Master of Public Health Program

The AUA Gerald and Patricia Turpanjian School of Public Health (SPH) offers a two-year graduate program in Public Health – Master of Public Health (MPH). The MPH program engages experienced professionals from health care and other related fields in transformational education and training in population-based approaches to health and health services research, delivery, and evaluation. Our graduates are then prepared to lead in improving health and health services in Armenia, the Caucasus, Europe, and the World.

The MPH provides a thorough grounding in population-based approaches to health sector problem identification, investigation, analysis, and managed response. The overall objective of the MPH Program is to prepare health professionals to draw on the knowledge and skills from a variety of disciplines to define, critically assess the health needs of people, and translate that knowledge into improved health by designing, implementing, and evaluating programs to meet those needs. Thus, the intensive, modular curriculum emphasizes basic public health sciences and essential managerial and analytic skills including project planning and evaluation, epidemiologic investigation and data analysis, understanding complex determinants of health, effective communication to professional and lay audiences, and leadership.

The two-year curriculum is organized around a guiding framework, which first provides students a conceptual overview of the diverse profession of public health and the team-oriented approach to professional practice (Curriculum Map of the MPH Program).  The courses are taught in intensive, sequential blocks, which build upon and integrate with each other. The first year curriculum provides exposure to the breadth of public health disciplines. The second year curriculum provides advanced training in key methodological disciplines and concludes with a student-directed thesis-like project which integrates essential public health knowledge, skills, and methods in a professionally and personally relevant practice context. Students proceed through the program as part of a defined cohort, fostering group spirit and gaining experience in multi-disciplinary group problem solving, project leadership, and management.

While the program consists almost entirely of requirements, students infuse elective content through the multitude of individual and group projects associated with each module and through special studies activities. Students are encouraged to become involved with the Zvart Avedisian Onanian Center for Health Services Research and Development , which provides an opportunity for supervised, mentored practical experiences while addressing the health needs of Armenia and the region.

Course Listing and Descriptions (effective fall 2021 for the new MPH cohort)

PH302 General Principles of Public Health Problem Solving (3 credits)
Catalog Description. An introduction to the diverse profession of public health and a guiding paradigm for public health problems solving, this course imparts foundational public health knowledge and begins developing essential skills in critical thinking and group process. Student groups will identify and analyze current public health problems, justifying recommended courses of action. Evaluation components consist of individual and group written and oral assignments.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH 310 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course reviews the importance of behavioral and social determinants as contributors to current public health problems worldwide and in Armenia through the lens of predominant behavior change, health communication and health promotion models (e.g., Health Belief Model, Theory of Reasoned Action/Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Model, Diffusion of Innovations, and Precede-Proceed Model). Students then elucidate the implications of these behavioral and social factors on health and identify opportunities to address them, including health education and health promotion programs and national/global level policy changes. Evaluations include quizzes or examination, an annotated bibliography, individual and group presentations.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH311 Problem Investigation in Environmental Health (2 credits)
Catalog Description. This course presents the broad concepts and principles (theoretical and applied) used in organizing and assessing the major environmental health problems in low, middle, and high income countries. Students learn of quantitative and qualitative approaches to characterizing and managing risk such as establishing safe levels in air, water, soil, and food. Students also learn the principles of industrial hygiene and health surveillance of workers, applying those insights to recommend workplace health promotion and disease/injury prevention strategies. Evaluations include participation, homework assignments, examinations, and a presentation.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH319 Introductory Biostatistics (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course provides the foundation for further study of biostatistics, the science of statistics applied to the health of populations. The course covers the basic tools for the collection, analysis, and presentation of population health data. The course begins with probability and distributions and progresses to confidence intervals and hypothesis testing of discrete and continuous variables in one and two sample setting. Evaluations include problem sets, quizzes, and examinations.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH321 Inferential Biostatistics (2 credits)
Catalog Description. This course furthers the study of biostatistics, focusing on inferential reasoning and simple regression. Topics include hypothesis testing, and methods for the comparison of discrete and continuous data including ANOVA, correlation, regression and chi-square statistic. Central to these inferential reasoning skills is assessing the impact of chance and variability on the interpretation of research findings and subsequent recommendations for public health practice and policy. Evaluations include problem sets, quizzes, and examinations.

Prerequisite: PH 319. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission.

PH 320 Data Management Systems (1 credit)
Catalog Description. Students will apply their knowledge of database, spreadsheets, and statistical packages to the development of appropriate database and management information systems to process
and analyze raw data using quantitative and qualitative analysis software packages. Issues of data governance, database design, coding schemes, data cleaning, and handling missing data will be addressed. Data governance and management applications will include diverse areas such as public health research, tracking patients and resources, community surveillance (including injuries and risk factors), informing clinical decisions and protocols, hospital infection control, assessing public health programs and policies, and emergency/disaster surveillance. Evaluations include problem sets, quizzes, and examination.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH322 Epidemiology (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course introduces the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation of infectious and non-infectious diseases. Epidemiologic reasoning and assessment is demonstrated through faculty lectures and problem solving exercises (case studies, quizzes, and examinations).

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH330 Health Economics & Finance (3 credits)
Catalog Description. Health economics applies the tools of economics to issues of the organization, delivery, and financing of health care. Students will apply economic concepts to the health care sector, describe/diagram the system of health care financing and delivery arrangements in the health care sector, and analyze the role of economic factors in the development of public policy concerning health and health care. Evaluations include case studies, in-class exercises, quizzes, and examinations.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH331 Comparative Health Systems (2 credits)
Catalog Description. This course provides an overview of conceptual aspects of universal health coverage and organization of health systems worldwide. This course utilizes a conceptual framework of health systems to compare the organization, financing, purchasing and delivery functions of health care systems that are key considerations for health policy reforms to improve equity in health, system’s
responsiveness and financial risk protection. The course covers examples from low, middle, and high-income countries, including Armenia. Evaluations include in-class exercises, quizzes, exam, and a group presentation.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH 333: Politics of Public Health (1 credit)
The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the politics of public health.  The course will take a substantive approach by focusing on how public health advocacy works across political institutions and processes, in the design and implementation of public heath policy, and the construction of effective institutions for the delivery public heath solutions. Special consideration will be given to role of advocates for public health issues, non-governmental organizations, and the types of skills needed to work successfully on inter-professional teams. Evaluation components consist of individual and group written and oral inerprofessional assignments.

PH340 Health Services Management (3 credits)
Catalog Description. Health services managers lead teams of workers in complex organizational settings who are concerned with cost, quality, access, satisfaction, and safety. This course focuses on the analysis, integration, and application of principles of leadership and management to health care organizations and population-based efforts across the health care delivery system. Topics include the health care environment, functions of management, leadership principles, organizational design and assessment, organizational ethics, human resources principles, financial management, change and innovation, quality principles, organizational culture, workforce commitment and motivation, customer satisfaction, and business communication. Evaluation is based upon case analysis, self-assessment and reflection assignments, a self-directed leadership development action plan, and a team project presentation.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH350 Project Development and Evaluation (4 credits)
Catalog Description. This course provides a thorough grounding in the basic methods of health services research and evaluation, focusing on evaluation objectives, research designs, instrument reliability and validity, sampling, and data collection consideration, proposal writing, analytic techniques for reporting, and ethical considerations in population-based programs, research, and communication. Evaluation is based upon small group case study analyses, an evaluation proposal, a content examination or quizzes, and a critique of a published paper.

Prerequisites: PH310, PH 311, PH 319, and PH 322. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH360 Training of Trainers (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course prepares MPH graduates to effectively respond to the enhanced job responsibility of providing formal and informal in-service training to interprofessional teams comprised of colleagues and co-workers. Students will develop objective-based learning modules and refine effective presentation and teaching skills. Evaluation is based upon short quizzes, presentations, and the development and delivery of a brief instructional module relevant to the student’s professional objectives.

Prerequisite: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH390 MPH Integrating Experience Project Planning (1 credit)
Catalog Description. Students formulate a preliminary project proposal for their MPH Integrating Experience (Capstone) Project applying the knowledge and skills acquired during the first year curriculum to shape and focus a tentative project proposal and implementation plan. Evaluation is based upon completion of a written assignment and proposal.

Prerequisites: None. Restricted to MPH students or program permission. (Pass/No pass only)

PH393 MPH Internship (3 credits)
Catalog Description. During the MPH internship, students integrate and apply their first-year knowledge and skills in a professional practice setting. Under the direction of course faculty and a practitioner preceptor, students function as part of an interprofessional team, participating in meaningful real-world projects and reflecting on their experiences. (Pass/Fail only)

EVIDENCE-BASED PRACTICE CONCENTRATION COURSES

PH321 Inferential Biostatistics (2 credits)
Catalog Description. This course furthers the study of biostatistics, focusing on inferential reasoning and simple regression. Topics include hypothesis testing, and methods for the comparison of discrete and continuous data including ANOVA, correlation, regression and chi-square statistic. Central to these inferential reasoning skills is assessing the impact of chance and variability on the interpretation of research findings and subsequent recommendations for public health practice and policy. Evaluations include problem sets, quizzes, and examinations.

Prerequisite: PH 319. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission.

PH323 Biostatistics: Modeling and Sampling (4 credits)

Catalog Description. This course advances the concepts of linear regression developed in PH 321 to a unified perspective of generalized linear models, including multivariable regression, logistic regression, and survival models. The course addresses issues of sample size, and power calculations with respect to a number of study designs. Students learn the concept of interaction terms in the models. Students will analyze established and recently collected data sets using these methods. Evaluations include homework, quizzes, and examinations.

Prerequisite: PH 319, 321. Restricted to MPH students or program permission.

PH324 Intermediate Epidemiology (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course advances introductory coursework in epidemiology and survey design and sampling. Students learn to assess the impact of bias and confounding and techniques for mitigating those effects in the both design and analyses. Special consideration is given to the role of case-control studies in addressing a variety of health problems. Evaluation is based upon examinations and practical exercises.

Prerequisites: PH322 and PH 352. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission.

PH332 Program Planning (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course addresses the analytic and practical considerations in designing and implementing a field program. Topics addressed include manpower and facilities planning, design, and implementation considerations, and planning for evaluation. Evaluation is based upon individual and group written and oral assignments.

Prerequisites: PH302. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission

PH351 Qualitative Research Methods (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course builds advanced competence in the methods and techniques used in conducting qualitative research. Students will plan and implement a qualitative study to encompass the collection, management, and analysis of qualitative data useful for the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs. Data collection methods will include individual in-depth interviews, individual and group/social observations, and focus group discussions. Note: The formative research projects form the basis of a quantitative survey instrument developed during PH352.

Prerequisites: PH310. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission.

PH352 Survey Research Methods (3 credits)
Catalog Description. This course builds advanced competence through the application of health survey research methods in the field. Students will plan and implement a quantitative survey focusing on design, implementation, and evaluation of a health survey field project. Topics include probability sampling, questionnaire design, interview techniques, coding procedures, and planning for the analysis and presentation of the findings. Evaluation is based upon an examination, participation in field projects, a written report, and a presentation. Note: The data generated during the survey project could be analyzed during PH323.

Prerequisites: PH351. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission.

PH391 MPH Integrating Experience Project Implementation – 1 (3 credits)
Catalog Description. Under the guidance of resident faculty and academic advisors, students will begin implementing the integrating experience project defined during PH 390. This course also puts a structured emphasis on integration of core knowledge and critical thinking skills.  Students will critically review and discuss a number of relevant journal articles with an orientation toward the application of these insights to the national and international health context.

Prerequisites: PH390. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission. (Pass/No pass only)

PH392 MPH Integrating Experience Project Implementation – 2 (4 credits)
Catalog Description. Under the guidance of resident faculty and academic advisors, students complete the integrating experience project, concluding with a paper/report of publishable quality and an oral presentation to faculty and relevant members of the public health practice community. This course also puts a structured emphasis on integration of core knowledge and critical thinking skills.  Students will critically review and discuss a number of relevant journal articles with an orientation toward the application of these insights to the national and international health context. Students will present and critically review on-going student integrating experience projects. 

Prerequisites: PH 391. Restricted to MPH students in the Evidence-based Practice Concentration or program permission. (Pass/No pass only)

Electives

PH303 Special Studies Seminar (credit variable)

Seminar series offered by MPH faculty for MPH students.

PH304 MPH Elective (1 credit unit)

Special seminar topics offered by guest faculty for MPH students.

Course Listing and Descriptions

Semester 1: Public Health Problem Solving and Techniques of Problem Investigation

PH302 General Principles of Public Health Problem Solving (3 credit units)

An introduction to the diverse profession of public health and a guiding paradigm for public health problems solving, this course emphasizes the development of essential skills in critical thinking and group process.  Student groups will complete an analysis of a current public health problem, including recommended courses of action.  Evaluation components consist of individual and group participation, an individual written critique and other written assignments, a group paper, and a group presentation.

PH321 Inferential Biostatistics (5 credit units)

This course introduces the major concepts of modern statistics as applied to problems in public health and medicine.  The topics begin with an understanding of life tables and survival curves, progress to concepts of probability and distributions, and conclude with inferential reasoning and simple regression.  Evaluation is based on problem sets, quizzes, and examinations.

PH322 Epidemiology (3 credit units)

This course introduces the principles and methods of epidemiologic investigation of infectious and non-infectious diseases.  Epidemiologic reasoning and assessment is demonstrated through faculty lectures and problem solving exercises.  Evaluation is based upon a mid-term and final examination.

PH310 Social and Behavioral Sciences in Public Health (3 credit units)

This course utilizes the PRECEDE-PROCEED framework for analyzing the behavioral and socio-cultural determinants of public health problems and the role of the individual, family, and community in addressing public health problems. Evaluation is based upon class participation, an examination, and a project carried out in the community or the AUA Health Center.

PH311 Problem Investigation in Environmental Health (3 credit units)

This course presents the broad concepts and principles used in organizing and assessing the major environmental health problems in low/middle income and in industrialized countries. Student evaluation is based on quizzes, examinations, and a project.

 

Semester 2: Program Planning, Implementation & Evaluation

PH320 Data Management Systems (1 credit unit)

Students will apply their knowledge of database, spreadsheet and statistical packages to the development of appropriate database and management information systems to process and analyze raw data.  Issues of database design, coding schemes, data cleaning, and handling missing data will be addressed.  Evaluation is based upon graded problem sets.

PH330 Health Economics & Finance (4 credit units)

This course consists of two components. The first component addresses the basics of health sector financial management, including simple budgeting, variance analysis, and benefit/cost analysis as tools for assessing the financial health of an organization.  The second component of the course explores the application of basic micro and macro economic principles to the health sector.  Evaluation is based upon homework assignments, quizzes, projects and exams.

PH331 Comparative Health Systems (2 credit units)

This course provides an overview of the conceptual aspects of the macro level organization of health care systems worldwide.  The course presents the economic and financing mechanisms underlying changes occurring in the health sector.  It also provides a critical comparison of the philosophy, organization, financing, and benefit packages of different health care systems; comparing low, medium, and high-income countries.  Evaluation is based upon a quiz, a group project, and a take-home examination.

PH332 Program Planning (3 credit units)

This course addresses the analytic and practical considerations in designing and implementing a field program.  Topics addressed include manpower and facilities planning, design, and implementation considerations, and planning for evaluation.  Evaluation is based upon a student project.

PH340 Health Services Management (3 credit units)

This course provides the practical and theoretical underpinnings of the organization and management of health organizations.  Specific emphasis is placed on individual leadership and management skill development.  Evaluation is based upon examinations and student projects.

PH350 Project Development and Evaluation (4 credit units)

This course provides a thorough grounding in the basic methods of health services evaluation, focusing on research designs, threats to reliability and validity, and instrumentation.  Emphasis is on critical analysis and assessment of study designs.  Evaluation is based upon an examination, student-prepared evaluation protocols, and critiques of published papers.

PH390 MPH Project Planning (1 credit units)

This course allows students to formulate a preliminary project proposal for their MPH Project.  Students will apply the knowledge and skills acquired during the first year curriculum to shape and focus a tentative project proposal and implementation plan.  Evaluation is based upon successful completion of a draft proposal. (Pass/No pass only)

 

Semester 3: Advanced Methodology

PH351 Qualitative Research Methods (3 credit units)

This course introduces the methods and techniques used in conducting qualitative research.  Course sessions will focus on the development of practical research skills relevant to the collection, management and analysis of qualitative data useful for the design, implementation and evaluation of public health programs.  Methods for data collection will include individual in-depth interviews, individual and group/social observations, and focus group discussions. Note: The formative research projects will form the basis for development of a formalized survey instrument during PH352.

PH352 Survey Research Methods (3 credit units)

This course demonstrates the application of health survey research methods in the field.  Topics include the design, implementation, and evaluation of a health survey instrument, including probability sampling, questionnaire design, interview techniques, coding procedures, and planning for the analysis and presentation of the findings.  Evaluation is based upon an examination, participation in field projects, a written report, and a presentation.  Note: The data generated during this exercise will be analyzed as part of PH323.

PH323 Biostatistics: Modeling and Sampling (4 credit units)

This course advances the concepts of linear regression to a unified perspective of generalized linear models, including multivariate regression, logistics regression, and log-linear models.  Established and recently collected data sets will be analyzed using these methods.  The course also addresses issues of sampling, sample size, and power calculations with respect to a number of study designs. Evaluation is based on problem sets, quizzes, and examinations.

PH324 Intermediate Epidemiology (3 credit units)

This course builds upon the introductory course in epidemiology as well as courses in survey design and sampling.  Students learn to assess the impact of bias and confounding and techniques for mitigating those effects. Special consideration will be given to the role of case-control studies in addressing a variety of health and organizational problems.  Evaluation is based upon examinations and practical exercises.

PH391 Master’s Project Implementation – I (3 credit units)

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students will concentrate on implementing and completing the Masters Project defined during course PH 390. (Pass/No pass only)

 

Semester 4: Synthesis

PH360 Training of Trainers (3 credit units)

This course prepares MPH graduates to effectively respond to the enhanced job responsibility of providing formal and informal in-service training to professional colleagues and co-workers.  The course will prepare students to develop objective-based learning modules and to develop and refine effective presentation and teaching skills.  Evaluation is based upon short quizzes, presentations, and the development and delivery of a brief instructional module relevant to the student’s professional objectives.

PH381 Graduate Research seminar (3 credit units)

This course begins a structured emphasis on application of core knowledge and critical thinking skills.  Students will critically review and discuss a number of relevant journal articles with an orientation toward the application of these insights to the health context of Armenia and the region. Students will also critically review on-going student projects.  (Pass/No pass only)

PH392 Master’s Project Implementation- 2 (4 credit units)

Under the guidance of a faculty mentor, students complete a master’s project, concluding with a paper of publishable quality and oral presentation to faculty and relevant members of the public health practice community. (Pass/No pass only)

PH393 MPH Internship (3 credit units)

The goal of the MPH internship is to have a public health experience that provides an opportunity to contact with public health professionals and participate in real-life projects in a meaningful way. The internship will provide a significant practical experience in population-based health prior to graduation. (Pass/No pass only)

 

Electives

PH303 Special Studies Seminar (credit variable)

Seminar series offered by MPH faculty for MPH students.

PH304 MPH Elective (1 credit unit)

Special seminar topics offered by guest faculty for MPH students.