Public Health & Health Education Course Descriptions

PBH 500 The History and Practice of Public Health (Spring) This course is a collaborative course of public health programs in Philadelphia and surrounding areas. It is offered through the College of Physicians in Philadelphia and focuses on tracing the history and practice of public health as it specifically relates to Philadelphia. Fieldtrips to historic areas within the city and discussion of topics such as the outbreak and discovery of Legionnaires’ Disease are highlighted.

PBH 501 Social Determinants of Health and Disease (Fall) Survey of the dimensions of health and disease from three perspectives: the U.S. historical experience with health and disease; the social context of health and illness, including the healthcare system and policy issues; and choices in healing, integrating conventional and complementary therapies.

PBH 510 Health Care Systems (Spring and Summer) Students are introduced to the U.S. health-care system from an organizational, political, service delivery perspective and health-care systems internationally. This course familiarizes students with basic information about how the health system works in America and stimulates critical thinking about how the system can be improved to meet the challenges of an aging society, rapid expansion of new technology, ever-growing costs of health-care services, and threats to health induced by poor behavioral choices such as diet, exercise and tobacco use. The goal of the course is to form a base of understanding about the dynamics of health and health care.

PBH 520 Statistical Methods in Health Education. This course is an overview of Descriptive and Inferential statistics needed to interpret health data, and the statistics needed to analyze and evaluate the health literature and health services research. The focus is on the theoretical approach to understanding the application of statistics to health education and public health research.

PBH 530 Theories and Principles of Health Behavior and Health Education (Spring) This course introduces concepts, theories, and methods employed by behavioral scientists to develop, implement, and evaluate public health interventions. An overview of psychosocial factors related to health and illness behavior, models of health beliefs and behavior, strategies for health behavior change at the individual, group, and community level is presented. Emphasis is on the theoretical perspective and how theory can be applied to the design and assessment of public health and health promotion programs and interventions.

PBH 540 Research Methods and Design in Higher Education. This course is an introduction to research design and methodology. The emphasis is upon the selection of appropriate research designs, the appropriate use of statistics, and the evaluation of published research, Students are required to write a proposal for a research project, including needs assessment.

PBH 560 Issues in Community and Environmental Health (Spring) This course is a survey of the basic concepts of community and environmental health issues and how they apply to specific health problems. The course explores the impact of the environment on public health. The goal of the course is to help students understand the range of environmental health issues and explore their impact on communities as well as their effects on one’s well-being. Topics covered include the effects of air, water, and the built environment explored from the global to local perspective and environmental justice.

PBH 572 Concepts of Mental Health and Mental Illness (cross listed with PY 572) (Fall, Spring) The focus of this course is to (a) develop an understanding of the basic concepts of mental health and mental illness, (b) learn how to apply these concepts toward understanding psychopathology as well as mental and emotional wellness. (c) become skilled in the use of the DSM-IV TR in evaluating the emotional and mental health of clients, (d) increase student awareness and understanding of salient issues in mental health treatment and the association of treatment to specific illnesses, and (e) construct a personal view of mental health and mental illness as these concepts are derived from and relate to culture and society. Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree or minor in Psychology.

PBH 573 Human Sexuality (Summer) This course provides students with an interdisciplinary review of human sexuality. Human sexuality is a core issue in everyone’s lives—behaviorally, emotionally, physically, intellectually, spiritually, socially, and professionally—as health educators and as students; as parents and as children; as individuals and as partners. Human sexuality is fundamentally tied to the social process, constantly influenced by societal values and mores, by changing religious and secular ideas, and by individual behavior and opinion. At the core of sexuality are seemingly unalterable facts: anatomy, genes, hormones, and other biological processes that influence the way humans reproduce. These facts also can be influenced by the way society sees them, and it is this inherent conflict that this course explores. Course activities challenge students to evaluate their own personal, academic and professional factors that impact their ability to provide and develop effective health education and promotion services.

PBH 575 Family in Contemporary Society (Fall) The course focus is on a study of the structure and function of the family in American contemporary society. This course covers the developmental stages of the family, life experiences and perspectives that create variations in family structures and dynamics. Contemporary challenges to the historical concepts of family that create new evolutionary patterns in family structure and connectedness are examined. Within this framework, the impact of public health needs, initiatives, and policies as they relate to the functionality of the family and ways that “family” influences the direction of public health are also explored. The course views family in contemporary society through both the psychosocial lens and public health lens and begins the discussion about the reciprocal interactions between health and individuals, families, and society.

PBH 576 Drug Use and Abuse (Summer) This course is designed to provide you with an interdisciplinary review of the use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs. You will learn factual information about the use, abuse, and addictive nature of alcohol and other drugs, while gaining insight into the complexity of treatment and prevention. Research and discussion leads to critical thinking about the social, economic, and psychological aspects of drug abuse and rehabilitation. Course activities will challenge you to evaluate your own personal, academic, and professional factors that impact your ability to provide and develop effective health education and promotion services.

PBH 578 Stress: Use and Misuse (Summer) This examination of causes, symptoms and effects of stress identifies the close relationship between emotional and physical aspects. Explores ways to avoid, eliminate or reduce stress.

PBH 581 Nutrition Concepts and Controversies (Spring) This course is an introduction to the concepts and principles of nutrition. Throughout the semester, students learn the basic components of foods—macro- and micro-nutrients, their relationship to diet and disease and weight. Nutritional needs through the lifecycle are discussed with the primary disease states associated with each age group. Controversial issues, such as food supplementation, factory farming, genetically modified foods, the impact of a beef culture on the environment, and dieting are discussed along with holistic approaches to food and healing.

PBH 582 International Health and Human Rights (Fall, Summer) This course explores the relationship between contemporary political, socioeconomic, cultural, environmental, and demographic conditions and their impact on health and human rights from an international perspective. A major focus of the course is the evolution of healthcare delivery systems and governmental and non-governmental responses to health and human rights challenges. Other topics include structural adjustment, population dynamics, child survival policies, water and sanitation, HIV/AIDS, appropriate technologies, international organizations, traditional healing, pharmaceutical policy, and human resource development.

PBH 583 Contemporary Health Topics (Fall, Spring, Summer) This seminar course addresses special topics, including health communications, women’s health, maternal and child health, gerontology, death and dying, public health in the Caribbean, and other relevant topics. A list of current course offerings follows

  • Women’s Health
  • Health Communication
  • Occupational Health
  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Violence and Injury Prevention
  • Death and Dying
  • LGBT Health Issues

PBH 584 Successful Grant Writing (Spring) This course introduces students to the principles and procedures for writing grant proposals to fund nonprofit organizations. Students work in groups to create a mock start-up nonprofit organization for which they will write a grant proposal. At the final class, each group makes an oral presentation of its organization and project as if it were presenting to the board of its funder and attempts to persuade the funder to make a grant for its project and organization.

PBH 585 Health Policy, Law and Bioethics (Spring, even years) The general focus of the course is to introduce community public health students to the role of public policy and law in promoting population health. The course provides an overview of health policymaking in the United States and addresses various aspects of problem identification, policy formulation and implementation, as well as policy analysis. It explores the roles of key actors in the policy process and those impacted by health policymaking. The course explores various ethical dimensions of public health policy and practice, with a particular emphasis on issues related to human rights and the tension between individual rights and population health. Finally, the course explores a series of contemporary health policy issues and challenges.

PBH 586 Theories and Techniques of Counseling. This course introduces students to a variety of contrasting theoretical models underlying the practice of counseling. Through lectures, demonstrations, role-plays, in-class discussions, experiential activities, readings, and writing assignments, students are invited to critically evaluate the practical applications of contemporary counseling perspectives. This course aims at fostering the following counseling competencies: communication and listening, critical analysis and thinking, interpersonal and cultural sensitivity, understanding oneself through introspection and realistic self-critique, adhering to professional, ethical and legal standards and behaviors, generating and testing hypothesis about human behavior, understanding the theories and techniques of counseling and behavior change utilizing counseling skills in individual settings, integrating and applying assessment, diagnostic, consultation and education strategies. Prerequisite: Undergraduate degree or minor in Psychology.

PBH 587 Global Health Communications Course pending approval.

PBH 600 Introduction to Epidemiology (Fall) This course offers an introduction to the approaches and methods used in describing the natural history of disease in communities (descriptive epidemiology) and epidemiological study design, bias, confounding, and measures of risk used in the study of disease etiology (analytic epidemiology). A critical review of the public health and medical literature is included using an evidence-based medicine approach to critical analysis. Lecture and discussions are supplemented with problem-solving exercises. For matriculated students only.

PBH 620 Introduction to Biostatistics (Spring) An overview of descriptive and inferential statistics needed to interpret health and data, and the statistics needed to analyze and evaluate the health literature and health services research. The focus is on the theoretical approach to understanding the application of statistics to health education and public health research. Prerequisite: Undergraduate course in Statistics.

PBH 630 Program Planning and Evaluation for Health Professionals (Fall) This course provides an overview of models and approaches appropriate for designing and implementing health programs. The basics of the program planning, including needs assessment, operations planning methods, implementation strategies, and an introduction to evaluation techniques are covered. In addition, interpersonal, organizational, and community level influences are discussed using contemporary health behavior models. Prerequisite: PBH 530 Theories or PBH 520 Statistical Methods in Health Education.

PBH 640 Research Methods and Design in Public Health (Fall) This course explores the history, bioethics and current issues in health research in order that students may understand issues in research. The course covers research and evaluation design, methods, instrument construction and interpretation of results in order that health professionals will be able to perform and critically evaluate research in their prospective fields.

PBH 645 Evaluation of Public Health Programs: Case Studies (Spring) Principles and procedures to evaluate public health, disease prevention, and health promotion programs are covered. Includes intensive critiques of case studies from the public health and disease prevention and policy literature. The selection of case studies is designed to reflect the diversity of methods and the range of possible applications.

PBH 689.1 and 689.2 Community Health Internship All M.P.H. degree candidates are required to complete an internship experience. This experience occurs toward the end of the degree program after students have completed their core courses. The internship is expected to be an experience that bridges professional academic preparation and public health practice. Knowledge and skills learned in your courses will be applied in an agency setting under the supervision and guidance of an experienced preceptor. Students are responsible for finding an internship on their own. A list of potential internship opportunities is available from the Program Director or Internship Coordinator upon request. Prerequisite: Completion of PBH 501, PBH 530, PBH 600, PBH 630, PBH 640.

PBH 690 Health EducationCapstone Research Project Seminar I (Fall and Spring) Students develop an independent community health project designed to meet the needs of each student and to develop expertise in a specific health-related area. The project can include planning a program, conducting a needs assessment, implementing a program, developing health-related and computer generated learning tools. Prerequisite: Completion of all required coursework and permission of program coordinator.

PBH 691 Health Education Capstone Research Project Seminar II (Fall and Spring) Students develop an independent community health project designed to meet the needs of each student and to develop expertise in a specific health-related area. The project can include planning a program, conducting a needs assessment, implementing a program, developing health-related and computer generated learning tools. Prerequisite: Completion of all required coursework and permission of program coordinator.

PBH 695 Public Health Capstone Research Project Seminar I (Fall) An independent research project is required of all students as a final demonstration of acquired skills and knowledge. Students have the opportunity to organize, synthesize, and communicate the results of the project both through an oral defense, a formal poster presentation, and in a written report. Projects may involve the analysis of quantitative or qualitative data; but may also include policy analysis, comparative program designs, and other options described in the Capstone Handbook. Prerequisites: Completion of all required core coursework and permission of the Program Director.

PBH 696 Public Health Capstone Research Project Seminar II (Spring) A continuation of PBH 695. Survey of the dimensions of health and disease from three perspectives: the U.S. historical experience with health and disease; the social context of health and illness, including the healthcare system and policy issues; and choices in healing, integrating conventional and complementary therapies. Prerequisites: Completion of all required coursework and permission of the Program Director.

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