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Public Health | Courses


Public Health
Gray Hall, Room 116

Dr. Jolynn Gardner
Director, Public Health

Public Health
4400 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20016

Course descriptions for public health courses and public health electives are listed below. For current class offerings, times, and additional information, visit the Office of the Registrar.

BIO-110 General Biology I (4)
An in-depth introduction and exploration of the study of life from atoms, molecules, and organelles to the cellular levels of organization. Emphasis on cell structure and function, energetics and metabolism, the gene, molecular genetics, and evolution. The laboratory component introduces the scientific method and experimentation through the study of microbes, plants and animals. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: MATH-170, MATH-211, or MATH-221, which may be taken concurrently. Note: this course is recommended for science majors, pre-medical, or honors students only.

BIO-210 General Biology II (4)
An exploration of the origins of planet Earth and life. Emphasis on the organismal and higher levels of biological organization. The diversity of life through a survey of the three domains, various kingdoms and their phylogenetic relationships. The form and function of plants and animals. A consideration of the interrelationships between organisms and environment. The laboratory component explores the diversity of life at the organismal and higher levels of biological organization. Studies include form and function of plants and animals, and selected systems. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: BIO-100 or BIO-110 or ENVS-150 or PSYC-115. Note: this course is recommended for science majors, or pre-medical or honors students only.

COMM-540 Social Marketing (3)
This course explores the principles of social marketing and compares them to other areas of specialization in public communication. Students study consumer research techniques and the definitions of social marketing, applies these principles to develop a communication strategy, and analyzes social marketing and public communication campaigns. Prerequisite: minimum 2.5 GPA.

ECON-373 Labor Economics (3)
The application of economic theory to current labor problems, domestic and foreign. Problems include wage theory and wage differentials, training policy, poverty, unemployment and underemployment, discrimination, productivity, industrialization, and union policies. Prerequisite: ECON-100, ECON-200, and ECON-300.

ENVS-324 Environmental Health (3)
This course will examine the physical, chemical and biological factors in the environment that impact community health and health behaviors. The concept and methods of risk assessment will be discussed, as well as how health-supportive environments can be created and maintained.

ENVS-575 Environmental Risk Assessment (3)
The nature and methods of environmental risk assessment through critical analysis of case histories. The scientific concepts and analytic methods of each case study is explored through solution to sets of specific problems. Case studies include statistical modeling of environmental risk factors, the principle of uncertainty, toxicology, epidemiology, the meaning exposure, types of technical risks, basics of decision analysis, and effective communication of risk assessment results. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: advanced undergraduate major or graduate student in environmental studies.

HFIT-245 Gender, Culture and Health 4:2 (3)
Provides basic understanding of gender and cultural issues affecting health. Emphasis is placed on male/female and ethnic disparities in health status and how these gender and cultural indicators affect behavioral risk factors. The relationship between health and other factors such as religion, social class/socioeconomic status, acculturation, migration, and globalization are also studied. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite for General Education credit: ANTH-150 or PSYC-105 or SOCY-100 or WGST-125.

HFIT-335 Health Promotion Program Planning (3)

An introduction to the basic principles of the development and implementation of health promotion programs. This course places particular emphasis on the identification of health and lifestyle risk factors and the interventions associated with appropriate and effective management of these risks. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: HFIT-240 or permission of department.

HFIT-410 Health Promotion Evaluation (3)

Introduction to the basic skills necessary for the effective planning, marketing, and implementation of health promotion programs. Provides the student with a basic knowledge of the analytical tools and strategies utilized in the planning, marketing, implementation, and managing of successful health promotion programs. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: HFIT-335 or permission of department.

HFIT-540 Health Communication (3)

This course addresses three distinct forms of delivering the health promotion message to consumers, professionals, and large groups. The course is divided into three modules, covering health counseling, mass health communication, and health writing and public speaking. Students have the opportunity to counsel individuals, publish manuscripts, or give a presentation on a health-related topic. Usually offered every fall. Prerequisite: permission of department.

HFIT-580 Health Policy and Behavior Change (3)

This course explores the impact of politics and health policy on health behaviors associated with chronic disease. It examines policy initiatives that affect health promoting behaviors and strategies for influencing political process. Systematic policy analysis of topics such as tobacco use, dietary choices, seat belt usage, and sedentary behavior are discussed. Usually offered alternate falls.

HFIT-585 Global Health Policy (3)

This course presents an historical foundation for global health policies, the processes of systematic policy formation and analysis, and the relationship between global health policies and social and economic development. Major bodies of influence, such as the World Health Organization and the Pan-American Health Organization, and their role in forming and enforcing international health policies. The role of state, local, and federal governments and other forms of political and social governance are discussed, as well as cultural health issues and barriers to policy development and enforcement. Usually offered alternate springs.

HIST-369 History of Medicine in the United States: from Smallpox to AIDS (3)
Health, disease, and medicine's role in American society and culture with a special focus on health dangers posed by industrialization, urbanization, and immigration. Disease and its social construction have been an important dimension of American culture and definitions of health and disease are important barometers of who we are as a people. Epidemics (including AIDS), the hospital, ethnicity, race, urban health care, controversies in medical ethics, and medical discoveries. Meets with HIST-669. Usually offered alternate springs.

JLS-303 Drugs, Alcohol, and Society (3)
Fundamental issues regarding alcohol and drug use and abuse; addiction; treatment and prevention; the history of alcohol, opiates, and other drugs in the United States and other countries, particularly Great Britain; the formulation of public policies and laws; impact and costs for society. Usually offered every fall.

JLS-526 Domestic Violence (3)

A survey of domestic violence; spouse, sibling, and elder abuse; and sexual or other violence among intimates in its broader context and from a multidisciplinary perspective. Policies, laws, court decisions, and short and long term intervention strategies are considered. Usually offered every spring.

JLS-550 Drugs, Crime, and Public Policy (3)
Review of the history of drug abuse in America; the relationship between drug abuse and crime, including marijuana, heroin, and alcohol; national strategies to deal with drug abuse; improvement of policies in the future. Usually offered every fall.

JLS-352 -Psychiatry and the Law (3)
Basic psychiatric principles including contemporary views of causes, manifestations, patterns, and treatments of psychiatric and behavioral disorders; trends in the use of psychiatric resources to deal with deviant behavior within and without the criminal justice system. Includes incompetence as bar to trial, insanity as defense, civil commitment, drug addiction, alcoholism, psychiatry in processing and treating juvenile offenders, and rehabilitative efforts of the corrections system. Usually offered every fall.

MGMT-201 Global Corporate Citizenship: Legal, Ethical and Social Issues (3)
Understanding the complexity of the business environment requires an understanding of business as a citizen. Certainly a good business citizen obeys the law, but is that sufficient? Good business citizenship also requires participation in the social order and accepting and perpetuating common values. This course prepares students to be managers and leaders of businesses that practice good citizenship in the global economy.

MKTG-250 Fundamentals of Marketing and Business for Communication (3)
This course provides an introduction to the fundamentals of marketing and business relevant to media and communications. Includes an overview of the principles of marketing, the business environment, and business strategy and an introduction to microeconomics and financial statements. Note: This course is designed for non-business majors only and may not be taken by students who have a declared or intended major in KSB.

PHIL-241 Bioethics

An introduction to the growing field of bioethics, this course examines the ethical implication of recent developments in bio-medical technology as well as the ethical lessons of historic cases. Students will read philosophers and ethicists on such topics as human subject research, patients’ rights, medical rationing, and public and global health issues. Offered every spring.

PSYC-320 Women and Mental Health (3)

This course focuses on women's functioning. Includes theories of the personality of women, common adjustment problems faced by women, and emotional problems prevalent in women. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: PSYC-105.

PSYC-333 Health Psychology (3)
An exploration of how psychological theories and techniques can minimize unnecessary morbidity and premature mortality. Behavioral, cognitive, and affective targets for primary and secondary prevention efforts are identified from epidemiological theory and research. Ways in which psychological methods can contribute to provision of outpatient and inpatient medical services. Usually offered every spring. Prerequisite: PSYC-105 or permission of instructor.

PSYC-345 Community Psychology (3)

The community rather than the individual is the subject and client in community psychology. Psychological techniques are combined with flexible research designs and concrete measures to find and document effective and cost-effective solutions to socio-political problems such as energy conservation, delinquency, homelessness, traffic safety, health promotion and unemployment. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: one introductory and two additional psychology classes.

PSYC-425 Psychology of Eating Disorders and Obesity (3)
The study of theory, research, diagnosis and treatment as it pertains to nutrition, dieting, exercise, body image, obesity, anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa. Usually offered alternate springs. Prerequisite: PSYC-105 or PSYC-115.

PSYC-430 Human Sexual Behavior (3)
Basic physiological knowledge, sex education, sexual myths, premarital and marital sexual behavior, homosexuality, pornography, etc. Emphasis on psychological aspects of sex and sexuality. Usually offered every fall.

PSYC-497 Stress and Coping (3)
Topics vary by section. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: three psychology courses, junior standing and permission of instructor.

PSYC-555 Improving Human Services (3)
To measure, monitor, and maximize the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of mental health treatment, substance abuse programs, and other human services, concrete strategies are presented for collecting, analyzing, presenting and using data on resources, procedures, processes, and outcomes. Readings are augmented with case studies and findings from evaluations by the faculty and students. Usually offered alternate falls. Prerequisite: PSYC-105 and STAT-202, or graduate standing, or permission of instructor.

PUBH-110 Introduction to Public Health (3)
This introductory course will explore the science behind public health and the role government plays to keep the population healthy. The determinants of health and disease will be discussed along with the interventions such as health care systems, public health systems, laws, and taxation that address these public health issues. Offered every fall and spring.

PUBH-320 Introduction to Infectious Disease (4)
This course will introduce the principles of infectious disease, including the natural history of common microbes, etiology of globally prevalent infectious diseases, and how the immune system fights disease-causing organisms. Mechanisms to prevent and treat infectious disease will also be discussed through the lens of public health. Offered every fall. Prerequisite: BIO-110 and BIO-210

PUBH-340 Fundamentals of Epidemiology (3)
Epidemiology is the study of the patterns and determinants of disease in populations. This course will introduce epidemiological methods, including study design, calculation and interpretation of measures of frequency, association and public health impact. Sources of study error, including the influence of chance, bias, confounding and effect modification will be discussed. Concepts of surveillance and screening will also be introduced. Offered every fall. Prerequisite: STAT-202

PUBH-391 Internship in Public Health (3)

Internship for students majoring in public health. Offered every term.

PUBH-480 Public Health Senior Capstone (3)
This seminar, required for all senior public health majors, challenges students to examine the multiple aspects of public health in a unifying manner. Students with different interests within the field of public health will work together on a capstone project and present it to the class and a panel of public health professionals. The practical application of public health will be discussed by faculty and guest speakers. Offered every spring.

SIS-419 Health Communication
Over the last decade, communication for health has become a recognized professional area across a wide range of public and private health providers, donors, and implementers of health programs worldwide. This course examines the theories behind health communication practices and the primary public health issues in the developing world: maternal and child health, infectious diseases, and nutrition. The course also considers the following: policies for communication for health and development, including public/private sector incentives; an analysis of the relationships of communication for health with print and broadcast media, including community media; information technology developments in health communication; and journalist training and ethics for health communication. Meets with SIS-628 001.

SIS-221 Global Health (3)

This is an introductory course on global health policy and practice. Based on a review of the historical foundations of international health and critical concepts from social science, ethics and public health literatures, key topics covered include the main contributing factors to the global burden of disease as well as organizational, economic and political determinants of intervention. Although a geographical focus is set on health related challenges in developing regions, the course also provides a comparative overview of health systems in more developed countries. Offered every spring.

SIS-496 Health in the Developing World
This course provides students with an understanding of the relationships between health and development from a variety of perspectives. Students gain knowledge of the linkages between health, socio-economic growth, and equity in different countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Attention is given to some of the most urgent public health challenges facing developing countries, including the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The course also introduces students to the skills required for planning, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of health programs in developing countries. Meets with SIS-635 003.

SIS-496 Health Communication across Borders
This course focuses on low-income immigrants and refugee populations in the U.S. and applies a family and community perspective to the study of their health and well-being. A community perspective recognizes the impact of economic, political, and socio-cultural context on health in general, and of inequalities rooted in policies and conditions from the global to the local on the health of immigrant populations in specific. A family-centered perspective recognizes the influence of family and cross-generational dynamics in the decision to immigrate and to seek health care, as well as the contribution of grandparents, mothers, fathers, and children to a family's economic and physical well-being. Students learn about the importance of adopting a multicultural approach to understanding community problems and assets, as well as designing and evaluating interventions with ethnically diverse communities. Meets with SIS-628 007.

SOCY-335 Birth and Death (3)
One of the few common denominators among human beings is that each of us was born into this world and each of us will die. This course examines the sociological dimensions of human "entry and exit." It focuses on how society supports, controls, and constrains our arrival into and departure from the social world. The social, organizational, and cultural dimensions of birth and death are considered in terms of rites of passage, bureaucratization, social movements, cultural differences, and historical and contemporary contexts. Prerequisite: SOCY-205.   

SOCY-396 Gender, Poverty and Health
This course adopts a global perspective to examine the interconnections among gender, poverty, and health, emphasizing the many ways that health and illness are rooted in social relations. Among the specific health issues considered using this framework are HIV/AIDS, reproductive and maternal health, violence, and occupational health.

STAT-202 Basic Statistics (4)
Classification of data, averages, dispersion, probability, frequency distributions, confidence intervals, tests of significance, nonparametric techniques, simple regression, and correlation. A package of computer programs is used to demonstrate various statistical techniques. Separate sections are available for biology, business, economics, psychology, education, sociology, and government majors. Usually offered every term. Prerequisite: MATH-15x or higher, or permission of department.

STAT-320 Biostatistics

This course will examine how statistical methods are utilized within the fields of biology, medicine and public health. Advanced statistical methods, including ANOVA, multiple regression, analysis of covariance, survival analysis and nonparametric methods will be discussed, and their applicability to public health will be emphasized. Offered every spring. Prerequisite: STAT-202

STAT- 510 Introduction to Survey Sampling (3)
This course introduces the basic approaches to surveys, including simple random, systematic, and stratified sampling. Also included is the design of questionnaires and the analysis of sample data. Emphasis is on the practical application of sampling. Usually offered alternate falls. Prerequisite: STAT-202, STAT-514, or equivalent, or permission of instructor.

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