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Problem Solving in Public Health

Summer Institute
Academic Year
2023 - 2024
Instruction Method
Synchronous Online
Start Date
Monday, June 5, 2023
End Date
Friday, June 16, 2023
Lab Times
Monday, 10:00am - 12:00pm (01)
Tuesday, 10:00am - 12:00pm (01)
Wednesday, 10:00am - 12:00pm (01)
Thursday, 10:00am - 12:00pm (01)
Friday, 10:00am - 12:00pm (01)
Monday, 12:00 - 2:00pm (02)
Tuesday, 12:00 - 2:00pm (02)
Wednesday, 12:00 - 2:00pm (02)
Thursday, 12:00 - 2:00pm (02)
Friday, 12:00 - 2:00pm (02)
Monday, 2:00 - 4:00pm (03)
Tuesday, 2:00 - 4:00pm (03)
Wednesday, 2:00 - 4:00pm (03)
Thursday, 2:00 - 4:00pm (03)
Friday, 2:00 - 4:00pm (03)
Monday, 4:00 - 6:00pm (04)
Tuesday, 4:00 - 6:00pm (04)
Wednesday, 4:00 - 6:00pm (04)
Thursday, 4:00 - 6:00pm (04)
Friday, 4:00 - 6:00pm (04)
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Daniel Barnett
Contact Email
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
Uses divergent public health issues to illustrate a systematic problem solving process for use in addressing public health problems. Includes defining the problem, measuring its magnitude, understanding the key determinants, developing a conceptual framework of the relationships between the key determinants, identifying and developing intervention and prevention strategies (either interventions or policies), setting priorities among intervention options, understanding barriers to implementation and evaluation, and developing an effective communication strategy. Consists of lectures, discussions, small-group exercises, a group project, and individual assignments.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Analyze a public health problem and evaluate intervention/policy alternatives using the problem-solving methodology
  2. Compare and contrast the utility of the methodology to solve public health problems that emerge at different periods in the life cycle and in different cultures and health systems
  3. Research a specific public health problem, prepare a written report, and present their recommendations to the class following the problem-solving methodology
  4. Recognize and discuss the complexity of policy development, including the politics of public health issues, the roles of interest groups and stakeholders, and the laws and social values that must be woven into successful policies
  5. Integrate human rights and ethical principles into the analysis of public health problems and recommended strategies
  6. Recognize the critical role of communication and collaboration in public health practice
  7. Conduct problem solving activities that model the methods of public health agencies
  8. Demonstrate critical and analytical thinking by submitting two individually prepared products (a self-assessment of the process & a critical analysis of the application of the problem-solving methodology to a public health problem)
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 10% Participation
  • 10% Reflection
  • 20% Group Work
  • 20% Group Presentation
  • 40% Final Paper
Enrollment Restriction
Restricted to Part-time MPH students, DNP/MPH students and Training Certificate students
Special Comments

Prospective students should note that there are several required prerequisite readings and an assignment to be completed prior to the first day of class, and there will be 2 short assignments due within 1 week following the last day of class. All lectures will be scheduled from 8:30am-9:50am ET, EXCEPT for the first lecture that takes place on Monday, June 5, 2023 and will be scheduled from 8:00am-9:50am ET. The central learning activities of this course occur within small groups that meet for 2-hour sessions. Within the 4 weeks prior to the start of the course, each student will be queried for preferences for a single 2-hour small-group time-slot:10am-12pm; 12pm -2pm; 2pm-4pm; 4pm-6pm ET. For example, students assigned to the “2pm-4pm ET” time-slot would meet every day of the class from 2pm-4pm ET. On the final day of the course (Friday, June 16, 2023), all students will be required to engage in a class-wide series of Final Presentations starting at 8:30am ET and finishing no later than 2pm ET. The last day to add the course will be Monday, June 5, 2023. The last day to drop the course will be Wednesday, June 7, 2023.