University of Virginia
The Rotunda at U.Va.
2005-2006
GRADUATE RECORD
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
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Course Descriptions

Department of Public Health Sciences

UVa Health System
P.O. Box 800717
Charlottesville, VA 22908-0717
(434) 924-8646 Fax: (434) 924-8437
ms-hes@virginia.edu
http://healthsystem.virginia.edu/internet/hes

In April 2005 the Department of Health Evaluation Sciences was renamed the Department of Public Health Sciences. The degree titles and HES course mnemonic remain unchanged.

Requirements

Admission For both the Master of Science in Health Evaluation Sciences (M.S.) and the Master in Public Health (M.P.H.), applicants must possess a minimum of a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution and must have taken the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) or Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Students who hold an M.D., Ph.D., Pharm.D., J.D., or D.V.M. from an accredited American university are exempt from the GRE/MCAT requirement. Applications must be submitted to the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences with supporting transcripts and recommendations as described in the application packet. Those whose first language is not English must pass the TOEFL with a score of at least 600 (paper-based test) or 250 (computer-based test).

Master of Science in Health Evaluation Sciences

The Master of Science in Health Evaluation Sciences is a 31-credit program designed to be completed in one year, although part-time options spanning two or more years are also available. Students choose one of two tracks (or focus areas): Clinical Investigation and Patient-Oriented Research, or Informatics in Medicine and Health. Details concerning each track are available from the department. The program includes a core curriculum, a set of core electives, and courses specific to each track.

A thesis (resulting in a publishable manuscript) or a practicum project under the direct supervision of a PHS faculty advisor is required of all students. It may be a grant proposal, a project linked to the student’s job, or a practicum with a local health organization or research team. Upon completion, an oral presentation of the work before the PHS faculty is required.

Departmental Core Courses:

Fall

HES 700

Intro. to Biostatistics

3

HES 701

Fundamentals of Epidemiology

3

HES 745

Database Design and Implementation

3

HES 719 The Practice of Health Evaluation Sciences
1

HES Core Electives

HES 707

Health Care Informatics

3

HES 709

Health Care Economics

3

HES 710

Health Care Policy and Management

3

Clinical Investigation & Patient-Oriented Research Track

Objectives This track teaches students to apply the basic sciences of clinical investigation (including measurement, data analysis, computing) and clinical trials design, execution, and interpretation. Graduates are qualified to direct and evaluate clinical research and become effective clinical scientists.

Prerequisites A bachelor’s degree in biological or social sciences, or relevant experience.

Fall

Departmental core courses

11

Core Electives

3

Electives

3

Departmental core contains a 1-credit course statistical language component.

Spring

HES 751

Applied Biostatistics

3

HES 712

Health Technology and Outcomes Evaluation

3

HES 731

Clinical Trials Methodology

3

or    

HES 702

Appplied Epidemiological Methods

3

Theis or Project (choose one option):

Thesis

5

or

 

Practicum

2

Choose one elective with practicum

3

Informatics in Medicine and Health Track

Objectives This track teaches students to understand, measure, and improve health services using health information and health data.

Prerequisites A bachelor’s degree in biological, economic, or social sciences, or relevant experience.

Fall

Departmental core courses

11

HES 707

Health Care Informatics

3

HES 709

Health Care Economics

3

Spring

HES 706

Evaluation Methods in Public Health and Health Informatics

3

HES 712

Health Technology & Outcomes

3

HES 747

Health Care Quality Improvement

3
HES 710

Health Care Policy & Management

3
 

or approved elective

HES 795

Statistical Bioinformatics in Medicine

Thesis or Project (choose one option):
 

Thesis

5

 

or

 

Practicum

2

Choose one elective with practicum

3

Master of Public Health

The Master of Public Health (M.P.H.) is an interdisciplinary professional degree offered individually or jointly with other professional degrees. It is designed to provide an understanding of the public health sciences, knowledge, and skills that are used in public health practice, population-based research, and health care policy and management. The program draws upon the strengths of UVa faculty within the Schools of Medicine, Arts & Sciences, Nursing, Law, Education, and Architecture, as well as the larger university community. While the M.P.H. degree is designed to meet national accreditation requirements, it provides flexibility for students to tailor the program to their particular interests. After completing a core set of courses basic to public health, students pursue advanced coursework in a particular track and choose a concentration for their fieldwork or research from a variety of topics and areas of study. The program features courses in public health law and ethics.

Degree Requirements

As defined by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH), the Accreditation Criteria for the M.P.H. degree include the following: course work in five core areas of public health; additional course work in an area of concentration; and a field placement and a "culminating" experience that require students to synthesize and integrate knowledge from coursework and public health field work.

Core Areas The core courses provide the basic skills and knowledge necessary for public health. The CEPH Accreditation Criteria for the M.P.H. degree require at least one course in each of the following five core areas:

  1. Biostatistics: collection, storage, retrieval, analysis and interpretation of health data; design and analysis of health-related surveys and experiments; and concepts and practice of statistical data analysis;
  2. Epidemiology: distributions and determinants of disease, disabilities and death in human populations; the characteristics and dynamics of human populations; and the natural history of disease and the biologic basis of health;
  3. Environmental health sciences: environmental factors including biological, physical and chemical factors that affect the health of the community;
  4. Health services administration: planning, organization, administration, management, evaluation and policy analysis of health programs; and
  5. Social and behavioral sciences: concepts and methods of social and behavioral sciences relevant to the identification and the solution of public health programs.

M.P.H. Field Placement Each student must complete a planned, supervised and evaluated practical experience. Practical knowledge and skills are considered an important component of a public health professional degree program; students must apply the knowledge and skills acquired through their courses of study. Placement opportunities will be available with a wide a range of community agencies, including local and state public health agencies in the program’s geographic area, and federal agencies. Students may request an alternative to the traditional M.P.H. field placement based on well-defined criteria. The possession of a prior professional degree in another field or prior work experience that is not closely related to the academic objectives of the student’s degree program would not be sufficient reason for changing the Field Placement requirement.

M.P.H. Culminating Experience Students must complete a culminating experience that requires them to synthesize and integrate knowledge acquired in course work and other learning experiences and to apply theory and principles in a way that approximates some aspect of professional practice. Different models are possible, including written or oral comprehensive examinations, supervised practice placements, a major paper such as a thesis or an applied research project, or the development of case studies.

Required Courses and Tracks

The M.P.H. degree program requires students to complete 42 credits of course work: at least 24 credits of required courses; 12 credits of course work in a track or concentration; and the remaining credits in electives.

Each student accepted into the M.P.H. program will identify a concentration and develop an individualized course of study with their advisor (and approved by an M.P.H. faculty steering committee) that addresses the student’s professional interests, needs, and goals.

Students also must complete up to 6 credits to satisfy the field placement and culminating experience.

Core Courses

  1. Epidemiology (HES 701)
  2. Biostatistics (HES 700)
  3. Environmental Health (HES 738)
  4. Health Policy/Health Administration (HES 710)
  5. Social and Behavioral Sciences (HES 735)

Other Required Courses

Includes two supplemental quantitative courses, Public Health law and Ethics (HES 705) and at least 4 track-specific courses.


Course Descriptions

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HES 700, 500 - (3) (Y)
Introduction to Biostatistics

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program or instructor permission.
Covers the fundamentals in medical statistics including descriptive statistics, estimation, hypothesis testing, precision, sample size, correlation, problems with categorization of continuous variables, multiple comparison problems, and interpreting of statistical results. May be open to undergraduates as HES 500 with instructor permission.

HES 701, 501 - (3) (Y)
Fundamentals of Epidemiology

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program or instructor permission.
Introduces the field of Epidemiology and the methods of epidemiologic research. Students learn how to interpret, critique, and conduct epidemiologic research, including formulating a research question, choosing a study design, collecting and analyzing data, controlling bias and confounding, and interpreting study results. May be open to undergraduates as HES 501 with instructor permission.

HES 702 - (3) (Y)
Applied Epidemiologic Methods

Prerequisite: HES 701 or instructor permission.
Surveys the epidemiology of different infectious and chronic diseases, covering their natural history, clinical course, and risk factors. Students apply this knowledge to a disease of interest to them and write a research proposal to address their topic.

HES 705, 505 - (3) (Y)
Germs, Guns, & Lead: Public Health Ethics and Law

Required fall course for Community & Public Health track. Explores the legitimacy, design, and implementation of a variety of policies aiming to promote public health and reduce the social burden of disease and injury. Highlights the challenge posed by public health’s population-based perspective to traditional individual-centered, autonomy-driven approaches to bioethics and constitutional law. Other themes center on conflicts between public health and public morality and the relationship between public health and social justice. Illustrative topics include mandatory immunization, screening and reporting of infectious diseases, prevention of lead poisoning, food safety, prevention of firearm injuries, airbags and seat belts, mandatory drug testing, syringe exchange programs, tobacco regulation, and restrictions on alcohol and tobacco advertising. May be open to undergraduates as HES 505 with instructor permission.

HES 706, 506 - (3) (Y)
Evaluation Methods in Public Health & Health Care Informatics

Provides an overview of the principles and methods of evaluation in public health and health informatics. Covers evaluation paradigms, program planning, evaluation plan design, and use of evaluation findings. Frequent tools in evaluation (surveys, focus groups, and interviews) will be discussed in depth. Students will have the opportunity to design and conduct an evaluation for an existing program in public health or application in health informatics. May be open to undergraduates as HES 506 with instructor permission.

HES 707, 507 - (3) (Y)
Health Care Informatics

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program or instructor permission.
Explores nature and functions of health informatics, the current state of the science, present and future applications, and major issues for research and development. Includes information processing and management, decision support, computer-based patient records and information systems, standards and codes, databases, outcomes research, and the generation and management of knowledge. Also surveys current developments in instructional technology. May be open to undergraduates as HES 507 with instructor permission.

HES 708, 508 - (3) (Y)
International Health Policy

Addresses the questions of what makes a good health system, how we know whether a health system is performing well, and what makes a health system fair through a comparison of the financing, delivery, and operation of health systems throughout the world. Focuses on differences both in health system performance (as measured by death, disability, morbidity, access, and patient satisfaction) and in health system inputs. May be open to undergraduates as HES 508 with instructor permission.

HES 709, 509 - (3) (Y)
Health Care Economics

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program or instructor permission.
Reviews principles of economics most relevant to analyzing changes in health care provision and applies those principles to current health care institutions and their performance, trends in health care service delivery, and methods of forecasting future trends. May be open to undergraduates as HES 509 with instructor permission.

HES 710 - (3) (Y)
Health Care Policy and Management

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program or instructor permission.
Focuses on the evolution of the American health care system from a health policy and values perspective, emphasizing the current health care system. Reviews unsuccessful legislative attempts to implement a national health program and discusses current issues surrounding the financing and organization of the delivery of health care under various economic and political frameworks. Cross-listed as GSAS 510.

HES 711 - (3) (IR)
Survey Research Methods

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program or instructor permission.
Covers the theory and practice of survey research. Topics include surveys as a scientific method; sampling theory; the construction, testing, and improvement of survey instruments; interviewer training; the organization of field work; coding and data quality control; data analysis; and the preparation of survey reports. Cross-listed as SOC 511.

HES 712 - (3) (Y)
Health Technology and Outcomes Evaluation

Prerequisite: HES 700, 701, and 703 or instructor permission.
Introduces students to the techniques needed for the evaluation of health outcomes from the perspectives of the patient, the physician, the health care provider, and society. Presents measurement and evaluation of survival, functional status, quality of life, and health values. Evaluates the efficacy, effectiveness, and cost-effectiveness of devices, interventions, and processes of care.

HES 718 - (1) (Y)
The Practice of Public Health

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program.
Lectures by guest speakers in the field of public health will help M.P.H. students learn about opportunities in the field and prepare for their own field placement. Speakers will vary depending on availability and topical issues in public health.

HES 719 - (1) (Y)
The Practice of Health Evaluation Sciences

Prerequisite: Graduate standing in the PHS program.
Lectures by guest speakers in the field of health evaluation sciences that will help the masters-level student learn about opportunities in the field and prepare for his or her own research. Speakers will vary depending on availability and topical issues in the field.

HES 720, 520 - (3) (Y)
U.S. Healthcare: Policy, Organization, and Administration

Prerequisite: HES 709, 710, GSAS 510, or acceptable substitute in health policy, economics, or financing; or instructor permission.
Examines the U.S. health care system from health policy, health systems, and health administration perspectives, with an emphasis on current challenges facing the financing, administration, and delivery of health services. Using a case-based method, the course will employ lecture, discussion, and student-led group projects that encourage analysis of real-world scenarios in today’s complex health and medical environments. May be open to undergraduates as HES 520 with instructor permission.

HES 725, 525 - (3) (Y)
Public Health Ethics: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

This interdisciplinary seminar focuses on the ethical dimensions of the choices societies and individuals make when addressing threats to and responsibilities for the public's health. A range of philosophical theories and contemporary positions are examined to explore the complex concepts of "public" and "health." Investigated are the impact of various understandings of the public, not only as a numerical population that can be defined and measured, but also as a political group that operates under legally defined obligations and relationships, and as a "communal" public with diverse cultural and moral beliefs. The various methods and content of public health ethics, including utilitarian perspectives and the role of the Code of Ethics for public health professionals are also examined. May be open to undergraduates as HES 525 with instructor permission.

HES 731 - (3) (Y)
Clinical Trials Methodology

Prerequisite: HES 700 or equivalent.
Covers the design and analysis of Phase I-III clinical trials. Topics include choice of study population and endpoints, choice of study design and sample size estimation, randomization and masking, patient recruitment, data collection and quality control, data monitoring committees, data analysis, and the interpretation and reporting of results. Cross-listed as STAT 531.

HES 735 - (3) (Y)
Health Behavior and Health Promotion

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
This core M.P.H. course is focused on the assessment of individuals, families, and communities in health and illness. Selected models derived from health promotion/disease prevention are integrated as a basis for developing an understanding of the specific content and process of assessment of individuals, families, and communities. In addition, research foundations of health promotion and disease prevention across the life span are examined. Emphasis is placed on the use of existing knowledge to guide advanced nursing and public health practice in culturally-competent interventions for the promotion of health. Cross-listed as GNUR 702.

HES 738 - (3) (Y)
Environmental Health: Principles and Practices

Prerequisite: Instructor permission.
Interdisciplinary approach to understanding, assessing, and controlling environmental factors that impact public health. Practical examples are used to help public health professionals understand how epidemiology, health surveillance, and exposure surveillance can be used to determine the potential for health problems that result from various environmental factors, and how monitoring and control techniques can reduce the impact of the environment on human health.

HES 743 - (3) (IR)
Applied Informatics in Medicine and Health

Prerequisite: HES 707 or equivalent.
Uses a case-based approach to analyze and discuss informatics techniques and tools as they apply to real-world challenges in the modern health care arena. Student participation and presentations required.

HES 745 - (4) (Y)
Database Design and Implementation

Introduces the basic principles of database design, focusing on databases that support clinical practice and/or investigation. Topics include an introduction to basic database types, DBMS functionality, modeling approaches (with a focus on E-R modeling), normalization, using SQL, and an overview of available DBMSs and design tools. Course methods include a mix of lecture format, small-group discussion, and hands-on activities. A laboratory component will facilitate greater hands-on experience in data management with widely available software tools.

HES 747, 547 - (3) (Y)
Quality Management in Health Care Organization

Prerequisite: Instructor permission; understanding of basic statistics.
Provides an understanding of the history, theory, principles, major components, and techniques for quality management, including Six Sigma, in the health care industry. Exposes students to techniques to lead and facilitate effective teams. Also provides practical applications of tools and techniques for quality improvement, such as control charting, statistical process control (SPC), and the use of benchmarking and report cards. May be open to undergraduates as HES 547 with instructor permission.

HES 751 - (3) (Y)
Applied Biostatistics

Prerequisite: HES 700.
An illustration of the indications, limitations, assumptions, and appropriate applications of analytical methods in a variety of biomedical settings. Students will learn how to determine which analytic technique(s) would be best suited for a variety of translational and clinical research, evaluation, and policy study designs.

HES 786 - (3) (IR)
Special Topics in Public Health

Examination of topical issues and current problems and research in various areas of public health.

HES 795 - (3) (Y)
Statistical Bioinformatics in Medicine

Provides an introduction to bioinformatics and discusses important topics in computational biology in medicine, particularly based on modern statistical computing approaches. Reviews state-of-the-art high-throughput biotechnologies, their applications in medicine, and analysis techniques. Requires active student participation in various discussions on the current topics in biotechnology and bioinformatics.

HES 888 - (1-12) (S)
Practicum

HES 889, 890 - (1-10) (S)
M.P.H. Field Placement

HES 891, 892 - (1-12) (Y)
Topical Research (Thesis only)

HES 893, 894 - (1-10) (Y)
M.P.H. Culminating Experience

HES 895 - (3) (S)
Supervised Clinical Research I

HES 896 - (3) (S)
Supervised Independent Research I

HES 897, 898 - (1-12) (S)
Non-Topical Research


 
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