Elective Courses

Students must successfully complete 30 credits to satisfy degree requirements for the Master of Science in Health and the Public Interest program. Registration in an elective course is subject to approval by the HAPI Program Directors and the instructor for the elective course. Course availability is subject to change by term and course capacity.

Cancer health disparities represent a major public health problem in the United States. This course addresses the biological basis for the observed unequal burdens of cancer across racial/ethnic populations. The impact of genetic/genomic/epigenetic variability between groups that may affect cancer susceptibility and/or response to therapy which is vital to reducing the cancer gaps will be explored. The course will also explore evidence-based mechanisms that are designed to increase our understanding of biological factors and mechanisms that play a role in cancer health disparities.

Science diplomacy is the use of scientific collaboration among various countries to address common problems and to build constructive international partnerships and policies. With greater globalization in business and other activities, public health concerns have become more urgent. Implementing appropriate policies and distributing accurate information on emerging diseases, health hazards, and health related terrorist threats are an eminent goal for health policy experts. In this seminar course, students will establish 1) a fundamental understanding of science policy and diplomacy by learning key components such as principles of bioethics, technology transfers, science literacy, funding merits for basic and applied research, and biomedical ethics; 2) an understanding of the practical development and application of science policy by examining how science policies are drafted and implemented by Congress 3) a knowledge of recent emerging diseases and other public health concerns including radiation effects as will be presented by the instructor or guest speakers who are leading experts in the fields. A thorough understanding of science is the crucial component for policy makers and those who are involved in preparing policies. By the end of the course, students will be able to draft policies for science diplomacy in order to address current emerging infectious diseases as well as other global health concerns.

This seminar explores, through lecture, discussion, role playing, and problem solving, the range of legal challenges and public policy issues affecting older adults. Subject areas include health care benefits (Medicare, Medicaid); long-term services and supports (nursing homes, home and community-based services, long-term care insurance, state-based programs); income security programs (Social Security, SSI); aging and autonomy, including elder abuse, neglect and exploitation and advance planning related to incapacity (powers of attorney, guardianship and its alternatives, choices regarding life-sustaining medical treatment); housing and consumer issues affecting older adults; and ethical issues in representing older adults. Coursework will address systemic inequities faced by older adults of color, older women, LGBTQ older adults, older adults with disabilities, and older adults who are immigrants or have limited English proficiency. The seminar is both practice- and policy-oriented and integrative with respect to other coursework and related disciplines.

The course will explore the potential for innovative approaches and technologies to “disrupt” business as usual approaches to global health, including digital health, mobile technology, and design thinking. These opportunities are often led by the private sector, and are usually client centered rather than driven by traditional health system stakeholders. The course will feature guest lecturers by subject matter experts from academia, the private sector, government agencies, and international organizations.

This course provides an introduction to how public policy can be used to improve healthcare quality and the public reporting of quality.

Topics include:
(1) The National Quality Strategy under the Affordable Care Act (ACA); quality under “Medicare For All” proposals; the Quality Payment Program under MACRA and MIPS; the quality of Medicaid; racial/ethnic disparities in quality; international comparisons.
(2) Quality measures and the science of ranking and comparing providers.
(3) Designing incentives for rewarding quality
(4) Protecting the patient: patient safety and medical errors
(5) Coordinating care: electronic health records and digital health care; the medical home model; bundled payment design
(6) Measuring preventive care quality
(7) Reporting quality: report cards; consumer use of public reports; physician use of internal reports; crowd-sourced quality ratings
(8) Measuring overuse, underuse, waste, and the costs-savings from quality; comparative effectiveness methods; geographical cost and quality variation
(9) Current policy issues in personalized medicine and genomics
(10) The impact of insurer/provider competition and consolidation on quality
(11) The Opioid Crisis.

This course will examine the evolution of legal and policy responses to addiction, mental health, and related social issues. Legal frameworks, policy levers, and political landscapes that impact system reform will be examined. The first part of the course will introduce students to key principles in addiction and mental health law with a focus on the tension between the role and power of government and individual rights and liberties. The second part of the course will highlight key themes in the evolution of addiction and mental health policy. We will end by identifying policy levers and practical tools for reform.

In this course, we focus on understanding women’s reproductive health and well-being around the world. This includes exploring women’s reproductive health status as well as the multiple determinants of their health. We will explore major causes of morbidity and mortality for women and their newborns, current and emerging health issues, effective policies, strategies and programmatic approaches.