Health Policy

The Ph.D. in Public Policy with a specialization in health will enable the doctoral graduate to understand the role of public policy and health care issues confronting society today. Health policy involves skills such as understanding agenda-setting, alternative specification, and policy formulation. Specific issue areas that may be of interest to the student include: Medicaid/Medicare, manager care organizations, the health care delivery system, and health care inflation. The study of public policy and health will prepare the student for positions in government at the local, state and federal level. Various health care agencies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), the Red Cross, and UNICEF would also be interested in students who have received this degree.

Specialization Faculty

Specialization Coordinator: Dr. Leah Jean Henry

  • Ro Di Brezzo CV, Ph.D. (Texas Woman's University), Professor, Health, Human Performance, and Recreation
  • Leah Jean Henry CV, Ph.D. (Texas Woman's University), Associate Professor, Public Health
  • Julie Hoff, Ph.D. (University of Illinois at Chicago), Department Chair, Nursing
  • Kristen Jozkowski, Ph.D. (Indiana University), Associate Professor, Public Health
  • Thomas Kippenbrock CV, Ed.D. (Indiana University), Professor, Nursing 
  • Barbara Shadden CV, Ph.D. (University of Tennessee), Professor, Rehabilitation Education and Research

Course of Study

This specialization requires twelve hours of post master’s studies. Among the course possibilities are:

  • PBHL 5213 Evaluation of Public Health Programs (Fa).This seminar style course is designed to provide students with exposure to different types of program evaluation, including needs assessment, formative evaluation, process evaluation, and outcome and impact evaluation. The course covers theoretical frameworks supporting evaluation, ethics in evaluation, methods for data collection, reporting evaluation findings, and strengths and limitations of conducting program evaluation. Prerequisite: PBHL 5563
  • PBHL 5533 Theories of Social and Behavioral Determinants of Health (Fa). This course will provide a basic foundation in the social and behavioral sciences relevant to public health. Students will learn the role of social and behavioral determinants in the health of individuals and of populations. Then, students will learn models and theories of health behavior, both generally and specifically. Generally, the student will learn how to identify, analyze, and use theoretical constructs and principles with particular attention to the use of theory in professional public health practice. Specifically, the student will learn the constructs and principles of several theories commonly used in public health behavior research and intervention design. The course will cover the four major individual that focus on intrapersonal factors (i.e., Health Belief Model, Transtheoretical Model, Theory of Reasoned Action/Planned Behavior, and Social Cognitive Theory) as well as several social, organizational, and community theories that are beyond the individual level..
  • PBHL 5563 Public Health: Practices and Planning (Sp). Acquaints the student with the structure, functions, and current problems in public health and with the role of education in public health. Prevention and control practices and planning will be emphasized. Prerequisite: PBHL 5573.
  • PBHL 5573 Principles of Health Education (Fa). Current trends, basic issues, controversial issues, and fundamental principles of health education.
  • PBHL 5613 Epidemiology (Fa). This course will present principles and practices related to the prevention and control of health-related conditions in the human population. Emphasis will be placed on understanding the concepts of epidemiology, including aspects of disease distribution, epidemiologic methods, risk of disease and injury, descriptive and analytic epidemiologic methods and study designs, and application of epidemiologic data to the prevention and control of disease. Format will include lecture and small group seminars.
  • PBHL 5643 Multicultural Health (Sp). Through lecture, discussion, simulations, and case studies, students will develop an appreciation for the cultural traditions and practices of different groups. The importance and implications of these traditions on health outcomes and health status will be examined. Particular attention will be paid to the role of the public health educator in mediating the impact of health disparities, including advocacy. Students will develop skills of cultural competence that are essential for public health practitioners today. Prerequisite: Graduate standing or consent.
  • PBHL 6803 Health Communication Theory, Research and Practice (Odd years, Sp). This course is designed to acquaint you with the role of communication in health education and with basic principles and practices in interpersonal, group, and mass communication. Health communication theory will be discussed in the first part of the semester, followed by important research in the area of health communication, and finally putting to practice the material will be the terminal experience for the course.
  • PBHL 699V Seminar (Irregular). Discussion of selected topics and review of current literature in community health promotion. Prerequisite: Advanced graduate standing. May be repeated for up to 12 hours of degree credit.
  • PBHL 6833 Principles of Epidemiology II (Sp, Su). Provides students with knowledge and skills necessary to design, conduct, and interpret observational epidemiological concepts, sources of data, prospective cohort studies, retrospective cohort studies, case-control studies, cross-sectional studies, methods of sampling, estimating sample size, questionnaire design, and effects of measurement error. Corequisite: ESRM 5393 or ESRM 6403. 

Other Elective Courses

It will be the responsibility of the student's Doctoral Program Advisory Committee to assist in selecting appropriate electives when necessary. Through a special arrangement with the law school, students may take up to two law courses.

For more information, please contact the specialization coordinator: Dr. Jean Henry, (479)575-2899