BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH COMPETENCIES

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1 BOSTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC HEALTH PUBLIC HEALTH COMPETENCIES Competency-based education focuses on what students need to know and be able to do in varying and complex situations. These competencies are based on faculty s field experience, expectations of employers, and the established Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) competencies. When completing a new course proposal, please indicate which competencies are addressed in the course. Courses may provide competencies not on this list. The competencies are specific to each degree program and concentration. Master of Public Health (MPH) Master of Science (MS) Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Please submit an electronic copy of all materials in a Word document and any questions to: Vanessa Edouard Director of Educational Programs 715 Albany Street, T221E Boston, MA COURSE PROPOSAL DEADLINES Semester Course Proposal Part I Due Course Proposal Part II Due Deadline to submit any requested revisions University Schedule Update Deadline Fall September 1 November 1 December 1 February 1 Spring April 1 June 1 July 1 September 1 Summer July 1 October 1 November 1 January 2 revised

2 MASTERS OF PUBLIC HEALTH (MPH) Identify the determinants of health and disease; Estimate the burden and patterns of disease in communities in order to prioritize health needs; Use systematic approaches to develop, implement, and evaluate public health policies, programs, or services; Communicate effectively to multiple audiences; Access and use data to address public health problems; Demonstrate the ability to collaborate effectively as part of a team; Apply ethical and legal principles to public health practice and policy; Work with and incorporate perspectives of diverse groups and communities; and Demonstrate professional knowledge and skills for effective practice in a selected field of study. Additional Competencies for Biostatistics Concentrators: Analyze data from observational studies, clinical trials, epidemiological studies, medical surveys and evaluations of health care programs using statistical programming software; Identify potential sources of bias and confounding in study design, and develop analytic and design strategies to minimize these effects; and Interpret and communicate the results and limitations of statistical analyses of public health data in both technical and non-technical terms. Additional Competencies for Environmental Health Concentrators: Explain the scientific characteristics, including exposure and mode of action, of major biological, chemical, physical hazards that result in human health risk; Manipulate environmental data, calculate dose and exposure, and present analyses; and Critically read and describe the hypothesis, experimental design, methods and results and conclusions presented in papers from technical journal articles in environmental health. Additional Competencies for Epidemiology Concentrators: Design valid epidemiological studies; Use statistical software to analyze and interpret health-related data; and Critically evaluate published research with regard to internal and external validity as well as public health importance. Additional Competencies for Health Law, Bioethics and Human Rights Concentrators: Conduct research using public health, legal, ethics and/or human rights literature on public health problems; Apply critical reasoning in a paper that integrates public health skills with policy, regulatory and legislative goals; and Create and deliver a clear and effective oral presentation on a public health topic that presents ethical or legal issues. Additional Competencies for Health Policy & Management Concentrators: Analyze how the structures, processes and outcomes observed in the organization, delivery, and financing of health services in the U.S. are related both to one another and to historical 2

3 and contextual influences, and compare these aspects of the U.S. system to those in other developed nations; Analyze the current healthcare policy issues that face U.S., state, and local communities; evaluate policies in terms of their effectiveness, efficiency and equity; and identify the factors influencing successful policy implementation; Assess how political, organizational and occupational structures, cultures, and norms influence the ways in which health care is allocated and provided, analyze how these factors affect changes in health policy and/or systems, and develop strategies to promote an organizations or constituency s position; and Critically appraise health care quality data and measurement methods for pursuing quality improvement, identify strategies for quality improvement and apply structured approaches to implementing change. Additional Competencies for Global Health Concentrators: Demonstrate skills in program and budget management that can be used to design and Implement health programs in low and middle-income country settings; Apply a multidisciplinary approach to analyze health systems and institutions involved in financing and providing preventative and curative health services at the multilateral, bilateral, national and community levels in low and middle-income countries: and Integrate information and apply models from epidemiologic, economic, behavioral, and cultural perspectives to promote social changes required to improve the health of populations. Additional Competencies for Maternal and Child Health Concentrators: Describe the historic, socio-cultural, economic, and political contexts that shape the health of women, children and families, focusing on the U.S. with a global perspective; Apply a life course perspective, combining theories of human development and the cumulative effects of social determinants, to understand and solve maternal and child health challenges of the 21 st century; and Demonstrate the ability to integrate theoretical perspectives, empirical evidence, and practice in at least one area of MCH importance. Additional Competencies for Social and Behavioral Sciences Concentrators: Access and analyze archival and other data to assess a public health problem for a specific place and population; Apply social and behavioral theories and quantitative and qualitative methods to the development of innovative and effective public health intervention programs; Develop rigorous evaluation trials to assess the efficacy of public health interventions; Communicate findings to the public and to policy makers; and Advocate for the institutionalization of evidence-based public health programs. 3

4 MASTER OF SCIENCE (MS) Master of Science in Environmental Health Upon completing the requirements for the MS in Environmental Health graduates are able to: Communicate the basic characteristics of major chemical, physical, and biological hazards and the properties that govern the hazards behavior in the environment; Explain the scientific characteristics (e.g. route of exposure, dose response, mode of action) of major biological, chemical, and physical hazards that result in human health risk; Explain and analyze genetic, physiologic, and social factors that affect the susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards; Critically evaluate and interpret the hypothesis, experimental design, methods and results presented in a paper from a technical journal article in an environmental health discipline (toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment); Analyze and interpret environmental health data; Identify appropriate intervention strategies for specific environmental health problems; and Communicate the results of a scientific study in a written and oral format. Master of Science in Epidemiology Upon completing the requirements for the MS in Epidemiology graduates are able to: Develop a scientific hypothesis, beginning with a review of existing literature, and design an epidemiologic study to assess the hypothesis validly and efficiently; Develop competence in a chosen substantive area of epidemiology for which competence requires a proficient understanding of risk factors for the disease(s), the impact of the disease(s) on populations, and an awareness of methodologic issues specific to the substantive area; Analyze a complex epidemiologic data set using at least one computer-aided tool, such as Excel or SAS; Communicate the results of research both orally and in writing, with the written presentation meeting the current standards of publication in refereed journals; and Critically evaluate in writing a published epidemiologic investigation, with respect to: the choice of study population and design, measurement of the exposure, disease, and covariates, the data description and analytic method, and the investigator s interpretation of the study s findings. Master of Science in Health Services Research Upon completing the requirements for the MS in Health Services Research graduates are able to: Identify key factors in the context of health and health care systems, institutions, actors, and environment that have the potential to influence provision and use of health services. These may include policy, organization and financing of healthcare services. They may also include social disparities and determinants that may affect access, as well as factors such as biology, behavior and culture that may influence individual health and the use of services. Identify and describe contributions (and limitations) of conceptual models of health services use and theoretical perspectives derived from foundational fields, and choose relevant conceptual models to support HSR study topics. 4

5 Develop relevant and important research questions, grounded in critical and analytical reviews of the health services literature. Identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of possible study designs that can appropriately address specific health services research questions. Methods include interventional, comparative and observational approaches; qualitative and quantitative approaches; and are derived from foundational health services fields and different types and sources of data. Identify and apply research methods that are appropriate to HSR questions of interest, specifying study constructs, research objectives and hypotheses, and utilize methods that reliably and validly measure these constructs. Identify appropriate data collection strategies to answer research questions. Collect and manage primary health and healthcare utilization data and/or assemble and manage existing data from public and private data sources in accordance with research design Choose and apply appropriate analytical techniques to data in order to explore HSR research question. Develop, document and employ procedures that ensure the reproducibility of the science, the responsible use of resources, mutual accountability with collaborators, and the ethical treatment of research subjects. Work collaboratively with teams and across disciplines to develop and disseminate HSR knowledge. Effectively communicate the process, findings, and implications of health services research via multiple modes, including via peer-reviewed publications, oral presentations and via technology. Be able to communicate findings to multiple stakeholders and audiences including funders, research participants, colleagues, policy-makers and managers. DOCTOR OF PUBLIC HEALTH (DRPH) Advocacy: Analyze the impact of legislation, judicial opinions, regulations, and policies on population health Develop evidence-based strategies for changing health law and policy Utilize consensus-building, negotiation, and conflict avoidance and resolution techniques Communication: Develop informational and persuasive communications Employ evidence-based communication program models for disseminating research and evaluation outcomes Explain program proposals and evaluations to lay, professional, and policy audiences Community/Cultural Orientation: Apply research from anthropology, psychology, history, demography, sociology, and social epidemiology in national and international contexts Develop collaborative partnerships with communities, policy makers, and other relevant groups Assess cultural, environmental, and social justice influences on the health of communities 5

6 Critical Analysis: Interpret quantitative and qualitative data following current scientific standards and apply theoretical and evidence-based perspectives from multiple disciplines in the design and implementation of programs, policies, and systems Synthesize information from multiple sources for research and practice and evaluate the performance and impact of health programs, policies, and systems Identify and navigate the secondary data sources available for use at the regional and community levels internationally and in the U.S. and understand and apply meta-analysis to evaluate policies, especially in situations involving inconsistent or limited data Leadership: Create a shared vision and articulate this vision to diverse groups, stakeholders, and other professional collaborators to achieve high standards of performance and accountability Develop skilled teams and capacity-building strategies at the individual, organizational, and community level Guide organizational decision-making and planning based on internal and external environmental research Management: Implement strategic planning processes; Evaluate organizational performance in relation to strategic and defined goals; Organize the work environment with defined lines of responsibility, authority, communication and governance and develop financial and business plans for health programs and services; Professionalism and Ethics: Apply relevant ethical, legal, and human rights principles to difficult and controversial public health policy decisions while demonstrating a commitment to personal and professional values Articulate the major ethical, legal and human rights principles relevant to public health policy making, both in the US and internationally Design strategies for resolving ethical concerns in research, law, and regulations DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY (PHD) Environmental Health Upon completing the requirements for the PhD in Environmental Health graduates are able to: Communicate the basic characteristics of major chemical, physical, and biological hazards and the properties that govern the hazards behavior in the environment; Explain the scientific characteristics (e.g. route of exposure, dose response, mode of action) of major chemical, physical, and biological hazards that result in human health risk; Explain and analyze genetic, physiologic, and social factors that affect the susceptibility to adverse health outcomes following exposure to environmental hazards; Critically evaluate and interpret the hypothesis, experimental design, methods and results presented in a paper from a technical journal article in an environmental health discipline (toxicology, epidemiology, exposure assessment, environmental policy); 6

7 Identify data gaps and formulate testable hypotheses about critical questions in environmental health (epidemiology, toxicology, exposure assessment, environmental policy); Design and implement data collection strategies and rigorous evaluations to test hypotheses using novel or current techniques; Analyze and interpret environmental health data; Identify appropriate intervention strategies for specific environmental health problems; and Prepare scientific manuscripts for publication in peer reviewed journals in the field of environmental health; and Communicate scientific results at national and/or international conferences in the field of environmental health. Epidemiology In addition to meeting the MS in Epidemiology competencies, upon completing the requirements for the PhD in Epidemiology graduates are able to: Formulate testable hypotheses that can be evaluated through empirical epidemiologic investigation; Critically evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of epidemiologic study designs applied to particular etiologic associations; Analyze and interpret the data and results of epidemiologic studies using appropriate biostatistical methods and theories, including Bayesian and frequentist methods; Explain the theoretical underpinnings of epidemiology and differentiate new variations on epidemiologic study designs from traditional designs; Design instruments for primary data collection and demonstrate proficiency in data collection, preliminary data analysis, and written summaries of statistical analyses; Demonstrate expertise in at least one substantive area of epidemiology and apply that expertise to preparation of three studies required to complete the dissertation; and Perform all the steps of conducting a hypothesis-driven epidemiologic study, from developing hypotheses, to designing, analyzing, and interpreting results, to writing results in the form of a manuscript of publication-quality. Health Services Research In addition to the MS in Health Services Research competencies, upon completion of the PhD in Health Services Research, the graduate is able to: Identify key factors in the context of health and health care systems, institutions, actors, and environment that have the potential to influence provision and use of health services. These may include policy, organization and financing of healthcare services. They may also include social disparities and determinants that may affect access, as well as factors such as biology, behavior and culture that may influence individual health and the use of services. Examine, critique, modify, and develop theory-based conceptual models of health services use. Identify and examine the use of theoretical perspectives derived from foundational fields that provide rationales for both HSR study topics and conceptual approaches to them. These fields can include anthropology, demography, economics, epidemiology, management, organizational science, political science, psychology and/or economics. 7

8 Develop original, relevant and important research questions to pursue in HSR that are grounded in both a critical analysis of prior HSR literature and relevant theoretical perspectives. Identify and analyze the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of possible study designs that can appropriately address specific health services research questions. Methods include interventional, comparative and observational approaches; qualitative and quantitative approaches; and are derived from foundational health services fields and different types and sources of data. Based on relevant theory/concepts and the research question(s) at hand, develop and apply a health services research design, specifying study constructs, research objectives and hypotheses and utilize methods that reliably and validly measure these constructs and outcomes of interest. Select optimal methodological approach, in combination as necessary, to answering key health services research questions. Identify appropriate data collection strategies to answer research questions. Collect and manage primary health and healthcare utilization data and/or assemble and manage existing data from public and private data sources in accordance with research design. Choose and apply a range of appropriate analytical techniques to data in order to explore various types of HSR questions. Utilize appropriate combination of analytic techniques to deepen data analysis and interpretation. Develop, document and employ procedures that ensure the reproducibility of the science, the responsible use of resources, mutual accountability with collaborators, and the ethical treatment of research subjects. Work collaboratively in teams within and across disciplines to develop and disseminate HSR knowledge; assembling and leading teams with the necessary combinations of knowledge and expertise. Effectively communicate the process, findings, and implications of health services research via multiple modes, including via peer-reviewed publications, oral presentations and via technology. Be able to communicate findings to multiple stakeholders and audiences including funders, research participants, colleagues, policy-makers and managers. 8

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