Applied Public Health Informatics Courses

APHI 520D: Introduction to Public Health Informatics (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: PRS 500D or by special permission
For the students with an introductory knowledge of public health informatics, the purpose of this course is to provide students with foundational principles, exposing them to the tools, methodologies, data sources, terminologies, and policy issues as they relate to the emerging field of public health informatics. This course sets a pathway for understanding what specific competencies they will need to execute in the role as a Public Health Informatician. Current national e-health and health care reform priorities and strategies, and their implications for technologies in public health, will be discussed as one of the case studies that shape the competencies required for an Informatician. In addition, students will review the historical and contemporary aspects of public health practice that have required the development of public health informatics. This course also provides the foundation for the remaining courses in the applied public health informatics track.

APHI 525D: Overview of Data Sources, Standards, and Information Systems (2 credit hours) 

Prerequisite: APHI 520D and BIOS 516D or by special permission.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of current public health data sources, standards, and information systems. The students will learn to identify types and sources of data, as well as their utility to public health. The students will be able to identify the characteristics and features of applications and information systems that support point of service, surveillance, response and population health activities. The students will learn the features of effective public health information system design and best practices in choosing applications, integrating them, and exchanging information across systems. Finally, students will learn to determine the role of standards in enabling information exchange, interoperability, and how to move forward the evolution of standards.

APHI 530D: Interpersonal and Organizational Communication for the Public Health Informatician (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: PRS 500D or by special permission.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with essential social interaction and communication techniques. Students will learn to present and convey public health informatics content and solutions. Students will learn to communicate technical information, as well as the added value of improving information management in public health practice. This course will focus on the communication skills needed by the Informatician to function as the liaison between the program, scientific, and technical stakeholders so they can succeed in understanding and managing stakeholders’ expectations. Learning how to develop the communications needed to drive a successful technology deployment is another aspect to this course that is related to the basics of project management. Part of applying these communications skills is to learn how to derive the actual information and technology needs of a project or program and translate those needs into effective communications channels to a varied set of parties involved.

APHI 535D: Project Management and System Lifecycle (2 credit hours) 

Prerequisite: APHI 520D, BIOS 516D, APHI 525D, and APHI 530D or by special permission
The purpose of this course is to provide students with the skills and methods used in the management of technology deployment in public health scenarios. The evaluation of information system lifecycles and how they affect the planning and management process is also examined and students will gain experience with the tools to apply the impacts. Students will learn about ways to ensure that the milestones, change management, and quality assurance procedures are in place to deliver the solutions to meet public health needs. Students will also learn techniques, resources, and tools that assist in the analyses and documentation of workflows and business processes, which can be translated into requirements for public health information systems that drive the planning and management process. This course relies heavily on scenarios which require students to apply tools or methods taught in each module.

APHI 540D: Data Management and Data Systems Architecture (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: APHI 520D, BIOS 516D, APHI 525D, APHI 530D and APHI 535D or by special permission.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with key data terminology, concepts, and model derivation principles for data management, and to provide an understanding of data systems architecture design within the context of public health. Students will learn to apply data design methodologies that are driven by effective requirements capture and public health program outcomes. The students will utilize standard requirements derivation methods to discover and extract data attributes and the data relationships that support a public health intent, outcome, or knowledge purpose. They will also learn to aggregate, normalize, and integrate data from multiple health and public health sources into relational model structures. Finally, students will learn best practices and methodologies that are used to architect interoperable public health data systems based on use of standard systems architectures.

APHI 545D: Information Security and Privacy (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: APHI 520D, BIOS 516D, APHI 525D, APHI 530D and APHI 535D or by special permission.
Information security is ultimately about risks and balances. The most secure information system is one that can hardly be used whereas the greater the access given, the more vulnerable the system may be to malicious activities.

This course will enable students to put into practice information security and privacy frameworks and controls that will help determine the best balance or risk posture to protect data and individual privacy. Students will learn key provisions of national and state legislation for protecting the privacy of individuals and populations and understand public health’s unique role within these regulations. In addition, students will work with different technology layers and associated controls that may be put in place to minimize the risk to institutions and the individual information that they protect.

APHI 550D: Business Aspects of Public Health Informatics (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: APHI 520D, BIOS 516D, APHI 525D, APHI 530D and APHI 535D or by special permission.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an introduction to the business practices associated with public health informatics. Students will learn to plan for and manage fiscal and operational resources in the midst of shifting budgetary environments. Students will learn the various processes of business technology planning, business case development, resource acquisition, allocation, and managing changing informatics requirements. In addition, students will learn to procure information technology services in order to purchase, develop, modify, and maintain public health information systems using generally accepted business practices and systematic decision-making methods.

APHI 555D: Applied Public Health Informatics Evaluation and Research (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: APHI 520D, BIOS 516D, APHI 525D, APHI 530D and APHI 535D or by special permission.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with a foundation in the methods and techniques for evidence--‐based practice of public health informatics. Students will learn basic research design concepts, be introduced to various methodologies, and critique the scientific and grey literature. Students will use scientific evidence in the solution of public health informatics challenges. Students will develop evaluation and research skills that will allow them to use authoritative sources for information management strategies and to apply established frameworks for the evaluation of public health information systems.

APHI 580D: Public Health Informatics Leadership and Strategy (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: APHI 520D, BIOS 516D, APHI 525D, APHI 530D, APHI 535, APHI 540D, APHI 545D, APHI 550D and APHI 555D or by special permission.
The purpose of this course is to provide students with an opportunity to integrate knowledge learned from the course prerequisites and apply it in practical ways to real world situations. Emphasis is placed on the use of emerging technologies to provide new informatics capabilities to public health organizations. Students will develop the skills to ensure that the strategic direction of informatics aligns with the public health mission and goals of an organization, as well as broader e-Health priorities in the community. Students will be able to describe the drivers for and approaches to integration of data within an agency, interoperability across internal information systems within an agency, and interoperability with systems outside of the agency. Students will learn how to critique strategic policies that influence public health informatics and how to assess the impact of these policies on informatics priorities within organizations.

APHI 585D: Informatics Solutions for Public Health Decision Making (2 credit hours)

Prerequisite: APHI 520D, BIOS 516D, APHI 525D, APHI 530D, APHI 535, APHI 540D, APHI 545D, APHI 550D and APHI 555D or by special permission.
The purpose of this course is to provide students an exploration of classic data warehouse and data fusion methods along with developing an understanding of the variability of data structures that support knowledge derivation and decision support in public health. The course will extend into new areas of know ledge and decision support methods and systems by exploring “big data” concepts and approaches to systems that support these new architectures. Another critical area for decision-making is the visualization of data. Data visualization, data reporting, and active data manipulation approaches and tools will be explored. This will include advanced tools like GIS, OLTP, and dashboard systems.

The introduction of concepts around data having the characteristics “velocity”, “variability”, and “volume” is discussed and how they change a decision support system. Also the three stages of data evolution being dependent, independent, and now interdependent is explored to gain a clear understanding where data analytics and knowledge derivation for decision making is progressing. These concepts evolve beyond a classic understanding of using primary and secondary data sources for descriptive analytics and data mining, which are explored in contrast in the course. Further exploration in how structured and unstructured data sources can work together to create a robust decision support infrastructure meeting challenges we are facing in today’s public health practice.

Consistent with previous courses the methods taught will be driven from a derivation of the outcome-based or practice intent requirements to drive a decision support solution.

The students will extend their skills gained in precursor courses with the data lifecycle process to derive and deploy more complex technology solutions targeting the decision making and analytic processes in public health. The deployment of systems and tools that enable decision-making and data mining is very different than the basic data collection and aggregation systems previous examined in other courses where this course draws a distinction between the two ways of using data.

APHI 599R Thesis (4 credit hours)

Prerequisite: Completion of 12 EMPH credit hours or by special permission.  
Provides an opportunity to integrate the content and skills learned in the academic setting through participation in scholarly research or other culminating project.