MPH Courses

This methods course will explore applications of GIS to visualize, explore, and analyze circumpolar health problems within the context of the available social services, demographics and changes in climate and environment. We will focus on using GIS to develop an effective framework for action

Core Course Descriptions
Schedule of Core Courses
Electives Offered


HS A605 Public Health and Society
Incorporates behavioral and social science concepts in the analysis of a variety of public health issues nationally, particularly Alaska and the northern regions. Also presents how socioeconomic status, culture, race/ethnicity, age, and gender relate to health and disease outcomes and the quality of life. Students gain experience in problem identification, assessment, intervention, and evaluation through analysis of behavioral, cultural, and attitudinal factors.

HS A610 Environmental and Occupational Health
Provides a practical overview of occupational health and safety, and environmental health. Gives special attention to issues surrounding work-related illnesses and injuries and environmental concerns in Alaska and the northern environment. Students learn practical approaches regarding prevention, finding resources, and problem solving. They also gain an understanding of legal, political, and cultural issues involved when dealing with occupational and environmental health.

HS A615 Health Services Administration
Provides students with the basic knowledge necessary to understand the planning, organization, administration, management, evaluation, and policy of health programs in the United States and, particularly, the state of Alaska. Addresses issues such as the current provision of hospital and ambulatory care, how health care is financed, and the politics of health care delivery.

HS A624 Circumpolar Health Issues
This course provides graduate students with a comprehensive overview of major circumpolar health issues affecting Northern residents. It begins with an analysis of health and traditional healing practices among indigenous northern peoples prior to contact with Euroamericans. It then explores the history of epidemic diseases in the North and their impact on northern populations and cultures, from contact through the present-day. It examines the emergence of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, and problems of alcohol abuse and violence in contemporary northern societies. Students will explore growing efforts to combine traditional healing practices and community healing with Western medicine. Environmental health issues, including provision of water and sewer systems and environmental contamination of country foods will also be discussed. An overview of health care systems and public health infrastructure in the North will be presented.

HS/NS A625 Biostatistics for Health Professionals
Principles of statistical reasoning and quantitative skills for analyzing health-related data. Topics include the binomial, Poisson, and normal distributions, the treatment of rates, measures of location and dispersion, and testing of statistical hypotheses. Both descriptive and inferential statistics are illustrated in mortality and morbidity problem sets requiring manual or computer assisted calculations. The comparison of methodological techniques and the choice of appropriate statistical methods to answer clinical practice and research questions are stressed. This course is designed to enhance rather than substitute for statistical knowledge gained at the undergraduate level.

HS/NS A626 Principles of Epidemiology
Introduces students to the principles and methods of epidemiological investigation of common national and state public health problems, ranging from infectious and noninfectious diseases to social, behavioral, and environmental concerns. Discusses different types of epidemiological study design, and explores past and present trends in epidemiology, giving special attention to epidemiological issues in Alaska and the northern regions. Clinical application within health care administration, nursing, social work, and public health are emphasized.

HS/SWK A628 Program Evaluation
Provides knowledge of purpose, design, and implementation of health and social sciences program evaluation process. Develops the ability to conceptualize and implement a program evaluation in a real work setting. Covers both formative and summative evaluation processes. Includes discussion about the necessity of conducting program evaluations, and the necessity of the cultural competence of the evaluators.

HS A629 Public Health Research Tools and Methods
Introduces students to the basic principles and methods of public health research from its conception to its analysis and evaluation. Discusses statistical concepts and issues of research bias and validity. Significant amount of data from Alaska and its surrounding northern regions are utilized, and ethical issues in research are presented. The complementing lab session of the course gives students a practical hands-on experience with various computer statistical programs and databases.

HS A630 Public Health Emergencies and Disasters
Exposes students to public health issues concerning terrorism, war, and natural or human-made disasters and emergencies in different parts of the world and nationally, with a focus on the State of Alaska. Teaches students effective public health interventions during such emergency situations--from conducting a public health needs assessment to establishing basic health services. Political, legal, and ethical challenges of public health emergencies are addressed; and the sometimes controversial influences of donor agencies and the media are discussed.

HS A699 Thesis Practicum or HS A698 Project Practicum
Required for students completing the Master of Public Health in Public Health Practice degree. Involves independent research, policy analysis, program evaluation, or other approved project under the supervision of an individual graduate study committee that is also monitored by an outside reader. Culminates in a document prepared to publication standards, and a public presentation.

Offerings Through Summer 2016

Course (Prefix and Number)
HS A605: Public Health & Society
HS A610: Environmental & Occupational Health
HS A615: Health Services Administration
HS A624: Circumpolar Health Issues
HS/NS A625: Biostatistics for Health Professionals
HS/NS A626: Principles of Epidemiology
SWK/HS A628: Program Evaluation X
HS A629: Public Health Research Tools & Methods
HS A630: Public Health Emergencies & Disasters
HS A699: Thesis Practicum
or HS A 698: Project Practicum


HS A690 Infectious Disease Epidemiology
-Dr. Thomas Hennessy
This graduate course will provide an overview of infectious disease epidemiology. It will cover the basic concepts needed to understand infections and the epidemiologic methods used to understand, prevent and control infectious diseases. This field of epidemiology is rich with stories of the discovery and control of epidemics.


ELECTIVES - Possible SUMMER 2016 (HS 690)

For more detailed information about Summer core classes and electives, download the Summer 2016 Classes flyer (pdf).

HSA690: Public Health Ethics
-Dr. Rhonda Johnson
This on-line five week course (May-June) will provide an overview of the broad field of public health ethics, and an opportunity to apply ethical principles and standards in an individual project.

HSA690: Social Change Marketing in Public Health
-Dr. Kathy Anderson
This 10-week online course will teach the theory and practice of Social Marketing, or Social Change Marketing, which is a dynamic and widely-used framework for developing behavioral change interventions that benefit individuals and communities for the greater social good.

HS A690: GIS and Public Health
Dr. Philippe Amstislavski
This is a five week course imbeds learning how to use GIS software in the context of carrying out projects for visualizing and analyzing health-related data. Each week includes a theory and methods session and computer lab that focuses on a health issue and uses ArcGIS software to analyze data or solve a problem.

HSA690 Food Security and Nutrition
-Dr. Elizabeth Snyder
The field of nutrition and food security is a broad and varied landscape where scientists, economists, commercial farmers, agribusinesses, food companies, environmentalists, consumer organizations, and social justice advocates often hold sharply different views, and each exercises differing degrees of influence over policy.

HS/SWK A683: Innovations in TeleHealth
-Dr. Virginia Miller
This course will be offered the first five week session of the summer and requires a face-to-face meeting. An overview of telehealth with an emphasis on telebehavioral health in Alaska will be presented. Topics include the history of telemedicine; current legal, technical, and logistical considerations; and best clinical practices.

HS A690: Cross-Cultural Health Issues
-Dr. Nancy Nix
This course will explore basic concepts of culture, cultural values, ethnocentrism, and other topics as they relate to health, illness, and healthcare delivery. Through readings, case studies, and other resources, the focus will be on cultural competency; understanding health behaviors influenced by culture, cross-cultural communication, perceptions of illness and disease, and more.

HS A690 Maternal and Child Health Epidemiology
Dr. Jenny Miller
This course will address public health evaluation concepts and strategies. It will focus on major issues in maternal and child health at state and national levels (e.g., prenatal care, infant mortality, financing of health care services, low birth weight infants, children with special health care needs, childhood obesity).