Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion Course Descriptions
This course is an overview and introduction to the way in which behavioral and social factors contribute to health. It covers a wide range of topics: theories of behavioral science which have been applied to health behaviors; socio-cultural factors in disease etiology and the role of social conditions and social policy in addressing critical public health problems; individual, group, community, and technology-based strategies for health behavior change; and current issues in behavioral sciences for health promotion including its application to achieving the Healthy People 2010 goals.
This course is designed as a practical and theoretical approach to health behavior change. It explores the principles and methods of health behavior change for problems such as obesity, smoking, and alcohol and substance abuse. Strategies for individual behavior change, worksite wellness programs, self-help groups, 12-step programs, and public health programs are examined. Techniques such as cognitive behavior therapy, deep muscle relaxation, imagery and self-monitoring are practiced, and students are given experience in the design, development, and evaluation of health behavior change.
This course is designed as a comprehensive introduction to the relationship between stress, health, illness, and disease. It provides a conceptual and operational framework for understanding the interaction of psychological, social and behavioral stress factors as they influence the etiology and management of illness and disease, especially chronic diseases. The course is structured to present both an evidence-based cognitive understanding of the research literature relevant to stress and health, as well as an experiential appreciation of the effects of stress on particular individuals, including the application of stress management techniques.
This course provides a conceptual framework for students who seek careers in health education and presents clear, succinct principles of health education, health promotion, and disease prevention. The course is designed to introduce students to the competencies necessary for being a Certified Health Education Specialist (CHES), and the concepts and skills required for carrying out effective health education programs in a variety of different settings, including school, community, health care and worksite settings. Through a combination of text readings, online module sessions, and self-study, students will gain an understanding of the CHES competencies and certain core concepts in the fields of public health and health promotion.
BSHP 6008 Behavioral Epidemiology
This course examines the literature, explores in-depth and quantifies the determinants of behavior that are risk factors for several chronic and infectious disorders. These risk factors include, but are not limited to, smoking, drinking, obesity, drug abuse, and sexual behavior. This course examines the literature, and explores in-depth and quantifies the determinants of appropriate behavioral intervention strategies to eliminate or minimize the impact of disorders.
The course provides an overview of the principles of research as applied to public health issues. Students gain an understanding of the process of research from the initial development of research questions through the final presentation of research findings. Topics covered include: selection of an appropriate research design, discussion of issues of measurement, data collection strategies, and interpretation of data. Examples are drawn from health education, health promotion, disease prevention, and community health services.
BSHP 6013 Health Promotion in Clinical Practice
Health providers can implement health promotion programs to change health behavior, improve health status, and enhance the value of treatment. This course examines approaches to clinical practice in which the assessment and modification of health behaviors assumes a central role. Topics include the integration of health promotion into clinical practice and managed care programs, and steps in developing meaningful, lasting behavior change. Resources to support health promotion and behavior change programs as part of the process of delivering care are reviewed.
Communications can be powerful mechanisms of behavior change; communications can promote or inhibit health behaviors. This course examines the theoretical underpinnings in the field of communication and reviews how communication strategies are used to influence health behavior. The focus is on print and electronic media and touches on individual communication. Topics include: how communication theory informs health behavior change interventions; steps involved in planning communication campaigns about health; and skills useful in the execution of communications, such as pre-testing, designing health materials, and writing press releases.
BSHP 6016 Biopsychosocial Aspects of Health and Illness
This course is designed to investigate illness using the biopsychosocial model. The fundamental assumption of the biopsychosocial model is that health and illness are consequences of the interplay of biological, psychological, and social factors. The model will be applied to various illnesses, such as cardiovascular disorders, AIDS, cancer, diabetes, inflammation disorders, issues of adolescence, and other target areas of the health promotion field. An understanding of these influences can assist in the development of strategies to facilitate preventative health behaviors in high-risk populations and/or contribute to the modification of maladaptive health behaviors in individuals living with health conditions/diseases.
BSHP 6020 Behavioral and Psychosocial Aspects of Terrorism: A Public Health Perspective
This course is designed to explore the emergence of terrorism as it affects public health in general, and more specifically, its behavioral/psychological causes and consequences. The potential for biological, chemical, and nuclear agents to be used in a terrorist attack, has received wide publicity. Less prominent, has been the role of behavioral science in an attempt to understand and prevent terrorism, as well as concern with the immediate and long-term behavioral consequences of terrorist acts. Since one of the major purposes of terrorism is to instill fear in the population and to change the behavior of governments, public health educators need to pay attention to the psychological effects on the general public, many of whom would not be directly affected by the specific agent used in the terrorist act. The course surveys the research that has been done, and provides an introduction to the concepts and variables involved in understanding the causes, effects, and especially the challenges for public health organizations, in addressing the unique behavioral and psychosocial health issues associated with terrorism.
This course covers the basic concepts and principles of the health planning process. Topics include: needs assessment, program planning, and implementation and evaluation of public health interventions and programs. The use of quantitative and qualitative data is discussed. Examples are drawn from health education, health promotion, disease prevention and community health services.
BSHP 7090 Field Experience in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion
Students engage in the application of theory by working in an approved corporate environment, public health organization, or equivalent. Field work is supervised by a faculty member who serves as liaison to the organization.
BSHP 7091 Directed Research in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion
This course provides advanced study and research in an area chosen by the student in consultation with the professor. Opportunities for work on special problems are given.
BSHP 7092 Seminar in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion
This course looks at contemporary trends and recent developments in an area of study not examined in other elective courses. Topics may change each term. Consult the professor for subject matter to be covered.
BSHP 7093 Tutorial in Behavioral Sciences and Health Promotion
This is a comprehensive individual study of a specific topic, guided by the professor.
Under special circumstances, and with prior approval of the department chair, Environmental Health students my write a thesis as an alternative to the Environmental Health capstone course.
It is expected that the thesis will include some independent research and integration of skills acquired by the student through coursework. The thesis includes formulation of research questions, methods to carry out the inquiry and presentation of results of the research. Some theses may require approval of the University’s Institutional Review Board (IRB) prior to initiation of any thesis work. Students should work through their department chair/program advisor to determine if their thesis will require IRB review. Students must maintain regular contact with their Program and Thesis Advisors during their thesis work.
The capstone is a culminating experience designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of knowledge and skills they have acquired through their Masters in Public Health (MPH) education. Students will work cooperatively in groups on real-world public health issues appropriately applying, theory, methods and tools learned in the MPH program. The capstone is offered on-campus for on-campus students and online for online students.
Note: Approval of the Department Chair or Advisor is required for enrollment.
The Comprehensive Examination is the culminating experience for distance education students. This is a proctored comprehensive examination that covers all core areas of knowledge offered by the School of Health Sciences and Practice as well as the program areas of knowledge offered by the Behavioral Science and Health Promotion program (see core and program requirements). Distance Education students must earn a minimum score of 80% to complete this degree requirement. More details regarding content and preparation will be available upon registration for this examination. This exam is offered in spring and fall semesters only. (Note: There is no credit awarded for the comprehensive examination. The cost of the exam is equivalent of 1 credit.)
Selected issues critical to the health of the public are analyzed to gain an understanding of the processes of public health practice. For each issue, an in-depth analysis of the relationships among existing data, public policy, policy implementation, and future policy needs is undertaken. Strategies for policy change are explored.
GPH 6009 Violence: A Public Health Issue
This course places the many forms of violence into a public health context, explores what is known and unknown about the roots of violence, identifies data on sources of violence to facilitate discussion, explores public health-modeled programs to control or end violence, and identifies the means and resources to combat violence at all levels of society.
GPH 6010 Emerging Infections
Emerging and reemerging infectious diseases are posing a serious threat to the health of the world’s people. This course examines the underlying mechanisms of microbial emergence, the technology used to detect them, and the strategies available to contain them.
GPH 6024 AIDS and Other Manifestations of HIV Infection
This course examines in detail one of the most devastating epidemics of our day. Outstanding guest lecturers who are experts in their field present lectures on epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinical adult manifestations, pediatric issues, gastro-intestinal, neurological and biopsychosocial aspects, occupational issues, clinical trials, nursing issues, ethics, public health strategies and international considerations.
GPH 6033 Nutrition in Health and Disease
This course provides an exploration of the relationship between nutrition, and health and disease risk. You will gain an understanding of how dietary change can impact public health. There will be a specific focus on the role of nutrition and physical activity in overweight and obesity, as well as the major chronic diseases: heart disease, diabetes and cancers. The importance of addressing the physical, social and psychological aspects of eating to promote positive behavior change will also be addressed.
GPH 6034 Evidence Based Approaches to Complementary and Alternative Medicine
The growth of complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is widespread in the United States. While many healthcare professionals support their use, there are others who remain quite skeptical about efficacy and usefulness. The course teaches the fundamentals of the most important and widely applied forms of alternative therapies, and approaches the subject in a scientific way while preserving the founding theories of different disciplines. Issues surrounding efficacy, effectiveness, and safety are discussed. Government regulations and reimbursement concerning various CAM therapies are summarized.
MCH 6001 Introduction to Maternal and Child Health
This course applies the life course perspective to maternal and child health while providing an overview of the social, economic, environmental and behavioral influences that have a profound impact on the health of women, infants, children and adolescents in the United States. It builds on social science and public health research that posits that each stage in an individual’s life influences the next with significant implications for community and societal health. The importance of promoting and maintaining the health, safety and well-being of women, children and families is highlighted as essential to assuring the health and welfare of future generations and our society.
MCH 6012 Survey of Adolescent Health and Medicine
Adolescence is a developmental period of accelerating physical, psychological, social/cultural, and cognitive development. Many of the adverse health consequences experienced by adolescents are, to a large extent, the result of their risk behaviors. This course provides an overview of this developmental period and describes the epidemiological trends associated with specific risk behaviors. It also describes a broad array of preventive strategies and reviews models of health behavior change and efficacy. In addition, the topic of health services delivery for adolescents are addressed.