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USC MPH Health Services and Policy Concentration

Health Services and Policy focuses on health care systems, governmental and organizational decisions plans, and actions that affect the health of populations. Health services concentrate on social, economic and behavioral factors affecting the use of health care services, whereas health policies focus on actions to improve health through legislation, research, direct care, community empowerment and regulations. Leading practitioners in the advancement of health services and policy lead students in examining and understanding the organization, financing and delivery of health services, offering a comprehensive and practice based foundation for students who wish to pursue careers in management, policy and research.

MPH students in this concentration will take the public health core courses plus 24 units of concentration-specific coursework (16 units of concentration core courses + 8 units of elective courses) ranging in topics that include policy analysis, health services research methods, quality in health care, and policy and politics.

Concentration Curriculum
Concentration Directors
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Frequently Asked Questions
  • It is one of the three core areas of public health
  • It provides the mechanism to take what we know is important in public health and transforms these ideas into legislative action and policy at all levels of government
  • To improve the public’s health through policy development and implementation at the local, state, and federal and global levels
  • To improve public health, including the health care delivery system, through advocacy, education, and research
  • To help pass and improve laws and regulations that promote health, improve access to health care, and to reduce disparities
  • Analyze bills and other forms of legislative or regulatory actions
  • Review and assess the impact of proposed or existing legislation on an organization or a population sub group
  • Develop policy briefs, prepare letters or testimony, and/or brief to others on the impact of policy
  • Form policies and help write and make comments on bills or government regulations
  • Organize others around advocacy and policy development
  • Government affairs specialist
  • Public health policy analyst
  • Community advocate
  • A state or local public health department
  • A county or a city governing body
  • Non-profit organizations
  • Hospital or physician groups
  • Advocacy organizations (i.e. American Cancer Society)
  • Governing bodies (i.e. State Legislature, congress, city council)
  • Government agencies (i.e. CDC)

Click courses for descriptions.

Historical development of the American health care system; determinants of health care utilization; role of health care providers; health policy; public health services; and health care finance. Prerequisite: PM 502

Economic theory as applied to public policy. Concepts of efficiency and equity, analysis of market failure and policy interventions.

And choose two of the following:

Examines quality assessment at different levels of the health care system including health plans, physicians, hospital and integrated system performance.

Prerequisite: PM 502

A practical examination of methods and data sources used to evaluate public health services and conduct policy research and evaluation within health care delivery systems.

Prerequisite: PM 502 and PM 510L and PM 512

Examination of major policy issues in the U.S. health care delivery system to understand policy options in reforming health care and reducing health care disparities.

Prerequisite: PM 502a

Elective Options

Click courses for descriptions.

*May receive credit for concentration core or concentration elective only.

Examines quality assessment at different levels of the health care system including health plans, physicians, hospital and integrated system performance.

Prerequisite: PM 502

Economic theory as applied to public policy. Concepts of efficiency and equity, analysis of market failure and policy interventions.

Exploration of the interplay between systems, policy, advocacy, programs, and research with sexually transmitted infections. Issues such as health literacy, access to care, and evidence-based interventions designed to avert disparities in health, especially sexual health, will be evaluated.

Recommended Preparation: PM 501 and PM 512

Core concepts, methods and values of public health program planning and evaluation, including community needs assessment, writing objectives, designing health promotion programs, process and outcome evaluation.

Recommended Preparation: PM 500.

With a physiological overview, differentiates genetic and environmental disease; emphasis on the relationships between lifestyle, behavior, and health.

Prerequisite: admission to PhD in Preventive Medicine, Health Behavior Research or basic biology.

Overview of concepts, tools, data collection, analysis methods and designs used to evaluate health promotion programs. Examples from substance abuse prevention, family planning and reproductive health programs.

Physiological basis for good nutrition during pregnancy and childhood through adolescence. Design, implementation and evaluation of public health nutrition programs and policies serving women and children.

Recommended Preparation: PM 530.

Theory, methods and procedures of network analysis with emphasis on applications to public health programs.

Examination of environmental public health policies/regulations, the role of science in assessment and policy initiatives, barriers to change, and competing interests that influence policy adoption.

Recommended Preparation: PM 529.

Ethical principles in the distribution of health resources, conduct of global public health research, and implementation of public health initiatives across different nations, cultures, religions.

Recommended Preparation: PM 501

Highlights the complex interactions between global health, law and human rights, emphasizing the use of human rights in public health thinking and practice.

Recommended Preparation: MPH core course work.
Duplicates Credit in LAW 707.

Investigates the way health is organized and administered at the global level, emphasizing the role of international diplomacy and law in governing health.

History of child health and social welfare programs during the past century. Issues examining health status and health service delivery, the role of health care financing and health policy.

Investigates the way health is organized and administered at the global level by integrating students directly into the World Health Assembly (WHA), the decision-making body of the World Health Organization.

Recommended Preparation: PM 578

See course website »

Conceptual framework for data base development; relational data management; use of health statistics; health indicators; confidentiality, security, privacy.

Recommended Preparation: PPD 502 or competence in statistics and PPD 516 or competence in accounting.

Rights of consumers; health-related powers of governments; rights and responsibilities of health care providers; interrelationships of rights, powers, and responsibilities.

Recommended Preparation: PPD 509 or substantial prior work experience in health care organizations.

Relationships between economic characteristics and health status; impact of economy on health services industry; demand and resources for health services; utilization, prices, costs, health insurance.

Prerequisite: PPD 501a.

Principles and methods of systems analysis; assessment; strategic planning, design consideration; e-health and e-commerce system trends; health care information systems application areas; regulatory requirements.

Prerequisite: PPD 511.

Methods and models for policy and program evaluation; methods of collecting and analyzing evaluation data; processes for linking evaluation to policy formulation and program management.

Prerequisite: PPD 502.
Duplicates Credit in former PUAD 525 and former PUAD 529.

Political and organizational perspectives on policy making process; agenda setting, policy design, adoption, implementation, evaluation, modification or termination. Policy leadership skills: negotiation and strategic mapping.

Examination of methods used in the analysis of policy methods, including cost benefit analysis, decision and risk analysis, and applied social science methods.

Prerequisite: PPD 502 and PPD 554 and PPD 501b.
Duplicates Credit in former PUAD 572.

This information represents an effort on the part of your advisor to help you plan your academic program. It is not an official document.

For program requirements, please refer to your USC Catalogue .

Courses listed may be offered irregularly. Check the USC schedule of classes  for semester-specific course offerings and/or meet with your advisor to discuss available options for your concentration.