Course: Introduction to Health Policy

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Course Description

Introduces the material covered in the Department of Health Policy and Management. Focuses on four substantive areas that form the analytic basis for many of the issues in Health Policy and Management. The areas are: (1) economics and financing, (2) need and demand, (3) politics/ethics/law, and (4) quality/effectiveness. Illustrates these issues using three specific policy issues: (1) injury, (2) medical care, and (3) public health preparedness.

Course Objectives

The course will provide a framework for developing and analyzing a range of health policy issues. The course begins by introducing an approach for rationally analyzing any public health policy issue. Other models of the policy process are also presented.

Four analytic skills commonly used by policy makers are then introduced. The four skills are:

  1. Analyzing historical, political, ethical, and legal ramifications
  2. Assessing need and demand
  3. Examining economic and financial considerations
  4. Assessing existing programs and policies

The course will then apply these skills to examine three health policy issues in greater depth.

  1. Delivering medical care
  2. Injury prevention and trauma care
  3. Emergency preparedness


Required readings, in addition to suggested readings, are available for each module via the Readings page.

Course Requirements

The midterm exam (30% of finald grade) consists of short answer questions (not posted on OpenCourseWare) and a policy analysis paper (maximum of five pages). The short answer section tests students on definitions of key terms. For the midterm policy paper, students apply the policymaking framework to analyze a particular health policy issue. Students are given a choice of five different health policy issues.

The final exam (70% of final grade) consists of short answer questions (not posted on OpenCourseWare) and a policy analysis paper (maximum of ten pages). For the final policy analysis paper, students apply the framework and analytic methods presented in class on a policy issue of their own choosing.