Course Descriptions

To read more details about our Public Health courses, select the appropriate tab below. Please note this list is subject to change based upon instructional availability.

In the United States, we spend vast resources on health care and lag behind other developed countries in measures of health. Students will examine current health issues and barriers to improving health, as well as identify credible sources of health information to understand health topics such as preventing obesity, vaccines, global tobacco use, alcohol, environmental health topics, emerging infectious diseases, and access to health care. Students will learn about the compelling need for creative and multidisciplinary solutions, and how stronger policies to improve the health of the public might be accomplished.
Epidemiology methods give us a framework in which we can order these complex relationships into information that can be used to improve population health. Students will learn how to define populations and estimate the distribution of health related conditions and their determinants. We will apply epidemiology methods to surveillance, screening and study design, and understand how to assess causality and control for factors that may mask our ability to find a relationship between an exposure and a health outcome.
Includes biostatistics, research designs, and qualitative approaches with an emphasis on evaluating research articles in public health. The course is based on real world applied research needs and how those needs can best be met. Discussion and critiques of published articles, presentations by the instructor and working with example qualitative and quantitative data sets. The course will be divided into 12 modules. Requirements include critiques of articles and situations presented by the instructor, mandatory participation in chat/blog based discussions, and developing a research proposal for an applied research project.
Students will explore major areas of environmental public health (EPH), including environmental hazards, exposures, and related health outcomes, including emerging topics in environmental public health. Students will learn how to evaluate the burden of disease due to a particular exposure; critique an environmental public health article to make conclusions and recommendations; design questions for a brief public health survey; recognize the role of environment and environmental health organizations; write a grant proposal for a public health project.
Provides an overview of health care policies, organizational structures, and financing systems examined from economic, social, ethical, political, and global perspectives. Financing of health care systems will also be examined with respect to concepts and principles of change theory, ethical decision making, policy processes and analysis.
Addresses the behavioral, social and cultural factors related to individual and population health, and health disparities over the life course.
This course builds upon PH302 Epidemiology 1 which introduced students to the basic concepts of epidemiology. Epidemiology 2 allows a more in depth examination of epidemiologic methods and the application of those methods in carrying out various types of epidemiologic studies.
Building on PH304 Environmental Public Health 1, students will examine populations at higher risk for environmental health effects, as well as explore cross-cutting and emerging environmental health topics that affect global populations. Students will practice skills such as exposure assessment and risk communication that are necessary for public health practice in a variety of settings.
This is an advanced applied research methods course with the main goal of helping students understand and apply multivariate regression analyses, nonparametric methods, survival analysis and advanced concepts with confounding and effect modification. Emphasis is placed on the critical thinking that goes into using and interpreting data in public health applications.
Public health law examines the government’s authority, at various jurisdictional levels, to improve the health of the general population within societal limits and norms. Public health ethics seek to understand and clarify principles and values that guide public health actions, offering a framework for making decisions and a means of justifying them.
Explores global public health and global health challenges affecting people primarily in developing or resource-constrained countries. Cultural competency concepts will be embedded. Examine basic principles of global public health, culture and health behavior, social determinants of health, the burden of disease (infectious, chronic, mental health), reproductive health, complex humanitarian emergencies, and global health agencies and collaborations.
Eating is an everyday act for most of us, one that profoundly affects our health and wellbeing. As we face an unprecedented obesity epidemic with associated chronic diseases, our food systems are becoming increasingly consolidated, globalized and complex. Students will explore food systems’ influence on public health, and how technology, policy, biology, epidemiology, and historical knowledge can support a healthier food system.
Risk assessment is a scientific approach to identifying and quantifying risks to public health and the environment. Communicating health risk in relation to environmental issues is complicated by social, economic, political and scientific factors. This course explores theory, policy and techniques for environmental risk communication from the viewpoints of government, industry, special interest groups, and the general public.
Surveillance of infectious and non-infectious diseases, as well as health behaviors and population characteristics, is fundamental to nearly all fields of modern public health practice. By definition, public health surveillance is the “ongoing systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of outcome-specific data for use in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health practice” (CDC/ATSDR). To understand the practice of surveillance, students will examine many examples of surveillance systems from the developed and developing world with emphasis on U.S. State and Federal systems.
Addresses major issues and challenges faced by health services managers relating to established and evolving social, economic, and professional policies in a context of practical problem assessment and appropriate resolution.
This course uses population health as a context to develop students’ knowledge and appreciation of the impact of chronic conditions and social determinants, including culture, on health, linking care of individual patients and populations. Students will discover how social determinants of health (related to “place”) impact the health of populations and individual patients. Finally, students will apply these principles to the specific chronic conditions prevalent in the population of individuals over the age of 65, and evidence-based strategies to prevent and manage disease in this population.
This course provides a comprehensive overview of the major U.S. environmental public health laws and the approaches, strategies, standards, and enforcement techniques by which American law protects our environmental and our health. The focus of the course is on what law consists of, who makes it, how it is made, and how it is enforced. Students will be introduced to the major environmental laws and will evaluate issues, controversies, and developments in environmental health policy.
In this course, you will learn health economic concepts, principles and theories as well as, true to the course title, how to apply these methods to a range of practical scenarios. We will start by talking about scarcity in healthcare and how different numbers can mean very different things, depending on the viewpoint. You will learn how to undertake your own health economic evaluation, whether cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-utility analysis or cost-benefit analysis.
Zoonoses and vector-borne disease account for the majority of emerging and re-emerging diseases, and most bioterrorism agents are zoonotic. The role of other animals as reservoirs and transmitters of disease requires consideration of human, animal and environmental factors. In this course, students will examine the drivers that influence infection in animals and humans including: weather and climate, land use, biodiversity, poverty, globalization, domestication, population pressure, and anthropogenic change.
Public Health Informatics is an emerging field that seeks to employ information technology tools and methods in order to address public health challenges and improve public health practice. Because data is the currency of public health professionals, informatics is essential to successful and efficient completion of public health goals given its fundamental role in every step of the data life cycle: collection, storage, analysis, representation and dissemination.
This is an applied epidemiology course. Given that infectious diseases can spread rapidly in a population, students learn how to apply the science of epidemiology to the real world--analyzing risk factors, determining at-risk populations, and designing interventions and control measures to be used community settings--under time pressures, political and financial pressures, and the threat of continued spread of disease.
This online course provides students with an overview of the legal environment as it affects the provision of health care.  Utilizing court decisions and other law, the course explores medical malpractice, negligence, liability (physician, product, and corporate), intellectual property, criminal aspects of health care, patient consent and rights, health care reform, and compliance with such laws as Medicaid, Medicare, and HIPAA.
Following an introduction to climate science, this course explores the associated health risks, including respiratory disease, vector-borne disease, food-borne disease, malnutrition, mental health and disaster-related illness. Students explore how these changing health risks vary by geography and socio-demographics resulting in differences in population vulnerabilities.
Epidemiology is the basic science for understanding disease and health at the population level. This course is designed to teach students basic concepts and terminology of epidemiology and how epidemiology is used in determining causes of disease, public health practice, and healthcare delivery. The focus is less on detailed mathematical analyses and more on applications of epidemiologic principles. This course is ideal for health administrators, healthcare and public health practitioners, and students seeking an introduction to epidemiology.
This course systematically defines the burgeoning field of global health law, emphasizing the need for effective global governance for health. Policies that shape agriculture, trade and the environment have long-term impacts on health, and the course examines major reforms of global health institutions and governments to ensure better coordination, more transparency and accountability. Case studies on AIDS, influenza, tobacco and health worker migration illustrate the power of global health law.
This 6-credit project experience is designed to prepare graduates to apply knowledge and skills gained throughout their MPH studies in a culminating experience or project that reflects research and practice needs in actual populations. Working with a faculty mentor, students will develop a project proposal, conduct research or carry out a field placement, and develop a project presentation.

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Kelsey Donovan

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Kelsey Gleason Donovan Joins UVM with a Focus on Global Health

Helping to teach public health in a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border opened Kelsey Gleason Donovan’s eyes to the need for building capacity and empowering communities to improve sustainable health practices. Donovan, a New Hampshire native, studied at Cornell and Harvard and is trained in environmental epidemiology. The flexibility and innovation of the UVM Master of Public Health online program—as well as an opportunity to help build the program’s global health curriculum—drew her to UVM.

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