Public Health

Public Health Department

Mission Statement:
The Public Health Department's mission is  to:

1) diversify the public health workforce;

2) prepare students to engage and collaborate with communities both locally and abroad; and

3) advance health equity. Its programs aim to improve the health of under-served populations by drawing on evidence-based public health policies and practices from a social justice perspective.

Our vision is a world where underserved communities, locally and abroad, have achieved health equity. 

Public health is about influencing the behavior and attitudes of society for long-term change through education, health promotion and policy. Students who study public health at St. Kate’s are ethical, patient and creative problem solvers. They’re eager and excited to solve complex health issues that affect us in an increasingly global world, such as access to healthcare, maternal and child health, nutrition, refugee and immigrant health, non-communicable and infectious diseases, water pollution and sanitation, gender issues, to name a few.

A major in public health at St. Kate’s provides the knowledge and skills to actively reduce health disparities around the world and in surrounding communities by:

  • Researching emerging disease patterns and critical global health issues
  • Working toward containing the spread of disease and facilitate disease eradication
  • Promoting health behavior change
  • Designing, implementing and evaluating global health programs and policies
  • Strengthening health systems through innovation and technology

HLTH 6000 Critical Issues in Global Public Health — 3 credits

This course is an introduction to public health issues both locally and globally. The course will introduce students to the main concepts of the global health field. It is divided into four main parts: principles and goals of global health; cross-cutting global health issues; the burden of disease; and, cooperating to improve global health. The course will examine current issues and challenges that face mainly developing and middle income countries. We will analyze the impact of political, social, cultural, economic and environmental factors on global health, including globalization, poverty, governance, trade and ethics.
Prerequisite: Admission to the MPH program.

HLTH 6010 Principles of Epidemiology and Biostatistics I — 3 credits

This is the first half of a course that introduces the basic concepts of epidemiology and biostatistics as applied to public health problems. Emphasis is placed on the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation, appropriate summaries and displays of data, and the use of classical statistical approaches to describe the health of populations. Topics include the dynamic behavior of disease; usage of rates, ratios and proportions; methods of direct and indirect adjustment, and clinical life table which measures and describes the extent of disease problems. Various epidemiologic study designs for investigating associations between risk factors and disease outcomes are also introduced, culminating with criteria for causal inferences. The application of these disciplines in the areas of health services, screening, genetics, and environment policy are presented. The influence of epidemiology and biostatistics on legal and ethical issues are also discussed.

HLTH 6020 Principles of Epidemiology and Biostatistics II — 3 credits

Epidemiology is the study of the distribution and determinants of health and disease in populations. This course covers concepts of epidemiologic study design and biostatics from hypothesis testing to study design analysis. The primary learning goals for this course will be for students to interpret and communicate epidemiologic data and study results as well as design observational and experimental studies and conduct statistical calculations using statistical software. A combination of didactic lecture, case method approach and applied learning lab is used to facilitate learning.
Prerequisite: HLTH 6010.

HLTH 6030 Design and Implementation of Global Health Programs — 3 credits

This course will introduce students to the major concepts, principles, and methods used to design and implement global health programs. During the first half of the course we will discuss how to design effective global health programs in low- and middle-income countries as well as with refugee and immigrant communities in high-income countries. Students will learn to conduct community assessments, characterize and define a health problem, and identify and adapt evidence-based interventions for new health issues and settings. During the second half of the course we will focus on the implementation of global health programs, which will enable students to gain practical skills in program management and budgeting. This course will include a service learning component.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MPH program.

HLTH 6040 Global Health Policy and Governance — 3 credits

This course examines the design and structure of health policies and systems by state and non-state actors in both the U.S. and globally. The course begins with an introduction to the U.S. health system and structure and key actors in policy making and governance. We compare and contrast a number of health systems around the world. Then we review the history of global governance and how current forces of globalization are shaping the new global health infrastructure, agenda-setting, decision-making and implementation processes. Key actors such as the United Nations agencies, foundations, pharmaceutical companies, public-private partnerships, transnational corporations, and non-governmental organizations will be reviewed and critiqued through case studies of diseases such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, tobacco-related diseases, Ebola, and maternal mortality. The conflicts around Trade Related Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) and regulatory bodies and their influence on governments and population health will be explored as well. Students will develop practical strategies and skills in critiquing global health policies, identifying key actors, and identifying agenda-setting strategies to positively influence outcomes to achieve the United Nation’s health related Sustainable Development Goals. Prequisite: HLTH 6000.

HLTH 6050 Monitoring and Evaluation of Global Health Programs — 3 credits

This course is intended to be taken after students have successfully completed Design and Implementation of Global Health Programs (HLTH 6030). In this course students will be introduced to key concepts and methods used to design and conduct program monitoring and evaluation (M&E) in low- and middle-income countries and with refugee and immigrant communities in high-income countries. Class sessions will introduce students to evaluation designs, conceptual frameworks, objectives and indicators, data sources, and data collection and analysis. Students will gain practical skills through in-class exercises and course assignments, including the development of a monitoring and evaluation plan.
Prerequisite: HLTH 6030.

HLTH 6100 Ethics and Human Rights for Global Health — 1 credit

This course is an overview of ethics and human rights for global health. This course will provide a background of the theory pertaining to ethics and human rights and practical application through case study discussion and training in ethical conduct of research. Students will explore power structures, challenges of global health, negative effects of good intentions and the use of foundational documents to guide the students in ethical reasoning.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MPH program.

HLTH 6110 International Perspectives in Environmental Health Sciences — 3 credits

This course explores the inter-connectedness of environmental factors (e.g., air pollution, asbestos exposure, oil spills, and occupational health hazards) and how human and/or animal exposures to these affect human health. State, local, federal, regional and international policies and regulations that monitor and protect human, animal and ecological health will be explored. Country policy analyses will be conducted to compare how different nations mitigate, prevent and cope with the effects of climate change on agriculture, insect, animal and human health and the implementation of “one health” strategies. Students will develop an understanding of environmental agents and mechanisms of exposure to environmental hazards. Various topics in environmental health will be explored; students will identify some of the specific readings. Multiple environmental risk assessment tools will be reviewed and critiqued for their role in public health planning and policy making. In addition, students will conduct a case analysis of a non-governmental organization (NGO), coalition, foundation, or public-private partnership actively engaged in environmental health advocacy, education or policy making.
Prerequisites: HLTH 6010, HLTH 6020.

HLTH 6130 Social and Behavioral Health Theories and Applications — 3 credits

The behavioral and social sciences in public health address the behavioral, social and cultural factors related to individual and population health and health disparities over the life course. In this course, students will be introduced to various theories and frameworks used to guide the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs and policies. Using case studies, students will critique the application of these theories and identify cultural and environmental factors that must be considered to assure the value and appropriateness of the application. Students will develop skills in the identification of individual, organizational and community concerns, assets, resources and deficits for social and behavioral science interventions. By the end of the course, students will be able to compare and contrast the unique qualities of individual, organizational, community and ecological theories and how their applications create and define a public health intervention.

HLTH 6210 Health Communication — 3 credits

Effective health communication interventions are an essential component of public health programming. Research shows that theory-driven, interactive communication that follows a proven process for design and implementation can increase knowledge, shift attitudes and norms, and produce changes in a wide range of behaviors. This course introduces students to the field of health communication theory and practice, and its key action areas. It prepares students to design, implement and evaluate health communication interventions within a systematic, participatory, engaging, process-oriented, and multidisciplinary framework that aims at behavioral, social, and organizational results and ultimately, improved public health outcomes.

HLTH 6220 Qualitative Research Methods — 3 credits

This course focuses on qualitative research methods starting with the conception of qualitative research questions and ending with the dissemination of qualitative research findings. Students will be exposed to a variety of frameworks through which qualitative research can be approached including specific paradigms, theories, and models. By the end of the semester, students will develop mastery in a variety of practical techniques in conducting and analyzing data from in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, and observations. Please note that this course requires an extensive amount of group work.
Prerequisite: Admission to MPH program.

HLTH 6240 Quantitative Data Analysis — 3 credits

Quantitative secondary data analysis skills are important for program evaluation and public health research projects. Public data is widely available in the U.S. and abroad. Specifically, the Demographic and Health Survey data is a key source for prevalence estimates, trend analysis and evaluation in low and middle income countries. Students will learn how to import data, data management and analysis with Stata Statistical Software. Databases freely available will be introduced, students will have in class experiences and out of class requirements to gain practical data management and analysis skills using software while answering a specific research question. Complex sampling design considerations will be introduced.
Prerequisites: HLTH 6000, HLTH 6010.
Prerequisite with concurrency: HLTH 6020.

HLTH 6310 Refugee and Immigrant Health — 2 credits

This course defines and describes the status of refugees globally, including policies and practices, definitions and consequences. The physical and psychosocial aspects of being a refugee will be explored and analyzed. Time will be spent focused on historical refugee and immigration patterns as well as current events worldwide.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into MPH program.

HLTH 6320 Global Issues in Women's Health — 2 credits

This course will cover some of the most pressing health issues that women face globally. A life course perspective will be taken and health issues that affect women from childhood through late adulthood will be explored. Both biological and social determinants of women’s health will be examined and promising programmatic and policy responses to improving women’s health will be discussed.
Prerequisite: Acceptance in the MPH program.

HLTH 6330 Public Health in Conflict and Humanitarian Emergencies — 2 credits

This course covers the principles that are the basis of planning, implementing, and evaluating health programs for populations in conflicts and emergencies. It covers a range of humanitarian settings, including conflict, post-conflict, natural disasters, refugee camps, and internally displaced persons in both acute and protracted contexts. The course includes modules on assessment, technical program design, surveillance, evaluation, and sector integration. Drawing on current events for discussion and context, it will focus on international standards/thresholds for and control/management of communicable disease, nutrition, and reproductive health in emergencies. The course will include classroom visits and Skype video lectures with practitioners from the field.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into MPH program.

HLTH 6335 Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WaSH) in Public Health — 2 credits

This course will serve as an introduction to major water, sanitation, and hygiene (WaSH) themes and will examine WaSH issues on local, national, and global scales. The course will examine linkages between public health and WaSH and contrast programming and policy approaches for delivering WaSH services. Research methods for investigating WaSH access, its health effects, and its policy implications will be evaluated through discussion and written assignments. Current events and development of WaSH policies will be featured. The course content will be delivered via in-person lectures and online materials including videos, forum discussions, and readings.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MPH program.

HLTH 6340 Infectious Diseases — 2 credits

This course will introduce students to infectious diseases that are common in low and middle income countries. A focus will be placed on the descriptive epidemiology of these diseases, their mechanisms for transmissions, and opportunities for intervention. Students will also learn the components of the SIR model and be exposed to the assumptions of modeling the spread of infectious disease in a community. Both biological and social determinants of the burden of infectious disease will be discussed within each weekly topic.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MPH Program.

HLTH 6350 Nutrition in Low- and Middle-Income Countries — 2 credits

This course will cover some of the key definitions, risk factors, interventions and policies related to malnutrition and its prevention in low- and middle-income countries.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MPH program.

HLTH 6360 Violence as a Public Health Issue — 2 credits

This course examines violence from a public health perspective in the United States and globally. It covers topics on homicide, suicide, and non-fatal violence and the approaches to violence prevention. This course is an introduction to the problem of violence from a public health perspective. The course will address the various types of violence and their prevalence in the United States as well as globally. The course will cover topics related to homicide, suicide, and non-fatal violence including youth violence, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, collective violence, self-directed violence, elder abuse, fire-arm related violence, sexual violence, gender-based violence and workplace violence. The course will also examine the various approaches to violence prevention and focus on the interdisciplinary nature of the public health framework including the ecological model. Students will also address the policy dimension of violence prevention including the economic impact, capacity building, violence-related injury surveillance, care and services for victims and survivors, community based advocacy and the interrelationship of factors that affect policy at the national as well as the international levels.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MPH program.

HLTH 6370 Gender, Health, and Globalization - Program and Policy Perspectives — 2 credits

This course is designed to examine the intersection of gender, health and the forces of globalization and how each influences the other. The course will use theoretical and practice frameworks such as gender-based economic theories, gender analysis, and the capabilities and human rights approaches to guide a critique and discussion of various globalization forces. At the same time, it will analyze how globalization changes such as international labor migration or trade liberalization policies influence changes in gender roles and the implications for health. Examples of issues and topics will be taken from across the globe, with particular attention to the unique historical, political, social and cultural factors that shape women's and men's roles and health within that context.
Prerequisite with concurrency: HLTH 6040.

HLTH 6390 Global Noncommunicable Diseases — 2 credits

This course will focus on the growing global burden of disease due to chronic diseases, mental health, substance use (alcohol, tobacco and other drugs), risk factors (obesity, lack of physical activity, stress) and injuries within the developing world. The course presents methods for measuring the burden of noncommunicable diseases; program and service delivery; and the success and challenge of addressing policy in places where acute and chronic conditions co-occur. Finally, the course will explore and analyze the WHO voluntary global noncommunicable disease targets and future direction.
Prerequisite: Acceptance into the MPH program.

HLTH 6500 Child Family Health International Global Education Program — 3 credits

This course provides students with an international, public health oriented experience in a low- or middle-income country as a topic based elective. Collaborating with Child Family Health International provides five options. See program director for details.
Prerequisite: Program director approval required.

HLTH 6684 Directed Study — 4 credits

Directed study is provided for students whose unusual circumstances prohibit taking a regularly scheduled course but who need the material of that course to satisfy a requirement. Availability of this faculty-directed learning experience depends on faculty time and may be limited in any given term and restricted to certain courses.
Prerequisites: Faculty, program director and dean approval.

HLTH 6720 Social Determinants of Health in the Caribbean — 3 credits

The overarching goal for this course is to develop leaders in healthcare with a sense of social responsibility and required skills to respond to the complex healthcare needs of our increasingly diverse communities. Through cultural immersion, field visits, guided reflection, and seminars, students will gain a global understanding of health and health care delivery so that they can contribute to the creation of more effective and inclusive health care practices and systems. The course will take place in the Dominican Republic and Cuba. These countries are the focus of this course because of their geographic proximity and because each have distinct cultures and healthcare systems. In the Dominican Republic, the focus of the learning will be about health care in an under-resourced country. In Cuba, we will learn about socialized health care. Throughout the course, we will learn about how culture, geography, politics, and economics influence how health and healthcare are defined, experienced, and distributed.
Prerequisite: Enrolled in a degree program offered in the Henrietta Schmool School of Health.

HLTH 6982 Topics — 2 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

HLTH 6992 Topics — 2 credits

The subject matter of the course is announced in the annual schedule of classes. Content varies from year to year but does not duplicate existing courses.

HLTH 7100 200-Hour Practicum — 4 credits

In this course students will apply their classroom based knowledge in a domestic or international setting, in low- and middle-income countries and with refugee and immigrant communities in high-income countries. Supervision will be provided on site and student activities will be mutually agreed on prior to the beginning of the internship. Activities may include, but not be limited to, program development and implementation, program evaluation, assistance with surveillance and grant writing, research project participation and/or policy analysis.
Prerequisites: HLTH 6000, HLTH 6010, HLTH 6020, HLTH 6030, HLTH 6050, compliance paperwork complete. Instructor approval.

HLTH 7101 50-Hour Practicum — 1 credit

Prerequisite: HLTH 7103.

HLTH 7103 150-Hour Practicum — 3 credits

Prerequisites: HLTH 6000, HLTH 6010, HLTH 6020, HLTH 6030, HLTH 6050, completion of compliance paperwork. Program director approval.

HLTH 7200 Capstone — 3 credits

The MPH Capstone course provides an opportunity for students to demonstrate their synthesis and integration of the core global public health competencies through a culminating experience. Prior to the start of the course, students will write a 3-page proposal of their project topic and its format that is approved by their academic advisor and the MPH Coordinator. The proposal includes identification of one other reader for content expertise (e.g., other university faculty, adjunct faculty or preceptor). A maximum of six projects or up to 10 students may register for each course. Students will give a 15-minute oral presentation of their capstone projects at a public forum.
Prerequisites: HLTH 6040, HLTH 6100, HLTH 6110 and HLTH 6130, HLTH 7100, three HLTH electives, an international experience, and program director approval. S/U grading.