Current course names and descriptions are available below; please note they are subject to change. You can also search for current and past course offerings on UAB's Class Schedule Listing site. Choose "HCO" in the Department drop-down to find Health Policy and Organization courses.

A comprehensive list of all Health Policy and Organization courses is included in the UAB Graduate Catalog; however, that listing does not reflect what is being offered this year.

Health Policy and Organization Courses and Descriptions

HCO 602: MCH Evidence-Based Strategies Seminar

Building on the focus of the MPH core curriculum, this course will focus on using evidence-based and informed strategies in addressing maternal and child health issues in both domestic and global settings. Topics will include basic research principles, stages of research development, and practical issues of reviewing the literature and preparing and presenting at professional meetings. Students will use evidence to develop a policy memo around an MCH issue. 1 hour.

HCO 604: Health Economics & Public Health Policy

Economics is the study of choices in a world of scarcity. This course applies basic microeconomic principles to the study of the U.S. health care system and public health policy. The first goal of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the core economic concepts (scarcity, economic welfare and market failures) which shape health care and public health policy. Next, students will be introduced to two competing theories of government — public interest theory and the economic theory of regulation — which will serve as a foundation for thinking about the role of government in health policy. Finally, the remainder the semester will provide students with a comprehensive overview of the U.S. health care system including public and private health insurance, hospitals, physicians, the pharmaceutical industry and current issues in health care reform. Ideally, students will come away from the course with a better understanding of the role of economics in the U.S. health care system, and an improved ability to analyze the motivations and consequences of government intervention in markets. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 605: Foundations Maternal and Child Health: Programs & Policies for Women, Children and Families

This course will focus primarily on public health problems and solutions of MCH populations in the United States. In addition to introductory information on specific health issues related to children and families, the evolution, status, and future performance of selected federal, state, and community programs will be analyzed. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 608: Reproductive Health

This course provides you with a foundation in reproductive health. It examines reproductive health issues, policies, programs and services, primarily in low-to-middle income countries, with comparisons to the U.S. situation. The course covers the key components of reproductive health including healthy pregnancy and safe motherhood, sexual health, fertility regulation, access to and the delivery of quality services, as well as methods for examining and improving reproductive health and care. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 609: Public Health Program Planning, Implementation and Evaluation

The purposes of HCO 609 are (1) to introduce the needs assessment and program planning, implementation, and evaluation processes specifically related to public health; and (2) to provide practical educational experiences to develop skills in applying rigorous methods and essential skills needed to conduct needs assessments and use the information gathered to plan, direct, and evaluate public health programs and impact public health policies. 3 hours.

HCO 612: Strategic Management in Health Programs

The overall goal of the course is to provide a framework for strategic management and an opportunity to develop a strategic plan through a case study. In addition, the course provides an opportunity to integrate the knowledge and experience they have acquired in previous courses and health care organizational settings into a broad theory of management. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 615: Finance for Health Professionals

The goal of this class is to teach the principles necessary for effective financial management in healthcare to individuals who are not experienced financial executives. The focus of the class is on tools and techniques that assist managers in creating information to support managerial decision making. The course uses the case method of instruction, case analysis, and lectures. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 618: Management Concepts in Public Health Programs

Management Concepts in Public Health Programs is an overview of management concepts applied to public health agencies and programs. In recognition of public and private managements’ responsibility for organizational success the course approaches management by examining recurring themes in management thought. Selected readings are provided for each class session that apply the concepts examined to the health care, not-for-profit, and/or public sectors. Some of the articles relate to domestic (USA) organizations while others relate to management in the international context. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 620: Health Insurance & Managed Care

This course provides an overview of health insurance, health insurance regulation, state healthcare reform efforts, and the Affordable Care Act. It begins with a history of the development of health insurance and its theoretical basis. It then turns to the problems of moral hazard and adverse selection. The role of managed care and employer sponsored health insurance are discussed. Regulation of private insurance and the Medicare and Medicaid programs are also reviewed. A significant part of the course will focus on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on private health insurance markets. Prerequisites: HCO 601. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 621: Clinical Decision Making and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the methods and uses of decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. Students are not assumed to have any prior exposure to the field of decision analysis, but should have basic familiarity with probability and statistics. The course will provide a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, and also will introduce several intermediate-to-advanced topics. Prerequisite: HCO 601, BST 611, BST 612, or Permission of instructor. This course is only offered online. 3 hours.

HCO 623: Pharmacoeconomics and Regulation

This course covers the process of drug and device regulation, patent and tort law, and the economic implications of the current regulatory environment. Students should be able to describe the basic laws and processes governing drug approval and marketing, the role of the Food and Drug Administration, and the provisions for exclusive marketing of new drugs and the introduction of generics. Students will be able to assess the effects of proposals to change the approval process and the way drug priced are set. This course is only offered online. 3 hours.

HCO 628: Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research in Public Health

The purpose of HCO 628 is

  1. to familiarize students with basic qualitative research methods used by public health researchers and practitioners, with a specific focus on their use in the health sciences;
  2. to provide practical educational experiences to develop skills in the planning of qualitative studies and in the collection and analysis of qualitative data; and
  3. to introduce students to the concept of mixed methods research and applications in public health.

This course is designed to familiarize students who have little or no experience in conducting qualitative research with the perspectives, methods, and techniques of a vast tradition of research. The course will cover some of the methods of data collection used in the conduct of qualitative inquiries, the analysis of textual data, the write-up of findings from qualitative studies, and the development of a qualitative research proposals and reports. 3 hours.

HCO 630: Health and Development: Life Course Approach

In developing, implementing, and evaluating effective maternal and child health programs and policies, it is critical to incorporate principles of development. Also critical is an understanding of how health trajectories of populations are influenced by broad social, economic, and environmental factors, a conceptual framework known as the life course perspective. This course will provide fundamental principles of human development and how the central components of the life course perspective influence health and development. Students will then explore how these concepts can be incorporated into programs and policies in MCH. 2 hours.

HCO 631: Public Health Demography

Demography (the study of population) has become more important across a range of academic disciplines. There is a growing call on demographers outside academia, such as for policy-making, health care planning and analysis, or business administration. Demographic changes play a critical, though often poorly understood role in influencing the social, economic, and health fabric of our lives. Demographic developments are ever more widely reported by the mass media, though not always accurately. Demography has a rich toolkit and analytical approach. This course teaches you how to use demographic data, methods, and perspectives to make sense of demographic developments and practical problems, with an emphasis on public health. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 634: Health Care Innovation

This course focuses on sustainable and socially responsible innovation. Students will be introduced to the realities of problem identification and provides a how-to framework and case studies of healthcare ventures. The class draws on the best practices in the field including the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Health Care Innovations Exchange. The instructor was also part of the team that put together the Learn Health IT curriculum for the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) and these lectures will be used extensively in this class. In addition, videos or podcasts from other sources will be used to supplement the instructor’s videos. This course is only offered online. 3 hours.

HCO 636: Public Health and Healthcare Delivery Systems

The public health system is comprised of federal, state, and local organizations and agencies. These organizations work with other entities, public and private, such as health care systems, non-profits, and pharmaceutical companies to address and combat public health issues. In this course, students will examine the functions of governmental public health, systems collaboration between public health and health care delivery, and the role of government in public health. Students will apply previous knowledge of systems thinking to examine the contributions and challenges of the public health and health care delivery related to past and current public health events. By the end of this course, students will gain skills in distinguishing organizations and components of public health and health care delivery systems. 1 hour.

HCO 637: Design and Management of Complex Public Health Systems

Designing solutions or responses to complex public health issues require management and leadership skills to navigate within and across multiple sectors. The purpose of this course is to equip students with management and leadership techniques to engage appropriate partners in the design of a solution to a public health issue. Building on work in HCO 636, students will engage in case studies that provide insight into how public health leaders historically approached complex, multi-factorial issues that required a collaborative and coordinated response across multiple sectors. The culminating project will be developing a plan to address a public health issue that incorporates multiple agencies. Students also will identify associated leadership and management skills needed for this response. 1 hour.

HCO 638: Current Issues in Public Health Policy

With global public health events such as the Ebola outbreak and more recent COVID-19 pandemic, public health students’ benefit from understanding how social and health policy influence health; physical, mental, and social well-being. As the political landscape changes, domestically and globally, public health students should critically analyze the effect of policy on determinants that impact health outcomes among populations. Policy decisions, both locally and nationally, can shape public health practice and organization dynamics, progress the achievement of health equity, increase or decrease health disparities, and more. This course will allow students to consider current public health issues and evaluate how policies or the lack thereof influence population health. This course is an in-depth opportunity for students to explore controversial public health topics and assess the effectiveness of policy implementation. By the end of this course, students will have developed the skills of analyzing and evaluating public health policy. 1 hour.

HCO 645: Comparative Health Systems and Policy

This course provides a comprehensive survey of a number of healthcare systems from low-, middle-, and high-income countries, situating the U.S. and other national experiences in a comparative cross-national frame. The course provides frameworks for students to analyze in diverse settings the different ways that health policy is developed of the program. 3 hours.

HCO 670: Social and Ethical Issues in Public Health

This class examines situations where public health programs or policies create or become embroiled in social controversies. Topics examined include: the underlying social conflicts involved in these controversies, the nature of the types of groups involved, and the ethical dilemmas that face decision makers in these situations. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 672: Perinatal Health: Issues, Data and Policies

The purpose of this course is to provide students with knowledge related to perinatal health issues and polices. In addition, the course will allow students to gain basic skills in analysis of population-based data sets using SAS. This course at the 600-level is an elective for students seeking the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy’s MCH Leadership and Policy Track. It is offered at the 700-level for doctoral students. Other students interested in this area are encouraged to register. An introductory SAS course is recommended but not required. This course is also available online. 3 hours.

HCO 677: Patient-Based Outcomes Measurement

This course will provide an in-depth overview of the concepts, methods, and instruments used to evaluate health from the perspective of the individual. The overall objective of this course is to provide a detailed examination of patient-based/centered outcomes measurement in the context of health care delivery systems and health care policy. The course will incorporate lectures, classroom discussion, and class exercises. Prerequisites: BST 601 or Permission from Instructor. This course is only offered online. 3 hours.

HCO 681: Research Methods and Study Design

The course supplements the material covered in HCO 787, with a focus on the sensible application of econometric methods to important topics in health research. The course will begin with an overview of experimental and non-experimental research and the critical distinction between associative and causal relationships. The remainder of the course will focus on the difficulty of identifying causal relationships in non-experimental contexts, and the methods that are commonly used to overcome these challenges. At the end of the semester, students should come away with an improved grasp of the interdisciplinary language of health research and a deeper appreciation of the importance of research design. 3 hours.

HCO 687: Empirical Methods for Health Research

The course aims to provide a thorough treatment of simple and multivariate regression models, simple binary dependent variable models, simple panel data models, and instrumental variables methods. Particular emphasis is placed on methods used to address omitted variable bias, such as difference-in-difference. The course is structured to provide students with ample opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in working with data by performing empirical analysis using the statistical software STATA. Prerequisite: Upper level undergraduate or graduate course in statistics and probability; basic calculus. 3 hours.

HCO 691: Policy Analysis: Modeling and Simulation

Training in basic skills necessary to design, test, implement, manage, present, and critique policy analysis in health care sector. Fundamentals of policy research design, and linkage between theory and operation. Various research techniques examined case studies and analyses of secondary data. Emphasis on choosing appropriate analytical strategies for particular policy issues. Data analysis using computers and critical evaluation of technical policy literature. Special topics in econometrics also addressed. Original policy analytic paper required at end of sequence. Prerequisites: HCO 601 or equivalent, BST 600 or higher recommended. This course is only offered online. 3 hours.

HCO 695: HCO Integrative Learning Experience

The MPH ILE or capstone course must provide an opportunity for a graded written assignment that incorporates demonstration of the synthesis of MPH foundational & concentration specific competencies. The ILE represents a culminating experience. MPH students should complete the ILE in the final term of the MPH program, after all core courses and the MPH internship experience are completed. The MPH Capstone course allows students to demonstrate synthesis of both foundational and concentration competencies appropriate to the students’ educational and professional goals. 2 hours.

HCO 698: Master Level Directed Research in HCOP

Independent study with guidance of appropriate faculty. Pass/No Pass 1-9 hours.

HCO 699: Master's Level Project Research Health Care Organization and Policy

Research for project under direction of appropriate faculty and/or research project committee. 1-9 hours.

HCO 704: Health Economics and Health Policy

Economics is the study of choices in a world of scarcity. This course applies basic microeconomic principles to the study of the U.S. health care system and public health policy. The first goal of the course is to provide students with an understanding of the core economic concepts (scarcity, economic welfare and market failures) which shape health care and public health policy. Next, students will be introduced to two competing theories of government — public interest theory and the economic theory of regulation — which will serve as a foundation for thinking about the role of government in health policy. Finally, the remainder the semester will provide students with a comprehensive overview of the U.S. health care system including public and private health insurance, hospitals, physicians, the pharmaceutical industry and current issues in health care reform. Ideally, students will come away from the course with a better understanding of the role of economics in the U.S. health care system, and an improved ability to analyze the motivations and consequences of government intervention in markets. 3 hours.

HCO 708: Reproductive Health

This course provides you with a foundation in reproductive health. It examines reproductive health issues, policies, programs and services, primarily in low-to-middle income countries, with comparisons to the US situation. The course covers the key components of reproductive health including healthy pregnancy and safe motherhood, sexual health, fertility regulation, access to and the delivery of quality services, as well as methods for examining and improving reproductive health and care. 3 hours.

HCO 714: Life Course Seminar

The purpose of this course is to expand knowledge and research skills around MCH life course issues. As guided by faculty, students will review and critique the literature in given areas around life course science and specific life span issues. Students will work with the library liaison to conduct extensive literature reviews and move toward writing a manuscript for submission to a peer-reviewed journal. It will serve as a foundation for skills needed in other courses as well as foundational knowledge related to maternal and child health science. 3 hours.

HCO 715: Finance for Health Professionals

The goal of this class is to teach the principles necessary for effective financial management in healthcare to individuals who are not experienced financial executives. The focus of the class is on tools and techniques that assist managers in creating information to support managerial decision making. The course uses the case method of instruction, case analysis, and lectures. 3 hours.

HCO 716: Advanced Leadership and Practice Seminar

The aims of this seminar are multifaceted. Part I of the course will explore and discuss the nature and processes of doctoral education and academic teaching, scholarship, service, and other duties related to a traditional academic research or scholarly practice setting. Part II of the course allows doctoral students to enhance their leadership skills, through personal development activities as well as through interaction with public health leaders. In Part III, students will gain a deeper understanding of how research is applied in public health practice through the completion an interdisciplinary project that draws upon management and organizational skills. The course will be co-led by faculty members with across the department. 3 hours.

HCO 717: Seminar in Public Health Policy

The purpose of this course is to enhance doctoral students’ understanding of policy and their ability to integrate policy into research and practice. The course will engage students in discussion and reflection about the intersection between policy and public health practice, with an emphasis on tools and skills needed for policy development. 3 hours.

HCO 718: Management Concepts in Public Health Programs

Management Concepts in Public Health Programs is an overview of management concepts applied to public health agencies and programs. In recognition of public and private managements’ responsibility for organizational success the course approaches management by examining recurring themes in management thought. Selected readings are provided for each class session that apply the concepts examined to the health care, not-for-profit, and/or public sectors. Some of the articles relate to domestic (USA) organizations while others relate to management in the international context. 3 hours.

HCO 720: Health Insurance and Managed Care

This course provides an overview of health insurance, health insurance regulation, state healthcare reform efforts, and the Affordable Care Act. It begins with a history of the development of health insurance and its theoretical basis. It then turns to the problems of moral hazard and adverse selection. The role of managed care and employer sponsored health insurance are discussed. Regulation of private insurance and the Medicare and Medicaid programs are also reviewed. A significant part of the course will focus on the impact of the Affordable Care Act on private health insurance markets. Prerequisites: HCO 601. 3 hours.

HCO 721: Clinical Decision Making and Cost-Effectiveness Analysis

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the methods and uses of decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis. Students are not assumed to have any prior exposure to the field of decision analysis, but should have basic familiarity with probability and statistics. The course will provide a thorough grounding in the fundamentals of decision analysis and cost-effectiveness analysis, and also will introduce several intermediate-to-advanced topics. Prerequisite: HCO 601, BST 611, BST 612, or Permission of instructor. 3 hours.

HCO 728: Qualitative and Mixed Methods Research in Public Health

The purpose of HCO 628 is

  1. to familiarize students with basic qualitative research methods used by public health researchers and practitioners, with a specific focus on their use in the health sciences;
  2. to provide practical educational experiences to develop skills in the planning of qualitative studies and in the collection and analysis of qualitative data; and
  3. to introduce students to the concept of mixed methods research and applications in public health.

This course is designed to familiarize students who have little or no experience in conducting qualitative research with the perspectives, methods, and techniques of a vast tradition of research. The course will cover some of the methods of data collection used in the conduct of qualitative inquiries, the analysis of textual data, the write-up of findings from qualitative studies, and the development of a qualitative research proposals and reports. 3 hours.

HCO 730: Health And Development: Life Course Approach

In developing, implementing, and evaluating effective maternal and child health programs and policies, it is critical to incorporate principles of development. Also critical is an understanding of how health trajectories of populations are influenced by broad social, economic, and environmental factors, a conceptual framework known as the life course perspective. This course will provide fundamental principles of human development and how the central components of the life course perspective influence health and development. Students will then explore how these concepts can be incorporated into programs and policies in MCH. 2 hours.

HCO 772: Perinatal Health: Issues, Data, and Policies

The purpose of this course is to provide students with knowledge related to perinatal health issues and polices. In addition, the course will allow students to gain basic skills in analysis of population-based data sets using SAS. This course at the 600-level is an elective for students seeking the Master of Public Health (MPH) degree and the Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) in the Department of Health Care Organization and Policy’s MCH Leadership and Policy Track. It is offered at the 700-level for doctoral students. Other students interested in this area are encouraged to register. An introductory SAS course is recommended but not required. 3 hours.

HCO 781: Research Methods and Study Design

The course supplements the material covered in HCO 787, with a focus on the sensible application of econometric methods to important topics in health research. The course will begin with an overview of experimental and non-experimental research and the critical distinction between associative and causal relationships. The remainder of the course will focus on the difficulty of identifying causal relationships in non-experimental contexts, and the methods that are commonly used to overcome these challenges. At the end of the semester, students should come away with an improved grasp of the interdisciplinary language of health research and a deeper appreciation of the importance of research design. 3 hours.

HCO 787: Empirical Methods for Health Research

The course aims to provide a thorough treatment of simple and multivariate regression models, simple binary dependent variable models, simple panel data models, and instrumental variables methods. Particular emphasis is placed on methods used to address omitted variable bias, such as difference-in-difference. The course is structured to provide students with ample opportunity to acquire hands-on experience in working with data by performing empirical analysis using the statistical software STATA. Prerequisite: Upper level undergraduate or graduate course in statistics and probability; basic calculus. 3 hours.

HCO 791: Policy Analysis: Modeling and Simulation

Training in basic skills necessary to design, test, implement, manage, present, and critique policy analysis in health care sector. Fundamentals of policy research design, and linkage between theory and operation. Various research techniques examined case studies and analyses of secondary data. Emphasis on choosing appropriate analytical strategies for particular policy issues. Data analysis using computers and critical evaluation of technical policy literature. Special topics in econometrics also addressed. Original policy analytic paper required at end of sequence. Prerequisites: HCO 601 or equivalent, BST 600 or higher recommended. 3 hours.

HCO 793: DrPH Practicum in HCO

Doctoral students are required to complete a 6-hour practicum working in a public health agency or organization. Students should have passed their comprehensive exam prior to enrolling in HCO 793. Pass/No Pass. 3-6 hours.

HCO 795: Directed Readings for Doctoral Students

Independent study with guidance of appropriate faculty. Pass/No Pass 1-9 hours.

HCO 796: Doctoral Seminar in Health Care Organization and Policy

Through participation in this course, students will be introduced to advanced topics in public health and management research. Students are required to register for the seminar course each fall and spring semester they are enrolled. 1 hour.

HCO 797: Directed Readings for DrPH Comprehensive Exam in Health Care Organization and Policy

Assists students in preparing for the comprehensive exam. Doctoral Students may register in the semester in which they prepare for and take their comprehensive exam. Pass/No Pass. 3 hours.

HCO 798: Dissertation Protocol Development in Health Care Organization and Policy

Assists students with their dissertation protocol development. Doctoral Students may register for this course during the period in which they are preparing their doctoral dissertation protocol. Pass/No Pass. 3 hours.

HCO 799: Dissertation Research in Health Care Organization and Policy

Research for dissertation under direction of dissertation committee. Pass/No Pass 1-9 hours.