regression models for correlated data, including marginal, random effects, and transition models; and handling missing data. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 750. Population Health Research Methods I. This course will introduce the major components in research methods including: qualitative and quantitative study designs, selection of study populations, formulation of research questions, hypothesis formulation, levels of measurement, sampling, measurement, instrumentation, and study interpretation issues. Emphasis will be placed on research methods from social science origins, including an introduction to qualitative research theory and design. Online, Internet, or Web-based Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 753. Systems Science and Population Health. This course provides an introduction to systems science and its applications to population health science and practice. Health and health care improvement challenges tend to be complex and involve multiple actors and institutions. Unlike traditional cause and effect or linear thinking models, systems thinking and complexity science is characterized by nonlinearity, hence traditional statistical methods are often inadequate for analyzing or predicting outcomes that depend on many interacting and adaptive parts. Systems thinking is a core skill that helps health professionals build programs and policies that anticipate and prepare for unintended consequences. Students will learn new ways of thinking about problem solving, including a range of powerful conceptual techniques suitable for planning interventions in complex and uncertain environments and use of systems models to devise strategies to account for real world complexities in research translation. Traditional Lecture (3 hours)

  • PHS 798. Doctoral Dissertation Research. This is a seminar course for doctoral students in Population Health Science who are currently working on their dissertation. The seminar provides students the opportunity to present and discuss their work in a supportive environment. Faculty may also present ongoing research. Traditional Dissertation (1-9 hours)

  • PHS 799. Doctoral Proposal Development. 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. This course covers the structure and content of a student dissertation research proposal, scientific writing conventions, strategies for conducting a literature search, critical evaluation and synthesis of literature, development of specific aims and research methods, procedures for writing and editing research proposals, and presentation of population health information. Students will be introduced to the process of acquiring and managing extramural funding for sponsored projects with emphasis on NIH research grants. Students will be encouraged to flesh out their doctoral dissertation proposal and to complete a pre-doctoral grant application during this course. Traditional Dissertation (3 hours)

PHS-approved electives and School or Medicine course descriptions may be found in the current version of the UMMC Bulletin.