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This practice-based coursework is designed to prepare individuals for what to expect when they enter the field as professionals and create opportunities to work among other local, national, and global leaders in public health. The student will learn to think critically in a challenging health environment and apply their knowledge to future work in academia, non-profits, hospitals, and government agencies. A student may complete this certificate program as a non-degree graduate student or a Master of Science degree seeking student.

Program Goals

Students in the Certificate in Population Health Management will be able to:

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Population Health Management – Certificate

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Program Courses

PHSC 500 – Introduction to Population Health Management (3 credits)

This course focuses on Population Health Management’s principles as a pro-active and implementation-based management approach to tackle health disparities, foster health equity, and improve population health outcomes. Population health management has emerged as an essential strategy for healthcare providers and payers. This course examines the challenges and opportunities to improve health within and across populations and value-driven accountable care models. This course will discuss the basic principles of Population Health Management that will help students (future) health care professionals or policymakers analyze current healthcare challenges and design possible solutions using the Population Health Management Approach.

PHSC 510 – Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity (3 credits)

This course aims to introduce the social, economic, and political factors that impact individual and population health. The course presents the student with theories and evidence supporting multiple underlying determinants of health in populations. We will consider how health is affected by various determinants, and we will explore how social influences affect population health. Social influences include socioeconomic status, environment, policy
(political influence), gender, race, sexual orientation, and neighborhood quality. We will examine structural factors that impact population health globally as well as in the United States. We apply the research and practice-oriented competencies and explore the potential for structural interventions and research to address health inequities and improve population health outcomes. The student will be encouraged to consider how they can make a difference in reducing or closing the health inequality gap that otherwise results from flawed understandings of patients’ health ecologies.

PHSC 525 – Population Health Policy (3 credits)

In this core course, the student will explore in-depth the development and implementation of public health and health-related policy to demonstrate measurable public health improvement. The student will be provided with a public health context of the private, non-profit, and governmental institutions that impact population health (both de facto and de jure) and health equity including policy, administration, education, and research. The student will
conduct an international comparative study of public health systems, placing the U.S. system within an international context; will learn tools of writing white papers, policy briefs, and policy evaluation. Further, using an integrated team-based leadership model, the student would be able to carry out a `real world’ analysis of a state or local health policy in partnership with state or local policymakers or other public health institutions. The student will conduct `vantage point’ policy reviews (both de facto and de jure) to recognize and appreciate various stakeholder points of view, perceptions, and interests.

PHSC 540 – Population Health Research Informatics (3 credits)

The healthcare informatics and data science field are a growing industry in the United States that is expected to grow more than $18.7 billion by 2020. Like many other fields, the healthcare industry increasingly relies on data to improve patient outcomes, lower costs, drive care coordination, foster quality clinical and preventive care, enhance healthcare delivery system performance, and optimize strategic business decisions. Whether you are gathering
data or analyzing it to make recommendations, this course is designed to provide analytical literacy to understand, handle, organize, and visualize healthcare data, eventually informing and influencing research and policy decisions. It focuses on the most common types of data used in health care measurements and different ways to gather and analyze it. It enables the student to interact effectively with informatics specialists to define priority subject areas, evaluate data sources, data reporting, performance improvement, apply diverse data science methodologies, and effectively communicate data insights to diverse audiences.

PHSC 550 – Approaches to Population Health Innovations (3 credits)

This course will introduce the student to the package of innovation perspectives and research methods employed within both design thinking and systems thinking approaches to population health innovation. The course will focus on the individual and collective experience of human health, via individual choice models and systems level structures and policies. Design thinking provides a flexible and disciplined innovation model that prioritizes public health needs at the patient level of engagement within health service offerings. Systems thinking in healthcare considers the ways large communities organize themselves to achieve collective health goals. When integrated together, both approaches to population health improvements leads the student to visualize population health as one holistic issue with multiple levels of focus and impact. The student will be able to fully synthesize population health issues at the micro and macro levels, to recommend a framework or model for improvements that can inform research and policy-related decision making and service innovations.

PHSC 598 – Practicum in Population Health (3 credits)

The practicum is a population-level focused project conducted in a practice context. This course intends to engage the student in real-world population health activities, which enables them to demonstrate application of their population health concepts in the areas of their professional and research interests. This course requires that the student integrate and synthesize their population health knowledge and skills to develop and implement professional public health-related research, intervention, policy, or any practice activity. Each student is expected to complete a minimum of 140 hours of practicum and prior approval of the practicum from the program lead. The practicum will be supervised by the preceptor, who is qualified to evaluate the student’s professional competence and supervise the student throughout the project. The preceptor needs to be engaged in population health practice-related activities, research, intervention, or policy directly. The preceptor can be within the university or outside the university (non-profits, community-based organizations, health departments, private corporations, other academic institutions, etc.) The program lead will be informed about the student’s progress on pre-defined learning objectives. As part of the course, it requires the student to define their learning objectives following the practicum commencement competencies. It is recommended that the student links their practicum experiences to their career or professional goals. Upon completing this practicum, the student will be able to provide evidence of their applied population health knowledge and skills to potential employers.

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