CERTIFICATE IN PUBLIC HEALTH INFORMATICS
The Certificate in Public Health Informatics consists of four required courses and one elective course
totaling 16 semester credit hours. A certificate of completion will be awarded to students completing all
courses. No more than two C’s can be earned during the program. All courses in the curriculum are
General Academic Plan
Courses SCH* Semester
HI 5310 Foundations of Health Information Sciences I 3 Sp, Su, F
HI 5380 Principles and Foundation of Public Health Informatics 3 F
PH 2610 Introduction to Epidemiology 3 Sp, Su, F
PH 1610 Introduction to Biostatistics 4 Sp, Su, F
Elective courses (select one):
HI 5381 Methods in Public Health Informatics 3 Sp
HI 5382 Synthesis Project in Public Health Informatics 3 Su
HI 6303 Introduction to Telehealth 3 F
HI 5309 Introduction to Health Data and Electronic Health Records 3 F, Sp
PH 3715 Introduction to Management and Policy Sciences 3 Sp, Su, F
PH 1110 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Public Health 3 Sp, F
PH 2120 Man’s Impact on the Environment 3 Sp, Su, F
*SCH – semester credit hours
Course Descriptions and Competencies/Subcompetencies: Required Courses
PH 1610 Introduction to Biostatistics
The Faculty in Biostatistics
This course is designed for students with little previous coursework in mathematics or statistics. Topics include research
ethics, study design, data description, elements of probability, distribution of random variables, applications of the
binomial and normal distributions, estimation and confidence intervals, hypothesis testing, contingency tables,
regression, and analysis of variance. Additional topics include introduction to statistical computing and data man
agement, distribution free statistical methods, demographic measures, and life tables.
Apply basic statistical methods for summarizing public health data and for inference.
a. Interpret and present results from the application of basic statistical techniques.
b. Distinguish among the different measurement scales and based on these distinctions recognize the implications for selection of
appropriate statistical methods.
c. Apply descriptive techniques commonly used to summarize public health data.
d. Recognize concepts of probability, random variation, and commonly used statistical probability distributions.
d. Apply common statistical methods for inference, including: estimation, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing.
e. Use appropriate statistical software and make proper interpretations based on the output.
f. Describe preferred methodological alternatives to commonly used statistical methods when assumptions are not met.
g. Apply basic informatics techniques with vital statistics and public health records.
PH 2610 Introduction to Epidemiology
Risser, Tortolero, Sanderson, Caetano, Cardenas, Herbold, and the Faculty in Epidemiology and Disease Control
This course introduces students to principles and concepts in epidemiology through lectures, discussions, assigned
readings, and exercises. Students are given the opportunity to acquire an understanding of epidemiologic principles and
concepts, the vocabulary of epidemiology, methods of epidemiologic investigation, and the design, interpretation, and
evaluation of epidemiologic research.
Describe the basic epidemiological concepts and apply them to public health problems.
a. Identify key sources of data for epidemiological purposes.
b. Describe a public health problem in terms of magnitude, person, time, and place.
c. Explain the importance of epidemiology for informing scientific, ethical, economic and political discussion of health issues.
d. Comprehend basic ethical and legal principles pertaining to the collection, maintenance, use and dissemination of
e. Apply the basic terminology and definitions of epidemiology.
f. Calculate basic epidemiology measures.
g. Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data.
h. Evaluate the strengths and limitations of epidemiologic reports.
HI 5310 Foundations of Health Information Sciences I
Irmgard Willcockson, Elmer Bernstam, 3 credits (offered F, Sp, Su semesters)
This course provides an overview of topics, concepts, theories and methods that form the foundations of health
information sciences. It gives students the fundamental knowledge and skills to pursue further study in health informatics.
Foundations I presents a general framework for health information science as the construction and use of symbolic,
mathematical, and computational models for solving problems throughout the range of biomedical science, from genetics,
to clinical care, to public health. It covers concepts, theories and methods that deal with how biomedical information is
acquired, discovered, represented, managed, organized, communicated, retrieved, and processed. It also provides an
overview of the primary research and application areas in health information science.
Use basic informatics tools to answer simple questions.
a. Analyze an electronic medical record.
b. Access and understand publicly available bioinformatics data.
Explain the field of informatics.
a. Name and describe at least five areas of health informatics.
b. Compare/contrast informatics and IT.
c. Discuss the use of models in informatics.
d. Discuss Bayes’ Theory and its applications.
e. Describe standards and their application in the electronic medical record.
HI 5380 Principles and Foundations of Public Health Informatics
Chiehwen Ed Hsu, Ross Shegog, James Turley, 3 credits (offered Fall semesters)
This course will introduce to an overview of Public Health Informatics. In this course students will explore how information
sciences, and computer sciences can be applied to enhance public health practice, research and education. Content will
include current standards, databases, networks, information systems and technologies applied to public health. Students
will gain hands-on experience by involvement in team projects. The projects will explore a specific problem domain
seeking to critically analyze and propose practical solutions.
a. Define Public Health Informatics
b. Understand the core informatics components of planning, analyzing, evaluating managing, and implementing public
health information system projects for various health organizations health data definitions and standards.
c. Discuss the functions and operations of information technologies that have significant application to public health
practice (such as geographic information systems and the web-based information dissemination) in daily public health
d. Specify the requirements for the development and adaptation of information systems to address informational needs
and requirements of a real world public health setting.
e. Demonstrate ability to describe the structure and utility of the data standards, methods and technology resources
within major public health domain.
f. Develop basic technical skills for information technology planning and procurement related to public health information
Course Descriptions and Competencies/Subcompetencies: Elective courses
Students will select one additional course from the attached list of courses. The selected course can be chosen
based on the student’s educational goals and interests. Additional competencies and subcompetencies are listed
with each of the elective courses.
HI 5381 Methods in Public Health Informatics
Chiehwen Ed Hsu, 3 credits (offered Spring semesters)
This course introduces practical methods and techniques used in Public Health Informatics (PHI). The course will focus on
methods for evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of public health protection and delivery. The course modules
are organized into three domain knowledge of PHI methods: 1) Legal and Policy Framework of Public Health Informatics, 2)
GIS and Spatial Analysis, and 3) Evaluation and Knowledge Management of Public Health Informatics. The course is
designed to familiarize students with methods for addressing the core concepts & issues confronting public health
practitioners and researchers in planning, implementation (including project management) and evaluation of information
Competencies and subcompetencies
a. Apply legal and ethical principles to the use of information technology and resources in public health settings.
b. Evaluate and manage knowledge and projects of public health informatics.
c. Appropriately employ computing tools and methods (such as GIS and spatial methods) for conducting public health
activities, such as health needs assessment, environmental health surveillance and evaluation.
d. Use information technology to access, analyze, and interpret public health data.
e. Communicate PHI principles and results using theory and strategy-based communication principles across different
settings and audiences, demonstrating effective written and oral skills for communicating with audiences in the context of
professional public health activities.
HI 5382 Synthesis Project in Public Health Informatics
Chiehwen Ed Hsu and other faculty, 3 credits (offered Summer semester)
This course provides an opportunity for students to practical, hands-on cumulating knowledge and experiences in Public
Health Informatics. This project should reflect a substantial effort and competency of synthesis in informatics developed
through the course training that address core competencies (described below) of public health informatics system by
working through the problem of students’ choice. The selected problem should be discussed and approved by a faculty
mentor. This should be tied to research/practice of your interest that includes one or more didactic modules covered in
the prior courses. The synthesis project should be based upon the combined efforts of (online) library database search,
field work, and mentored research approved by mentor(s). Expectations of the class should include the presentation of the
conclusions from the project in a written manner for academic dissemination (as a conference abstract, poster, etc)
Competencies and subcompetencies
a. Collect, organize and interpret data to present oral, written, graphic or numerical information.
b. Communicate with diverse audience in formal and informal settings using a variety of Means and information
c. Describe how the public information infrastructure is used to collect, process, maintain, and disseminate data.
d. Discuss the influence of social, organizational and individual factors on the use of Information technology by end users.
e. Apply theory and strategy-based communication principles across different settings and audiences.
f. Apply legal and ethical principles to the use of information technology and resources in public health settings.
g. Describe communication and informatics principles relating to the process of design, implementation, and evaluation of
public health programs.
h. Demonstrate effective written and oral skills for communicating with different audiences in the context of professional
public health activities.
i. Use information technology to access, evaluate, and interpret public health data.
j. Use informatics and communication methods as strategic tools to promote health.
HI 6303 Introduction to Telehealth
Kim Dunn, Irmgard Willcockson, 3 credits (offered Fall semester)
The course will provide an overview of telehealth in the context of the general health care system. It will survey
the application of telehealth in various medical specialties and different settings, e.g., rural, military/aerospace
and corrections. The course will identify key issues in implementing and operating a telehealth program including
technology, economics, legal/ethical, training, protocol development, and evaluation.
Competencies and subcompetencies
a. Understand the principles for establishing a telemedicine clinical project.
b. Establish a clinical telemedicine consultative process and have one patient seen by the end of the course.
HI 5309 Introduction to Health Data and Electronic Health Records
Dean Sittig, 3 credits (offered Spring, Fall semesters)
This course will focus on Health Information and Electronic Health Records. Health Information is collected and entered by
a wide variety of professionals and in some cases by the patient or client. This information is captured in a variety of
formats, from pre-structured lists to narrative paragraphs. The data is used in a variety of different ways by a wide variety
of users. In many cases the person who enters the data is the prime user of the data. In other cases one person enters the
data, which in turn is used by others, e.g. the clinician may enter a diagnosis which is then interpreted by a coder for use
in billing. Different elements of health data have different legal status. These differences are observed within a country
and are more evident when comparing the legal status across countries. This course will examine how health data are
collected, how they are used and the impact of electronic records on the health data. The course will review standards,
and standards development, languages used, and issues related to information processing I healthcare. The course will
review the impact of electronic records on health and healthcare including, legal, financial and clinical design issues.
After completing the course, students should be able to:
Discuss technical issues involved in implementing a clinically-oriented information system.
Discuss social/political issues involved in implementing a clinically-oriented information system.
Identify best practices in implementing a clinically-oriented information system.
PH3715 Introduction to Management and Policy Sciences
The Faculty in Management, Policy and Community Health, 3 credits (offered fall, spring, summer semesters)
This course surveys theory and practice in the management and policy sciences applied to the field of public
health. Topics include: public health in the U.S. health system/ legal bases of public health; public policy
institutions and decision‐making processes; methods of policy analysis, public sector institutions, management and
decision‐making; and private sector health care institutions, management and decision making.
Competencies and subcompetencies
Identify the main components and issues of the organization, financing and delivery of health services and public
health systems in the US.
Apply the principles of program planning, development, budgeting, management and evaluation in organizational
and community initiatives.
a. Describe the legal and ethical bases for public health and health services.
b. Explain methods of ensuring community health safety and preparedness.
c. Discuss the policy process for improving the health status of populations.
d. Apply principles of strategic planning and marketing to public health.
e. Apply quality and performance improvement concepts to address organizational performance issues.
f. Apply "systems thinking" for resolving organizational problems.
g. Communicate health policy and management issues using appropriate channels and technologies.
h. Demonstrate leadership skills for building partnerships.
PH 1110 Social and Behavioral Aspects of Community Health
Taylor, Caughy, Field, McFall, Byrd
This course focuses on health problems and issues and public health methods that have a major social or behavioral
component. It is intended for the student with little background in the behavioral sciences. The course will enable
students to describe one or two core theoretical perspectives from each of the social science disciplines of psychology,
sociology, and anthropology, and their application to public health. The course will cover the major social and behavioral
science models used in health promotion and disease prevention. The course will also cover existing social inequalities in
health status related to race, social class, and gender, and the critical intersection between social risk factors, behavioral
risk factors, and the development and implementation of public health interventions. The problems considered in this
course will vary from year to year, but include topics with social and behavioral risks.
Competencies and subcompetencies
Explain the contributions of behavioral and social sciences to public health.
Describe health problems including their social, cultural, environmental and behavioral causes.
Assure that behavioral and social science theories and concepts are used in planning and evaluating public health
Use behavioral science and health promotion methods in planning and evaluating public health programs.
a. Identify basic theories, concepts and models from a range of disciplines of BSS that are used in PH research and practice
b. Identify the role of social and community factors in both the onset and solution of public health problems.
c. Recognize the causes of social and behavioral factors that affect health of individuals and populations including social
justice and social inequalities.
d. Describe steps and procedures of planning social and behavioral interventions and policies.
e. Apply ethical principles to public health program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
f. Identify multiple targets and levels of intervention for social and behavioral science programs and/or policies
(Individual, family, network, organizational, community, policy, physical environment, and culture).
g. Identify individual, organizational, and community concerns, assets, resources, and deficits for social and behavioral
h. Apply evidence-based approaches in the development and evaluation of social and behavioral science interventions.
i. Advocate for social and behavioral science interventions and policies.
j. Identify critical stakeholders for the planning, implementation and evaluation of health promotion programs.
PH 2120 Man’s Impact on the Environment
The major goals of this online course are to develop a general awareness of how the man‐made and natural
ecosystem interact to affect health and the quality of life, review relevant principles from the natural sciences,
and discuss issues influencing the solutions to environmental health problems. This will be accomplished through
lectures, videos, class discussions, group activities, written assignments, and examinations.
Competencies and subcompetencies
Describe environmental health hazards and their potential effects on human health; discuss methods for evaluating risks
associated with such hazards; and discuss strategies for preventing or controlling hazards that pose risks to human
a. Identify chemical, biological and physical agents by media, their principal sources and general approaches for their
b. Specify pathways of exposure including environmental transport and fate and routes of transfer from the source,
through all environmental media, to humans.
c. Explain the general mechanisms of toxicity and the roles that dose-response and time-response play in eliciting a toxic
d. Describe extrinsic (socioeconomic and behavioral) and intrinsic (genetic and physiologic) factors that affect
environmental exposure-response relationships.
e. Discuss issues of environmental justice, equity and health disparities.
f. Describe local, regional and global impact of environmental hazards (direct and indirect) on human and ecological
g. Identify the major causes of injury and illness in the workplace and approaches to reducing occupational health risks.
h. Describe the components of a risk assessment, including the types of evidence that are used and the sources of
uncertainty and variability.
i. Discuss risk management and risk communication approaches for preventing and/or reducing environmental health
risks (including regulatory, engineering and behavioral interventions).
j. Develop a research question that pertains to an environmental hazard and its potential effects.