Core Course 4: Public Health Solutions: Systems, Policy and Advocacy

Credit Hours: 2

Course Overview

This course is part of the new 12-credit, two-semester integrated core public health training program completed by all MPH students at UNC’s Gillings School.

This course will build on the knowledge you gained in the fall semester identifying and describing public health issues. In this course, we will move from understanding and measuring health problems to conceptualizing and planning solutions for those problems. We will explore how public health practitioners establish priorities for action, taking into account context and community as crucial factors that impact how practitioners conceptualize and, subsequently, plan, implement, evaluate and disseminate information about public health programs and policies. We will examine strategies for addressing public health problems at each level of the social-ecological framework, from understanding health systems in the United States and globally to considering organizational-, community- and individual-level behavioral change solutions. We will consider the distinctions between programs and policies. Finally, we will look at other factors, including evaluation, sustainability and dissemination, which help us to understand how and how well public health solutions have worked, how they can be scaled, and what we and others can learn from them in adding to the evidence base. Throughout, we will be discussing health equity as a fundamental goal of improving population health. 

Learning Objectives

  • Discuss the science of primary, secondary and tertiary prevention in population health, including health promotion, screening, etc.


  • Interpret results of data analysis for public health research, policy or practice.
  • Compare the organization, structure and function of health care, public health and regulatory systems across national and international settings.
  • Assess population needs, assets and capacities that affect communities’ health.
  • Apply awareness of cultural values and practices to the design or implementation of public health policies or programs.
  • Discuss multiple dimensions of the policy-making process, including the roles of ethics and evidence.
  • Advocate for political, social or economic policies and programs that will improve health in diverse populations.
  • Select communication strategies for different audiences and sectors.
  • Apply systems thinking tools to a public health issue.

To learn more about MPH@UNC, request information and an admissions counselor will contact you.

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