Public Health

Course Descriptions

MPH 400/500 Introduction to Public Health
This course introduces students to the field of public health by examining the history, vision, core functions, essential services, determinants, and activities of public health. The course focuses on application and integration of concepts and evidence to understand, prevent, and address current public health problems. Cr 3.

MPH 425/525 American Health Systems
American Health Systems introduces students to the organization, financing, and management of the American health care and public health systems, and the dynamic changes that are affecting health organizations as a result of market-based and policy forces. Students develop an understanding of: (1) the evolution and key components of health care delivery and public health systems, (2) how organizations and systems are financed, regulated, and managed in a dynamic market and policy environment, (3) the nature of, consequences of, and potential strategies for addressing cost, quality and access challenges, and (4) the evolving role of population health and public health principles in health care organizations. Cr 3.

MPH 435/535 Introduction to Epidemiological Research
This course is intended to give students a basic foundation for the conduct and interpretation of population-based studies of the distribution, etiology, and control of disease. Topics include randomized experiments, non-randomized cohort studies, case-control studies, cross-sectional and ecological studies, screening of health populations, measures of effect, causal inference, sources of bias, and problems of measurement. Recent publications from the epidemiologic and general medical literature will be used to illustrate the application of the concepts to specific epidemiologic issues and to develop skills in interpreting quantitative information.  Cr 3.

MPH 539 Topics in Public Health
This course (offered only periodically) will examine various selected topics in public health. Cr 3.

MPH 545 Applied Biostatistical Analysis
This course is intended to give students a working understanding of the major types of biostatistical analysis used in public health, laboratory sciences, and clinical research. Topics include point and interval estimation, application of the binomial and Poisson distributions, hypothesis testing, cross-tabulations and stratified analysis, comparison of rates and means, multiple linear regression, logistic regression, and the Cox proportional hazards model. The course is designed primarily for students with little formal training in biostatistics, and may also prove valuable to other students who desire a course providing an integrated approach to diverse biostatistical techniques within an applied framework. Students learn to interpret results produced from standard statistical software packages.  Cr 3.

MPH 555 Environmental Health
This course provides students with an extensive introduction to scientific approaches to the investigation and modification of the effects of environmental factors on human health. Contributions of the fields of toxicology and epidemiology and the implications of research findings for policy and regulation are examined. Topic areas include toxic metals, pesticides and other organic chemicals, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, vector-borne diseases, pollution of air and water, occupational exposures, injuries, and the health effects of global warming. The roles of local, state, and federal governments in environmental health are critically evaluated, as are initiatives by non- governmental organizations.  Cr 3.

MPH 565 Social and Behavioral Health
The goal of this course is to provide students with an overview of the social and behavioral determinants of health including a review of epidemiological data. The course addresses several prominent theories, models and frameworks used to help design, implement, and evaluate public health interventions. The application of models, theories and frameworks to specific public health efforts will be discussed. This course will help prepare students to review and synthesize public health literature, apply theory-driven approaches, and incorporate evidence and tools to inform public health practice. Cr 3.

MPH 575 Health Program Planning and Management
This course provides students with opportunities to develop skills in program planning, implementation and management. Students will apply traditional and emerging planning and management concepts and frameworks to respond to identified priorities appropriate to the environment and organizational context within which they operate. Students will gain experience developing implementation plans, budgets, and applying management strategies to advance the achievement of desired outcomes. Cr 3.

MPH 580 Health Literacy and Communication
This online course provides students with knowledge, skills, and attitudes to recognize and improve health communications in public health, healthcare, and social service settings.  Topics covered in the course include:  patient-centered environments, health numeracy, oral health literacy, medical interpretation, informed consent, culture of safety and quality, adaptation of written health education materials and other written communication, cultural competence, effective communication, and the use of social media and web sites to advance health literacy. Students participate in field-based learning exercises and a workshop session with community partners in order to build and practice health literacy skills. Cr 3.

MPH 625 Leadership and Professional Development
The course integrates five perspectives of leadership: individual differences and diversity; transactional leadership; power and politics; transformational leadership; and the physical, psychological, and spiritual dimensions of leader well-being. Cr 3.

MPH 630 Health Planning and Marketing
This course prepares students to contribute to the development and implementation of programs and policies to improve population health. Student will gain familiarity with the language, tools and skills used to engage diverse stakeholders in the identification of opportunities for population health improvements. The course emphasizes the application of systems theory, the definition of priorities for improvement that encompass the dynamic interplay of policy and market forces, and the analysis of social, organizational and community influences on population health. Students will gain experience developing health plans and communication strategies to advance the achievement of desired outcomes. Cr 3.

MPH 635 Health Law and Ethics
The course examines the complexities and relationships of common law and federal and state statutes, rules and administrative actions, as well as the powerful influences of politics, ethics and non-governmental forces that inform and influence contractual and legal relationships in the health law field. We will explore legal and ethical issues that permeate the public and private health care systems and also touch on economic issues that affect policies and laws. Students will scrutinize ethical and legal issues in health practice, administration and research, and analyze functions and interactions between courts, legislators and regulators. This course explores the inherent tension between promoting the public health and protecting the legal and ethical rights and interests of individuals. Cr 3.

MPH 639 Topics in Public Health
This course (offered only periodically) will examine various selected topics in public health. Cr 3.

MPH 640 Health Finance
This course provides students with an understanding of the basic concepts of financial and managerial accounting and their use in health care organizations in making managerial decisions. This course builds on students’ understanding of the basic concepts to enable them to budget, perform basic financial statement analysis, and evaluate financial performance.  Also included in this course are working capital management, the time value of money, capital investment analysis and capital financing. The course uses a case-study approach to enable students to gain new analytical skills in health care finance. Prerequisite: basic accounting or permission of Instructor.  Cr 3.

MPH 650 Applied Public Health Research and Evaluation
The goal of this course is to provide students with an understanding of the fundamentals of evaluation and research as applied to public health interventions. The course covers process, outcome, impact, and participatory evaluation, and frameworks and designs common in public health. Students will gain skills including: framing evaluation questions, developing abstracts, designing/presenting a poster presentation, creating data collection protocols, and drafting evaluation plans. Cr 3.

MPH 655 Public Health Practice
The goal of this course is to introduce students to fundamental skills used in everyday public health practice. The course focuses on public health core competencies that have been defined by the field. Cr 3.

MPH 660 Health Policy
Students gain an understanding of the political dynamics of health policy making and develop practical skills in policy analysis, policy communication, and health care public/public health advocacy. The course uses analytic models, case studies, guest speakers, readings, group discussion, and mock legislative testimony to promote a practical understanding of how ideas succeed—and fail—to become laws and regulations.  Cr 3.

MPH 665 Health Economics
The first part of this course (economics and public policy foundation) introduces the student to the basic concepts and analytical tools of microeconomics and demonstrates the use of these concepts in analysis of public policy problems and designing appropriate responses. The second part of this course, the health economics module, applies these concepts and tools to understand health care drivers, the demand for and supply of health care and the role that markets and government play in resource allocation within our health care and public health systems. Cr 3.

MPH 670 Quality Improvement
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the principles and practice of quality improvement as implemented by providers of health care, systems of care, community health and public health agencies. Course content focuses on describing, measuring, improving, and evaluating the quality  and safety of health services for consumers and populations. Students develop competencies in identifying opportunities for quality improvement, selecting and using quality improvement tools and methods, and presenting their work in a professional context. Cr 3.

MPH 675 Health Information Management
This course addresses the uses of health information by managers. The course inventories the numerous information requirements within public health and health care delivery systems, with an emphasis on strategic management that depends on timely, accurate information. In addition to portfolio and systems management, the challenges of operationalizing the use of  information for managing population health, for identifying community needs and for surveillance of public health issues are also addressed. Other topics covered include data privacy and security, meaningful use, the challenges of interoperability, and trends and issues in emerging mobile health information technology.  Cr 3.

MPH 676 Data Management and Analytics
Business analysts typically spend 80% of their time on data management and only 20% of their time on analytics. This course provides a comprehensive introduction to data management using R language, an environment for statistical computing and visualization. Knowledge of basic statistics through linear regression is helpful, but not necessary. The course assumes students have had no previous exposure to computer programming. Cr 3. 

MPH 677 Regression Models in the Health Sciences
This course will familiarize students with the use of regression models for the analysis of epidemiologic and other biomedical data. Topics will include multiple linear regression, logistic regression, log-linear models, proportional hazard models, Poisson regression, generalized linear models, goodness of fit, and analysis of residuals and other diagnostics. Students will work on individual projects and will learn to use SAS software for conducting analyses. Cr 3.

MPH 678 Information Visualization
In this course, students will learn to create charts, maps, and other visualizations to tell stories and to create effective graphical displays of evidence.  Students will learn to critically evaluate examples from print media and the internet after learning the foundations of information visualization.  Prerequisites: MPH 676 Data Management and Analytics. Cr 3.

MPH 681 Seminar in Public Health – Behavioral Health
This policy research seminar will take a closer look at public health responses to mental health needs, the challenges of mental health services in rural communities, the intersection of mental health and primary care and Maine's growing opioid addiction and substance abuse challenges. The class will include discussions with experts from Maine’s mental health care community. Cr 3.

MPH 682 Seminar in Public Health – Long-Term Care, Aging and Disability
This course provides an overview of the intersection of aging and public health through the lens of successful aging theory and the cultural constraints of ageism. We will review the aging demographic (who we are), the definitions of health function and status (how we age), the structure of the long term care system (who cares for us and what are the options), and the health assessment processes (who makes long term care decisions). The course also reviews the special topics of elder abuse and end-of-life planning and care. Cr 3.

MPH 683 Patient Safety
Preventable medical error is believed to be one of the leading causes of death and serious harm in the United States. This online course provides an interdisciplinary, cross-setting overview of patient safety principles, techniques, and best practices. Topics addressed in the online course include the epidemiology of medical error, human factors engineering, common types of errors in various healthcare settings, and the applied practice of error mitigation and patient safety strategies. Students also explore patient safety improvement techniques most appropriate to their profession or setting of care. Cr 3.

MPH 684 Bioethics, Medicine & Law
The course will focus on two sets of issues: First, a range of current medical, legal, ethical issues will be examined–right to die, right to treatment, organ transplant, assisted reproduction (IVF), rights of handicapped individuals, parental control and the continuing debate in re abortion and contraception. Second, we will examine a range of physician and hospital malpractice issues including discussion of issues arising in the context of medical research. Cr. 2.

MPH 690 Public Health Policy for Children and Families
Numerous federal and state policies and programs support early child care and education, child welfare, youth services and children’s health.  Many of these policies focus on children and families in need or in trouble. These initiatives are often uncoordinated and address problems that are manifest and “downstream.” A prevention-focused public health perspective that promotes the health and well-being of children and families “upstream” has great potential to achieve better wellness and outcomes. This course examines the current frameworks for understanding children’s health and mental health, youth services, and child welfare. These frameworks are informed by the growing knowledge base in early childhood development. We then examine current efforts to change policies to a population-based public health approach. The course includes guest lectures from members of Portland’s and Maine’s children and family services community. The class will be conducted in a seminar format. Cr 3.

MPH 697 Independent Study
An independent study is a self-directed learning experience designed to develop a student’s ability to plan, organize, research, and report or to develop specific skills beyond the classroom activity. Independent studies are intended to provide exposure to concepts or topics that are not covered by any other course in the program.  An independent study must be related to students’ academic program and be monitored by a program faculty member. Independent studies may take the form of either a reading or a special project.  Prerequisite: instructor permission.  Cr 3.

MPH 698 Field Experience
The Field Experience offers experience-based learning in a healthcare or public health organization. Students work in community health settings in organizations delivering and planning health or public health services on jointly developed projects or on assignments based on the student’s interests and the organization’s needs. Sites include state or local public health agencies, hospitals, medical practices, clinics, special problem clinics and facilities, and environmental programs and services.  Prerequisite: instructor permission.  Cr 3.

MPH 699 Capstone
In this integrative, experience-based course, students work with a faculty capstone advisor to develop and complete a project to address a program evaluation need, a management, policy or practice problem, or research topic in their area of interest. Students develop and present a formal project proposal and present their final product upon completion.  Prerequisite: instructor permission.  Cr 3.