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School of Public Health
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PhD Program in Health Services

Area of Emphasis

Health Systems Research

Lead Faculty:   Christian Helfrich

This area of emphasis provides PhD students with greater depth and preparation to conduct research about the performance of health care and public health systems.

Students must complete an organizational theory course to fulfill the PhD Program's theory course requirement. An additional organizational theory course is required for this area of emphasis.

A course in clinical epidemiology is required because clinical studies of health system effects on clinical health outcomes are common in this field.

Because studies of health systems often require longitudinal data for patients, providers, health care organizations, insurance plans and other units, students also are recommended to learn statistical methods for analyzing correlated data.

Because studies of health systems often blend quantitative and qualitative methods ("mixed methods" approaches), a qualitative methods course is recommended.

Finally, students must complete an additional methods course from the menu of courses listed in Evaluative Science and Statistics area of emphasis.

Students who complete this area of emphasis will be prepared to design and conduct studies of the health care and public health system's performance.

Required Courses:

Students who select this Area of Emphasis must choose HSERV 590 (Organizational Theory and Applications in the Study of Health Services) as the required theory course for the core PhD curriculum requirements.

at least two of the following organizational theory courses:

MGMT 580
Psychological Foundations of Organizational Behavior (4)

MGMT 590
Economic Foundations of Strategic Management (4)

MGMT 591
Sociological Foundations of Strategic Management (4)

PPM 514
Management, Organizations and Theory (4)
Note that Prof. Gugerty requires Health Services PhD students to complete a set of preparatory readings prior to enrolling in PPM 514. Please contact Prof. Gugerty to obtain the readings and alert her to your interest in PPM 514:

and two from the following courses:

Advanced Qualitative Methods in Anthropology and Public Health (5)

Correlated Data Regression (3)

EPI 542
Clinical Epidemiology (2)

G H 541
Fundamentals of Implementation Science in Global Health (4)
(highly recommended, 5 credit section recommended for students wanting more depth in implementation science in a global context)

Motivational Theories in Social Psychology (5)

BIOE 498-H/599-I
Healthcare Transformation: Forces, Trends and Implications (2)

PB AF 550
Management of Nonprofit Organizations (3/4)

PB AF 556
Public-Private Partnerships (3/4)

IND E 250/599
Healthcare Modeling and Decision Making (4)

Health Economics (3)

and one methods course from the Evaluative Sciences & Statistics area of emphasis:

(HSERV 584 or HSERV 527 specifically recommended.)