Based on the Evidence-Based Public Health model, the new UAB MPH core curriculum gives our students the tools they need to become competent leaders in the field of public health. This model provides the critical link between public health education, research, and practice. Through this series of courses, students will witness first-hand how the research expertise of our faculty gets translated into cutting-edge programs and policies that support the health and well-being of our communities.

Courses

PUH 601: This is Public Health

1 credit hour

Understand the history, philosophy, and values of public health, including the structure and functions of organizing governmental public health.

PUH 602: Community Assessment

3 credit hours

Becoming aware of current conditions through a community assessment is the first step to evidence-based public health. This course will introduce students to the various community assessments methods used to identify and prioritize community needs, concerns, and preferences, as well as to identify community assets, and inform the development of public health interventions. Students will be able to utilize a breadth of data sources commonly used to assess population health needs, assets, and capacities that affect community health.

Topics to be covered include the introduction to planning models, stakeholder identification, coalition building, quantitative data sources, quantitative and qualitative data collection methods, analysis of qualitative data, interpreting data, and framing community issues.

PUH 603: Quantitative Methods

3 credit hours

To appropriately address the needs of communities, we must be able to prioritize their leading health concerns. Quantitative methods allow us to examine the associations between various social, ecological, biological, and environmental factors and health outcomes, to identify populations at elevated risk for poor health outcomes, and to assess the effect of programs or policies implanted to improve health outcomes.

This course introduces students to the broad range of epidemiologic and biostatistical methods used in public health, with particular attention to how quantitative results can be communicated clearly to scientific and non-scientific audiences.

PUH 604: Programs and Policies

3 credit hours

This course covers how to collect and apply evidence of community needs in order to identify and prioritize programs and policies for implementation. Public health programs and policies should improve the quality of life of persons and communities through the reduction or elimination in the incidence, prevalence, and rates of disease and disability as well as the promotion of human flourishing via the preservation and improvement of community health. In doing so, programs and policies should strive to improve conditions and access to resources for healthy living for all persons.

Given the breadth and complexity of factors that influence health, public health has developed a rich toolkit to guide our efforts to improve community health. This course reviews key elements of that toolkit, including:

  1. methods and theoretical tools used to collaboratively and inclusively determine community priorities for promoting health;
  2. planning models and theories used to guide the development of public health programs and influence health policy; and
  3. strategies to frame public health issues with the ultimate goal of informing and successfully advocating for public health policies.

From prioritizing goals and objectives to planning for successful implementation, this course explores the multiple dimensions of the successful adoption of public health policies and programs.

PUH 605: Management and Evaluation

3 credit hours

Applying effective management methods and principles and evaluating the impact of programs and policies to determine community cost and impact are essential components of evidence-based public health. This course includes an exploration of key management, governance, and leadership principles necessary for the successful implementation, and evaluation of public health programs and policies. Managers and organizations often operate with limited resources, thus learning how to be good stewards of financial and human resources is essential. This requires the ability to develop budgets and evaluation plans, operate within and foster interprofessional collaboration, manage conflict, and ethical decision-making. A cornerstone of good management is the continuous and rigorous determination of the consequences of one’s choices and actions; did the program or policy have the desired effect? Did it have unintended consequences?

This course introduces students to methods of process, formative, summative, and outcome evaluation, including experimental designs and participatory models of evaluation.

PUH 606: Leadership for Evidence-based Public Health

1 credit hour

Developing competencies to provide effective leadership for evidence-based public health. Effective leadership for evidence-based public health requires competencies in advocacy, negotiation, communication, and collaboration, all within a “systems thinking” framework. This course includes an exploration of theoretical constructs and concepts in leadership, balanced with a series of case studies, presentations, and interviews with leaders that provide examples of the application of these leadership competencies in public health practice.

Students will learn to advocate for programs and policies, apply negotiation skills, communicate using appropriate strategies for specific audiences, collaborate through interprofessional learning experiences, and apply systems thinking to a public health issue. Students will be assessed through papers, group projects, and participation.

PUH 695: Environment and Health: The MPH Capstone

3 credit hours

Applying the evidence-based public health framework to Environment and Health. The environment — both natural and built — is both the ultimate context for, and predominate influence in the capacity of individuals, households, and communities to attain the WHO definition of health: a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Students will learn to:

  • assess the environment;
  • quantify and analyze environmental data;
  • understand and determine appropriate programs and policies to address identified environmental concerns;
  • understand the management of local, state, and federal government environmental programs; and
  • learn methods for evaluating environmental programs and policies.

Students will be challenged to demonstrate how the unique competencies attained in their MPH concentration contribute to the exploration of the impact of the environment on human health. Upon completing this Capstone course, students will understand how their concentration-specific skills and perspective can be used to address any major public health problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the UAB MPH Core change?

The UAB MPH Core changed in response to the evolving needs of the public health workforce. Based on years of research with key public health stakeholders conducted by the Council on Education for Public Health (CEPH, the accrediting body for schools and programs of Public Health), a new set of foundational competencies/knowledge was released in 2016. These new competencies are focused on the concrete skills that graduates need to be effective in the public health workforce.

What courses are required as part of the new UAB MPH Core?

The previous MPH Core included stand-alone courses in each of the five major disciplines in Public Health (i.e., Biostatistics, Environmental Health, Epidemiology, Health Behavior, and Health Care Organization & Policy). While that coursework provided a comprehensive introduction to academic public health, the approach of separating knowledge and skills into distinct disciplines does not match well with the interdisciplinary practice of public health in the real world.

The new Core includes six interdisciplinary courses designed around the Evidence-Based Public Health (EBPH) model (see ASTHO's pdfEvidence-Based Public Health Issues and Concepts for a brief introduction). This model reflects the cyclical approach used by public health practitioners to identify and address key health issues in their communities.

The first semester covers the first phases of the EBPH with courses on “Community Assessment” in the first seven-week session and “Quantitative Methods in Public Health” in the second seven-week session. Students also enroll in an overview course called “This is Public Health” that is offered online and lasts throughout the first semester of the Core sequence.

The second semester of the Core reflects the later phases of the EBPH model, with courses on “Programs and Policies” in the first seven-week session and “Public Health Management and Evaluation” in the second seven-week session. Students also enroll in “Leadership for Evidence-Based Public Health,” offered online throughout the second semester of the Core.

Course Offerings for Fall 2020

Course Delivery

This is Public Health (full term)

Online

Community Assessment (first seven-week session)

In-person

Quantitative Methods in Public Health (second seven-week session)

In-person

Course Offerings for Spring 2021

Course Delivery

This is Public Health (full term)

Online

Community Assessment (first seven-week session)

Online

Quantitative Methods in Public Health (second seven-week session)

Online

Programs and Policies (first seven-week session)

In-person

Management and Evaluation (second seven-week session)

In-person

Leadership for Evidence-Based Public Health (full ferm)

Online

Course Offerings for Summer 2021

Course Delivery

Programs and Policies (first seven-week session)

Online

Management and Evaluation (second seven-week session)

Online

Leadership for Evidence-Based Public Health (full ferm)

Online

How many credit hours is the new UAB MPH Core?

The new core includes 14 credit hours (two 1-credit courses and four 3-credit courses). A 3-credit Applied Practice Experience (Internship) and a 3-credit Integrative Learning Experience (Capstone) are also required for all MPH students, with the remaining credits reserved for concentration core and elective courses. All CEPH-accredited MPH concentrations require a minimum of 42 credit hours; some concentrations require additional hours to meet all concentration-specific competencies.

How long does the new UAB MPH Core take to complete?

The new core is designed to be completed over two semesters — Fall and Spring for on-campus students and Spring and Summer for students taking courses online.

How will the new UAB MPH Core prepare students for their concentration coursework?

The new core provides the foundational skills for the concentration coursework through a focus on:

  1. the qualitative and quantitative methods used for assessment and evaluation in public health; and
  2. the design, implementation, and management of programs and policies in public health.

The concentrations provide exposure to the theoretical underpinnings of each discipline and deepen students’ concentration-specific skills (e.g., environmental sampling, epidemiologic analysis, behavioral intervention design, policy analysis, etc.).

Can students take concentration courses or electives at the same time as the new UAB MPH Core?

Yes! The new core includes 7 credit hours in the first and second semesters of enrollment (for full-time students). This leaves room for students to begin their concentration course work or electives concurrently, based on course availability.

Can students enroll in the Applied Practice Experience (Internship) at the same time as the new UAB MPH Core?

Generally, no. Since the core provides the foundational skills necessary to be successful in public health practice, students should complete all core courses prior to beginning their internship.

When will the new UAB MPH Core begin?

The new core will launch in Fall 2020 for on-campus students and in Spring 2021 for fully online students.

Who will be required to take the new UAB MPH Core?

Students enrolled in all MPH concentrations will be required to complete the new core at UAB. Students admitted prior to Fall 2020 could choose between completing the previous five course core or the new core. Note that courses from the previous and new cores cannot be combined, as the new core is interdisciplinary.

What time do the new UAB MPH Core courses meet?

In Fall 2020 and Spring 2021, the new core courses are scheduled in the first and second 7-Week sessions and meet for 2.5 hours twice per week. The courses are currently offered from 8:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the semester. For students planning to take the Core online, courses will be offered in Spring 2021 and Summer 2021. All online courses in the School of Public Health are primarily asynchronous with some required team meetings arranged according to students’ schedules.

Who will teach the new UAB MPH Core?

Faculty from all departments in the School of Public Health will teach the new core. The courses will also feature significant contributions from our community partners, many of whom are alumni of our School. Appointed as Public Health Practitioner Affiliates, these individuals bring a critical real-world perspective and range of experiences to the core.

How will online students complete the new UAB MPH Core?

The new core is designed to provide an optimal experience for online students. All core courses are designed using the Quality Matters approach, which draws on best practices in online education to ensure that courses share a consistent, easy to navigate style.

In Quality Matters courses, all expectations, policies, and learning objectives are clearly described so that students understand how to be successful in the course. All instructional materials, activities, and assessments are carefully chosen and intentionally aligned. Students are provided multiple opportunities to assess their own learning, receive feedback, and demonstrate their mastery through a variety of assessments. Quality Matters courses are highly accessible to diverse learners, including students who have never taken online coursework before.

How will part-time students complete the new UAB MPH Core?

Because the core reflects the cyclical Evidence-Based Public Health model, the courses should be taken in numeric order. Ideally, part-time students will complete 7 credit hours during the first two semesters of their enrollment during which the core is offered. Once the Core is completed, students will begin or resume working on their concentration coursework, Applied Practice Experience (internship), and Integrative Learning Experience (capstone). Part-time students will work closely with their department’s program coordinator to develop a course completion plan that works for them.

Can students transfer course credits from another School to fulfill the UAB MPH Core requirement?

Because the new core is unique to the UAB School of Public Health, it is unlikely that courses from another MPH program would match the competencies covered by each of the six core courses. Therefore, courses from other Schools cannot be transferred to substitute for our core.

Can students be exempted from the new UAB MPH Core requirement?

All students earning a CEPH-accredited MPH degree are required to demonstrate the foundational knowledge and competencies included in the UAB MPH Core. As such, all UAB MPH students are required to complete all of the core courses; no exemptions can be made.

What is the Professional Passport and how does it relate to the new UAB MPH Core?

The Professional Passport is a co-curricular requirement designed to prepare students to be successful in the public health workforce. Starting in their first semester of enrollment, students will participate in a series of experiences that will expose them to the broad range of professional opportunities available in the field of public health. Students will learn to develop a compelling resume, cover letter, and social media presence, to work effectively in interprofessional teams, and to find professional and volunteer opportunities in their communities.

The Professional Passport is administered through Canvas (UAB’s learning management system). Though primarily self-paced, deadlines for completing didactic modules/assessments and participating in required events help students to stay on track.