Course Details

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Course Details

Course faculty: The course will be taught by internal and external (guest/adjunct) faculty members. The course will be coordinated by an internal faculty having doctoral degree with specialization in epidemiology and/or biostatistics. External/guest faculty would be involved based on course requirements and respective specializations. 

PH 102: Foundations of Population Health and Policy
Course Type: Compulsory Core (Offered in Semester 1)
No of Credits: 6

Course description: This is an integrated course exposing students to the core concepts and approaches to study population health. The first half of the course introduces students to the basic principles of public health and demography, measures of population health, health system and different agents and actors of the health system. The second half of the course is concerned with the basic concepts and principles of health economics, and introduces economic analysis of health and health care, health financing and health insurance, and economic evaluation in health care. In addition, students are introduced to empirical health policy analysis through a mix of readings of health policy and tools to review and analyse health policy, and introduction to health policy research.
Course contents:

  • Introductory concepts: public health, population health and its determinants. History of public health; Epidemiological and health transition.
  • Measures of Population health
  • Introduction to Demography: Key demographic processes and their determinants
  • Demographic transition; demographic dividend; implications of demographic factors and demographic determinants of population health
  • Health inequality and health equity: concepts, measures and empirical illustrations
  • Introduction to health systems - framework, building blocks and typologies. Introduction to health systems: agents, units, institutions
  • Introduction to economics of health and health care: basic principles, nature of health care as economic commodity, demand for health care: The Human Capital Approach
  • Health care markets: functioning, characteristics, failures, public and private roles
  • Health care financing and health insurance: Models and applications
  • Introducing the health policy framework - contexts, processes and actors. Implementing health policy: the state, private sector and the government in health policy process and policy implementation

Required texts:

  • Introduction to Health Economics (2nd ed.) by L Guinness, V Wiseman, Open University Press. ISBN: 9780335243563.
  • Methods and Materials of Demography. (2nded.) edited by J S Siegel, D A Swanson, Emerald Group Publishing; 2nd ed. edition (March 17, 2004), ISBN: 9780126419559
  • Principles of Population Studies, A Bhende, T Kanitkar, Himalaya Publishing House, 2011.
  • The World Health Report 2000: Health Systems: Improving Performance, WHO. 2000.
  • Economic Evaluation (1sted), J Fox-Rushby, J Cairns, Open University Press, ISBN: 9780335218479

Course evaluation: The course evaluation pattern for PH 102 will be as follows:

  • Internal (continuous) assessments (20% of overall weightage): This would combine:
  • Class Assignments: Class assignments, including group presentations will count to 5% of the above.
  • Mid-semester Quiz will count toward 15% of the grades.
  • External (end-semester) assessments: The end-semester examination will be conducted by WBUHS and will contribute to 80% of the course grades. This course does not have a practical evaluation component.

Course faculty: The course will be taught by internal and external (guest/adjunct) faculty members. The course will be coordinated by internal faculty having doctoral degree with specialization in population health/demography/health economics. External/guest faculty would be involved based on course requirements and respective specializations. 

PH 103: Essentials of Social and Behavioral Sciences
Course Type: Compulsory Core
Credits: 2

Course description: This course is a two-credit, compulsory course for 1st Semester MPH program. The aim of the course is to introduce to the students selected topics and issues from the disciplines of social and behavioural sciences, having their applications in different areas of public health and policy. This is would acquaint the students with the basic principles and concepts of social sciences having relevance to the study of public health. The course is designed in the form of a set of thematic modules – each focusing on a particular topic – where the key concepts would be discussed. Public health applications of these issues would be separately treated in detail in other courses, in particular PH 102 (the discussions of social determinants of health and health disparities for e.g.) and PH 202 (Health and Society).

Course contents:

  • Fundamental concepts of Economics: Income, consumption and economic development; Poverty and economic growth, Inequality.
  • Human development – concepts, measures. Human capital formation
  • Social groups and interactions: Castes and religions as social groups; Social exclusion and determinants; Social change and pathways of social mobility and development in India
  • Institutions and development: State and government in development; Political processes, participation and citizenship; Identities
  • Community: Community and networks; Social capital and exchanges; Community interventions and partnering with communities; Social influence and group processes
  • Human behavior: Basis of human behavior; Motivation and personality; Behavior change, Fundamental theoretical concepts of health behaviour (e.g.Health Belief Model, Theory of Planned behaviour, Theory of reasoned action, Nudge) 

Required texts: There is no single reference text for this course. The instructor will provide specific readings and other study materials during each module. However the students, in particular those having a non-social science background, are strongly advised to consult basic textbooks on social sciences. Textbooks at the 10+2 level of NCERT/CBSE could be useful and is recommended for general overview of the basic principles and concepts. These books are freely made available by NCERT. A Google Drive folder with the e-copies of the relevant textbooks is available here.
Course evaluation: For PH 103, no internal assessments are proposed. Entire course assessments (100%) will be based on end-semester examination.

Course faculty: The course will be taught by internal and external (guest/adjunct) faculty members, with social science backgrounds. External/guest faculty would be involved based on course requirements and respective specializations.  

PH 201: Analytical Methods and Techniques in Public Health
Course Type: Compulsory Core
No of Credits: 6

Course description: An integrated course in public health analytical methods, this core course (6 credits, 90 hours) in Semester 2 will introduce students to the essential tools and techniques of conducting empirical, research-oriented data analysis, interpretation and presentation of findings, and designing and executing public health research projects. This course will comprise of the overall framework of health research methodology, conceptualizing and designing primary studies, preparation of study tools, different techniques for data collection, and intensive training in analysis and interpretation of data using standard qualitative and quantitative methods. Students will be exposed to qualitative and quantitative software for data analysis.

Course contents:

  • Designing research-I: Formulation of research problems, objectives and hypotheses; conducting literature review and meta-analysis
  • Designing research-II: Introduction to sample surveys – sampling (different approaches and methods), sample size and power estimations, use of weights
  • Data collection-I: Implementing household and facility surveys – designing questionnaires, coding, pre-testing, conducting interviews
  • Data collection-II: Qualitative techniques of data collection – case-studies, in-depth interviews, key informant interviews, developing narratives, focus-group discussions, participatory approaches (methods and tools)
  • Data Analysis-I: Quantitative techniques – examining data through descriptive statistics, exploratory data analysis using charts and graphs, bivariate statistics and measures of association, regression models (multivariate), analysis of qualitative dependent variables/categorical data analysis, multilevel models
  • Data Analysis-II: Qualitative techniques – Transcription/data management, narrative analysis and case study, Ethnographic approaches, grounded theory approach, codebook development, presenting results
  • Constructing and interpreting scales and indices – factor analysis, principal component analysis, testing validity and reliability using psychometric properties
  • Topics in public health data analysis – Data mining, surveillance methods,
  • Introduction to longitudinal data – designing surveys, basic introduction to longitudinal data analysis, health and demographic surveillance systems (HDSS)
  • Introduction to health program evaluation: Evaluation designs, randomization, using propensity score matching, regression discontinuity, double difference. 

This course will have a major practical component, including using statistical software for data analysis (using STATA), and use of qualitative data analysis software. Students will be also required to prepare a research proposal based on the lessons provided in the course, apart from conducting fieldwork for specific assignments.

 Required texts:

  • Social Research Methods. Bryman, A. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) second edition [ISBN 9780199264469].
  • Designing Household Survey Samples,United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs: United Nations, 2005.
  • Qualitative Inquiry & Research Design: Choosing Among Five Approaches, Second Edition, by John Creswell, Sage Publications 2007
  • Qualitative Methods for Health Research - Judith Green and Nicki Thorogood, Sage Publications, 2006.
  • Survey Research, Roger Sapsford, SAGE, 2006.
  • Statistical Models for Causal Analysis – R.D. Retherford and M.K.Choe, John Wiley and Sons, New York, 1993
  • Researching Health – Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Methods – M Saks, J Allsop, SAGE, 2012
  • Introduction to Research in Health Sciences – S Polgar, S.A.Thomas. Elsevier Health Sciences, 2013
  • An Introduction to STATA for Health Researchers – SvendJuul, STATA Press, 2006
  • Statistics with STATA – Version 12 – L Hamilton, Cengage Learning, 2012.

Course evaluation: The course evaluation pattern for PH 201 will be as follows:

  • Internal (continuous) assessments (20% of overall weightage): This would involve
    • Assignments (Fieldwork) accounting for 10% of the overall weightage
    • Assignments (Computer Lab) accounting for 10% of the overall weightage
    • Proposal presentation accounting for 5% of the overall weightage
  • External (end-semester) assessments: The end-semester examination will be conducted by WBUHS and will contribute to 80% of the course grades. 50% of the end-semester would be based on practical assessments (computer laboratory/data analysis) and the remaining 30% based on theoretical examinations. 

Course faculty: The course will be taught by internal and external (guest/adjunct) faculty members. The course will be coordinated by internal faculty having doctoral degree with expertise in quantitative/qualitative research methods. External/guest faculty would be involved based on course requirements and respective specializations. 

PH 202: Health and Society
Course Type: Compulsory Core
No of Credits: 6

Course description: PH 202 will be offered as a compulsory core, 6-credit course in Semester 2. This interdisciplinary course deals with two core aspects: (a) introducing concepts and approaches of social epidemiology and social determinants of health (SDH) and (b) discussions on focal themes and issues concerning the interface of public health and society, through selected topics. The central objective of the course is to help students appreciate the linkages between social factors and processes and population health outcomes, and using SDH frameworks to explain and understand health disparities. The discussion on topical issues would introduce key public health issues and health outcomes having strong social gradients and determinants.

Course contents:

  • Social determinants of health (SDH): Theories and constructs of social epidemiology
  • Fundamental issues in SDH: Living standards, gender, environment, work, ethnicity; Explaining health disparities using SDH framework
  • Economic and social deprivation – access and entitlements-social, economic and public service utilities, drinking water and sanitation, livelihoods and communities
  • Health transition and society – epidemiological and social concerns; infectious diseases and NCDs
  • Health behaviors – dimensions, determinants, analysis and solutions to influence behavior change; role of incentives and disincentives
  • Maternal and child health: outcomes, determinants and disparities
  • Injuries and violence; social and public health implications; policy perspectives
  • Mental Health
  • Water and Sanitation – public health dimensions
  • Nutrition – undernutrition and obesity and their public health dimensions
  • Globalization and its consequences on health

Required texts:

  • Social Epidemiology (2nd ed.) edited by L F Berkman, I Kawachi, M Glymour, Oxford University Press, ISBN: 9780199395330
  • Social Determinants of Health (2nd ed.) M Marmot, R Wilkinson (ed), Oxford University Press

Course evaluation: The course evaluation pattern for PH 202 will be as follows:

  • Internal (continuous) assessments (20% of overall weightage): This would combine:
  • Class Assignments: Class assignments, including group presentations will count to 5% of the above.
  • Mid-semester Quiz will count toward 10% of the grades.
  • Field visit reports/practicum reports  will account for 5% of the grades
  • External (end-semester) assessments: The end-semester examination will be conducted by WBUHS and will contribute to 80% of the course grades. This course does not have a practical evaluation component.

Course faculty: The course will be taught by internal and external (guest/adjunct) faculty members. The course will be coordinated by internal faculty having doctoral degree with specialization in population health/ health systems and other relevant social science disciplines.  External/guest faculty would be involved based on course requirements and respective specializations.

PH 203: Public Health Empirics: Contemporary Issues in Public Health and Health Policy in India
Course description: PH 203 will be offered as a compulsory core, 6-credit course in Semester 2. This course connects the theoretical principles, approaches, concepts learned in the two core courses of Semester 1 and PH 202. A key feature of this course will be public policy clinics where practitioners and policy-makers will be delivering lectures on topics with direct and actual policy application. Students will be required to critically review the policy aspects, establish their theoretical and principled bases, and provide analytical discussions.

Course contents:

  • Overview of the Indian Health System – structure, functioning and organization of health services at the national and state levels; Issues in health system in West Bengal – local priorities, challenges, constraints and policy responses.
  • Health policy contexts – historic vision, current realities; current policy paradigms. Policy actions for critical health system functions – service delivery, oversight and risk protection.
  • Primary health care in India and states - Critical assessment of public and private health sector roles, strengths and weaknesses in service delivery and health system outcomes
  • Health system strengthening – Quality of care and responsiveness – different approaches; financial risk protection - Social and community-based health insurance – impacts, risks, and comparative analysis; Access to medicines – issues relating to rational use of drugs and anti-microbial resistance.
  • Human resources for health
  • Health sector reforms – global and national experiences, with special emphasis on West Bengal
  • Health sector planning, monitoring and program evaluation – priority-setting and program implementation; health information systems
  • Good health at Low Cost – case studies and models from India and South Asia
  • International benchmarks and experiences in health sector performance assessment

Required reading: This course will be largely taught from research papers, journal articles, reports and case-illustrations. Readings will be accordingly communicated during the course.

Course evaluation: The course evaluation pattern for PH 202 will be as follows:

  • Internal (continuous) assessments (20% of overall weightage): This would combine:
  • Class Assignments: Class assignments, including group presentations will count to 5% of the above.
  • Student projects will count toward 10% of the grades.
  • Critical review of case-studieswill account for 5% of the grades.
  • External (end-semester) assessments: The end-semester examination will be conducted by WBUHS and will contribute to 80% of the course grades. This course does not have a practical external evaluation component.

Course faculty: The course will be taught by internal and external (guest/adjunct) faculty members. The course will be coordinated by internal faculty having doctoral degree with specialization in population health/ health systems/health systems. As mentioned above practitioners and policy-makers will be delivering lectures on topics with direct and actual policy application.

 

PH 111: Environment Health: Determinants and Policy Perspectives
Course Type: Elective Optional (Offered in Semester I)
No of Credits: 4

Course description: Environmental factors as estimated to be responsible for about 40 percent of the global disease burden, across the world. The vulnerability of getting affected by environmental risks is disproportionately higher for young children, aged population, pregnant women, and the poor. The course on Environmental Health prepares students to identify and assess the health impacts of physical, chemical, and biological agents in the environment and workplace and to explore way-outs for their measurement and control.

Course contents:

  • Environmental Determinants to Public Health: Environmental health risks within natural, socio-economic, build and working environments. The module will expose students to the issues of disease and health-risks, triggered by environmental causes. This, much of a theoretical, background setting module will aim to orient and sensitize participants to the issues and challenges for public health
  • Essentials of Public Health toxicology:the modules aims to provide basic scientific understanding on environmental toxicology, including the techniques of dose response, hazards and risk assessment, determination of toxicity, pesticides, metals, plastics, organic solvents, environmental carcinogens, teratogens and mutagens
  • Environmental and Occupational Epidemiology:This module exposes students to the issues of environmental health risks linked to occupational attributes. Environmental interactions and occurrence of negative health outcomes, and management of these risks through community education and health policy, will be in focus
  • Techniques of environmental risk assessments:Tools of environmental impact assessments (EIA) on population health will be delivered through this module. The techniques of risks assessments and management at population level, will be taught, which essentially will be linked to the issues of analysis of policy gaps and relevant policy advocacy
  • Conduct and participate in environmental health research:
  • Identifying research needs/ theme/ problems, from immediate surrounding
  • Apply research principles in design and conduct of investigation
  • Managing research data and bringing in evidences from the research conducted
  • Developing and designing intervention measures, applicable to be implemented at both the levels of local government and communities
  • Communication of research results in appropriate format and through wider dissemination

Required texts:

  • Casarett and Doull’s  Essentials of Toxicology,  8th (or earlier) edition, C.D. Klaassen and J.B. Watkins III, eds. McGraw Hill Medical, NY, 2013. 
  • Principles and Methods of Toxicology. Fifth Edition. A. Wallace Hayes (ed). CRC Press, Boca Ratan, 2008. (Older editions also contain basic information that may be helpful.)
  • Risk assessment for environmental health / edited by Mark Robson and William Toscano; foreword by Donald M. Berwick. ISBN-13: 978-0-7879-8319-2 (cloth) ISBN-10: 0-7879-8319-5 (cloth)

Course evaluation: The course evaluation pattern for PH 102 will be as follows:

  • Internal (continuous) assessments (20% of overall weightage): This would involve class assignments.
  • External (end-semester) assessments: The end-semester examination will be conducted by WBUHS and will contribute to 80% of the course grades. This course does not have a practical evaluation component.

Course faculty: The course will be taught by internal and external (guest/adjunct) faculty members. The course will be coordinated by internal faculty having doctoral degree with specialization in environmental health. External/guest faculty would be involved based on course requirements and respective specializations (viz. public health toxicology, environmental and occupational epidemiology and environmental risk assessment).