Behavioral Sciences and Health Education Courses

MPH Courses

BSHE 500 (2) Behavioral and Social Sciences in Public Health
Adopts an ecological perspective, describing social, cultural behavioral and psychological factors that affect a population’s health. It assesses population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health and the means by which structural bias, social inequalities and racism undermine health and create challenges to achieving health equity at organizational, community and societal levels. The course addresses the selection of methods to evaluate public health promotion programs including qualitative approaches.

BSHE 516 (3) Behavioral Epidemiology
Prerequisites: BIOS 500 and EPI 504 or 530. Provides students with basic knowledge about epidemiological applications in a behavioral area. Content stresses ways in which behavioral research differs from other applications of epidemiology with respect to approaches to measurement, terminology, and analytic methods

BSHE 517 (2) Adolescent Health
Introduces the major issues in adolescent health, such as physical and psychosocial growth, teenage pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse, and violence and abuse. Examines adolescent health services and adolescent health care-seeking behavior. Presents students with the major theoretical perspectives in adolescent health from an interdisciplinary point of view.

BSHE 520 (3) Theory Driven Research and Practice
Introduces the basic principles and functional areas of health promotion and education. Describes prevalent educational and psychological theories of learning and behavior change used by health educators in a variety of work settings. Explores considerations for incorporating health promotion and education activities into the design of local, regional, national, and international public health programs. Students plan activities for health promotion and education.

BSHE 522 (3) Principles of Curriculum and Instruction in Health Education
Prerequisite: BSHE 520. Introduces methods used by education practitioners in designing health interventions. Presents decision-making models for health education strategies selection for specific target populations. Explores techniques in group facilitation, mass communication, behavior modification, classroom instruction, and organizational development. Students will conduct health promotion and education activities.

BSHE 524 (3) Community Assessment
Prerequisites: EPI 504 or EPI 530; BIOS 500; BSHE 520. This is a community-engaged course in which students obtain and interpret data about a community and its health determinants, assets and gaps through a socio-ecological perspective by collaborating with a public health/community agency. Students will define a community and analyze social, structural, policy and behavioral factors contributing to a health issue. Furthermore, students will use community-engaged approaches in assessing community needs and assets, employ professional and communication skills in engaging with community stakeholders, design primary and secondary data instruments, collect mixed methods data (i.e., key informant interviews, windshield surveys, surveys, etc.), conduct data analysis and data triangulation, and write a community assessment report. They will utilize diverse dissemination strategies to communicate findings from the community assessment.  The final report and presentation will be shared with the community organizations.

BSHE 526 (3) Program Planning in Health Promotion
Prerequisites: BSHE 520. Drawing on behavioral science and health education perspectives, this course will critically review: 1) social-ecological and behavioral determinants of a health problem or issue; 2) community assessment literature, methods and data to describe the health problem and priority population; 3) theories or approaches to guide strategies or activities to employ in a health program; and 4) evaluation of public health interventions. Students will apply basic program planning skills, including problem analysis, needs assessment, intervention design, implementation and evaluation.

BSHE 530 (3) Program Evaluation
Prerequisites: BSHE 520; BSHE 540; BSHE 532. Covers all aspects of evaluation research, including formative process, outcome evaluations, and issues related to the collection and analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data. The instructor facilitates the student application of evaluation methodology to a community project.

BSHE 532 (3) Quantitative Analysis
Prerequisite: BIOS 500. Presents theory-driven data analysis for behavioral sciences and health education using regression methods for continuous and binary outcomes (including moderation and simple mediation). Students will identify and analytically investigate theory-driven research questions with the goal to investigate behavioral, social and cultural factors that contribute to the health and well-being of individuals, communities, and populations using existing and new datasets. Furthermore, students will learn how to interpret and present data, and communicate findings for a variety of audiences (e.g. for peer-review publication, public health practitioners, policy makers, community organizations).

BSHE 535 (2) Macrosocial Determinants of Health
Advances understanding of how macrosocial factors (also called “contextual” or “structural” factors) affect health. Introduces students to the theoretical underpinnings of related research, current methodological and conceptual challenges, and interventions to improve population health by altering macrosocial factors or mitigating/amplifying their effects. The course has three modules, one on each of the following sets of macrosocial determinants: (1) Policies, Laws, and Their Enforcement; (2) Neighborhood Physical Environment; and (3) Neighborhood Social Environment.

BSHE 538 (3) Qualitative Methods for Research and Evaluation
Prerequisite: BSHE 520. Focuses on the acquisition of interpretive, behavioral, and analytic strategies that social scientists use to understand social reality. Students are expected to undertake their own qualitative studies, as well as to learn the philosophical underpinnings of the method. Classic ethnographic studies, particularly those with applicability to public health, serve as models for learning techniques and conducting research

BSHE 539 (3) Qualitative Data Analysis
Prerequisite: BSHE 538. Allows students to develop mastery of a variety of practical techniques and theoretical approaches to qualitative data analysis, including the use of qualitative data analysis software (MAXqda). Students will be given the option of conducting lab exercises on an expanded set of secondary data or students’ own data that was collected as part of their MPH or PhD thesis research.

BSHE 540 (3) Research Methods in Health Promotion
Provides a foundation in designing and conducting health behavior research. Students learn about various types of research, with an emphasis on conducting observational studies. The goals of the course include a) achieving competence in designing and implementing studies based on scientifically sound research methodologies and b) gaining the ability to critically evaluate health behavior research.

BSHE 542 (3) Socio-Behavioral Measurement
Prerequisites: BSHE 520; BSHE 540; BSHE 532; BIOS 500. Provides students with theoretical and applied knowledge of measurement in the behavioral sciences and health education. Foundational knowledge of measurement is taught through the lens of theory. Students will review existing self-report measurement literature and adapt instruments to new populations. Students will learn how to locate and assess data from diverse sources. Specific emphasis will be placed on social determinants and longitudinal data.

BSHE 554 (2) Social Marketing in Public Health
Provides students with an overview of concepts and strategies used in social marketing and public health information campaigns; emphasizes skills to create audience-oriented public health intervention efforts, including formative research, audience segmentation, channel analysis, and the application of behavioral theory.

BSHE 555 (2) Public Health Communication
Introduces the study of public health communication including its theoretical foundations, organizational models, and strategies for intervening at multiple levels with diverse populations.

BSHE 560R (1-3) BSHE Seminar
Explores and analyzes selected topics in health education and promotion. Topics have included: grant proposal writing, global program planning, health advocacy, and global health education.

BSHE 565 (2) Violence as a Public Health Problem
Introduces students to the concept of violence as a public health problem. Focuses on the epidemiology, surveillance, and prevention of interpersonal and self-directed violence.

BSHE 567 (2) LGBTQ Public Health
Focuses on the possible benefits and costs of public health organizations’ approach to consider the LGBTQ populations as special health populations with distinctive needs like those based on race, gender, or age. This course will explore key issues in public health for gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgendered persons.

BSHE 579 (2) Applied History of Public Health
Examines issues of population health affecting behavioral sciences and health education in historical and comparative perspective. By calling on the tools and disciplines of public health, students will reach a more complex understanding of how particular population health issues have been understood in different times and places and what those responses may illuminate about strategies for current and future responses.

BSHE 583 (1) Mindfulness and Health
Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to define mindfulness, describe its benefits for physical mental health, critically evaluate related literature, and perform mindfulness exercises.

BSHE 584 (2) HPM 577 The Mental Health/Medical Interface in the United States
This seminar explores the complex and dynamic relationship between general health and mental health in the United States. Gaps in parity and a proposal for achieving parity are discussed in the context of health reform.

BSHE 585 (1) Introduction to Public Mental Health
Provides an overview of mental health issues from a public health perspective. It covers the concepts of mental illness versus mental health, describes the burden of mental illness, discusses diagnosis of prominent mental illnesses and their prevention, and addresses racial and ethnic disparities. Students also complete an experiential exercise to give them a perspective on what it is like to have a mental illness.

BSHE 586 (2) Prevention of Mental and Behavioral Disorders
The goals of the course are to increase knowledge about the prevention of mental and behavioral disorders, including substance abuse, and the promotion of mental health. This will be accomplished through classroom presentations and discussions, associated readings, and exposure to actual interventions in the community.

BSHE 590 (4) Capstone Project
Provides students with knowledge and skills about the behavioral and social sciences in public health as they are applied to health disparities.  Students critically examine the concepts, theories, and methods applied to study a health outcome of interest and evaluate related interventions.  Students undertake an independent project that will result in a final 30-50 page paper and an oral presentation.

BSHE 591M / EH 580 (2) Injury Prevention and Control
This course provides a basic introduction to injury as a public health problem. Students learn about key injury prevention and control concepts, as well as the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of various causes of intentional and unintentional injury. This class features content experts from CDC and other local agencies.

BSHE 591W (1) Thesis Mentorship
This course introduces the thesis as a unique scholarly contribution to public health research, practice, and instruction. Organized as a directed study with the thesis chair, the course provides students with the knowledge and skills to develop and refine research questions, conduct a review and analysis of the public health knowledge base, select a theory or organizing framework, formulate a plan for data collection and an IRB application, and draft the initial three chapters of their project

BSHE 592 / HPM 592 (2) Case Studies in Public Mental Health
Prerequisite: BSHE 585. This is a required course for all MPH or MSPH students enrolled at RSPH who plan to pursue the Certificate in Mental Health. Participating certificate students will be identified based on their enrollment in this course. Students in the course will work in inter-disciplinary teams to examine and provide solutions to real life public mental health problems while interacting with experts from the field. 

BSHE 595 (0) Applied Practice Experience
An Applied Practice Experience (APE) is a unique opportunity that enables students to apply practical skills and knowledge learned through coursework to a professional public health setting that complements the student’s interests and career goals. The APE must be supervised by a Field Supervisor and requires approval from an APR Advisor designated by the student’s academic department at RSPH.  Registration for the course is required.

BSHE 597R (VC) Directed Study
Provides the opportunity to pursue a specialized course of study in an area of special interest. Complements rather than replaces or substitutes course work.

BSHE 599R (3) Thesis Project
Enables students to apply the principles and methods learned in an academic setting through the preparation of a monograph embodying original research applicable to public health, incorporating a proposition that has been successfully evaluated with appropriate statistical techniques and is potentially publishable or has potential public health impact.


PhD Courses

BSHE 701 (1) Public Health Research: Discovery to Practice
Doctoral education in the public health sciences trains students to drive innovation and discovery in public health. Apart from the usual doctoral milestones of coursework, the qualifying exam, and the dissertation, much of the doctoral process is self-directed. Identifying your goals for your doctoral experience and how to achieve them can be daunting. This conversation-based course is designed to provide students the tools to develop a personal strategy for successfully navigating the doctoral experience. Through this course, doctoral students will identify their personal and professional goals and develop a personal plan for reaching these objectives and goals. Students will engage with faculty and other doctoral students to learn how they have successfully navigated through common training and scientific challenges. By interfacing with colleagues they will gain appreciation of the breadth of the public health field and the multiple sub-disciplines and approaches that are used to translate science into practice.

BSHE 710 (3) Research Designs in the Behavioral and Social Sciences
This course is designed to provide doctoral students with (a) a solid understanding of both qualitative and quantitative research designs that are commonly used for the implementation of descriptive (describing behavioral phenomena with an investigatory focus), relational (description of the relationships between two or more variables), and experimental (to facilitate causal assertions) research studies; and (b) an appreciation of the breadth and depth of research being conducted in BSHE. It provides students with the fundamental language, concepts, and constructs associated with the scientific approach as well as instruction in the design and implementation of health behavior research studies.

BSHE 712 (1) Grant Writing
This course provides an overview of two discrete, but related topic areas, critical for advanced standing students whose interest lies in prevention research. First, this course provides students with basic knowledge about the grant application process, the criteria of how grants are reviewed at NIH, the art and science of “grantsmanship,” the essential elements needed for preparing an NIH application, and how to “put the pieces together” to create a clear, cogent and compelling application. Second, this course will address ethics in public health research. Students will become familiar with the ethics, principles and the regulations applicable to prevention research.

BSHE 714 (1) Proposal Development I
The Professional Seminar will focus on the development of the student’s own research interests that are expected to lead to the development of a grant proposal that will also be used to partially fulfill doctoral requirements via a dissertation proposal. Each student will present the current status of their research and lead a critical discussion based on their work. The student presentation and critical discussion are intended to support further development of the specific aims, significance, methods, and data analytic aspects of the proposal.

BSHE 715 (2) Proposal Development II
The Professional Seminar will focus on the development of the student’s own research interests that are expected to lead to the development of a grant proposal that will also be used to partially fulfill doctoral requirements via a dissertation proposal. Each student will present the current status of their research and lead a critical discussion based on their work every other week of the semester. Students are expected to prepare drafts of their proposals and distribute them to the instructor and fellow-students three-days prior to class meetings. Fellow students and the instructor are responsible for reading and providing critiques of the proposals. This iterative process of proposal draft submission and feedback based on critiques continues for the semester, culminating in a final paper. The student presentation and critical discussion are intended to support further development of the background, methods, and data analytic aspects of the proposal. This seminar continues work begun by students during the Proposal Development I seminar.

BSHE 716 (1) Teaching in Public Health
This seminar covers methods and issues in teaching the Public Health workforce, including an examination of principles of learning, ethical issues, developing learning objectives and engaging activities, and teaching diverse audiences. It prepares doctoral students for their role as Teaching Assistants and Teaching Associates for Master of Public Health courses.

BSHE 721 (3) Applying Theory to Public Health Research and Practice
This course provides the student with advanced knowledge of the foundational theories and is designed to provide an understanding of multilevel theories, including societal level influences, social structures and institutions, community contexts and processes, sociocultural factors, interpersonal relationships, and individual attitudes and beliefs, as well as theories related to organizational change, implementation and dissemination.  Content includes an examination of social and behavioral theories and approaches that presently shape our understanding of health and health behavior and that inform our intervention strategies from a socio-ecologic perspective.

BSHE 725 (3) Health Promotion Interventions
The purpose of this course is to have doctoral students use a comprehensive planning model (intervention mapping) to plan, implement, and evaluate an intervention to address a public health problem for a defined population. They will apply conceptual frameworks underlying a range of intervention strategies and levels of socio ecology for solving public health problems. The course will also examine intervention design across various levels of social ecology, implementation, process and outcome evaluation, and implementation science.

BSHE 728 (3) Advanced Statistical Methods in the Behavioral and Social Sciences
The purpose of this doctoral level course is to introduce advanced topics in  statistical analysis, i.e. those beyond multivariable regression procedures. Specifically the course will: 1) introduce students to theory-driven ethical quantitative data analysis. 2) familiarize students with advanced statistical techniques and provide students with an introductory “working” knowledge of understanding data and analytic techniques as they are applied in the behavioral and social sciences. 3) develop the student’s ability to design robust data collection and analysis plans for answering research questions benefitting from advanced analyses. 4) provide students with a forum to discuss the statistical analysis aspects of their own research proposals (or dissertation).

BSHE 730 (2) Hierarchical Linear Modeling
This course is designed to provide doctoral students with theoretical and applied knowledge of hierarchical linear modeling (HLM). Foundational knowledge of HLM is taught by extending knowledge of regression analysis to designs involving a nested data structure. The course covers both cross-sectional and longitudinal data structures. Furthermore, advanced topics such as HLM for ordinal outcome variables and dyadic data will be presented.

BSHE 732 (2) Structural Equation Modeling
This course is designed to provide doctoral students with theoretical and applied knowledge of structural equation modeling (SEM). Foundational knowledge of SEM is taught by extending knowledge of regression analysis and mediation analysis to designs involving more than 3 variables. Analyses for measured and latent variable path models will be covered. This course also includes instruction in programming in and interpretation of the output for computer software for conducting SEM. Beyond the basics, advanced topics such as SEM for clustered (i.e. multilevel) data and latent transition analysis will be discussed.

BSHE 797R (VC) Directed Study
Provides in-depth exposure to an advanced special topic not covered in regular courses.

BSHE 798R (VC) Research Hours
Directed student-driven research and writing.

BSHE 799R (VC) Dissertation Research
Directed doctoral dissertation research and writing (for post-candidacy students only).