Master of Public Health in the Field of Health Policy

Program Director L. Cartwright-Smith

Practicum Directors L. Cartwright-Smith, M. Malcarney

Mission Statement

The Department of Health Policy and Management of the Milken Institute School of Public Health is an intellectual and practice-oriented community in the nation’s capital dedicated to advancing innovative and effective health policy education, research, and service to improve public health and health services domestically and globally.

We are committed to:

  • Offering a cutting-edge, multidisciplinary curriculum that provides students with deep content knowledge and the analytic, communication, and professional skills needed to be the next generation of health policy leaders.
  • Conducting rigorous multidisciplinary research that addresses significant health challenges, is objective, and is translated to inform and impact health policy and public health practice.
  • Being a trusted resource for shaping and advancing health policy options because of our research rigor, the real-world health policy leadership experiences of our faculty and staff, our deep expertise regarding a wide range of policy issues, and our exceptional students.
  • Leveraging our unique location which allows for strong collaborations with health policy leaders and practitioners in Washington, D.C.
  • Improving the health and health care of underserved and vulnerable populations.
  • Learning from the diversity among our faculty, staff, and students in terms of background, experience, and thought.

Overview

The Department of Health Policy and Management is the home for health policy studies and research at the Milken Institute School of Public Health (SPH). The Department focuses on virtually all facets of U.S. health policy related to both public health and health services, and emphasizes preparing students to understand and analyze health policy matters in a broad, cross-cutting, and real-world context. Among schools of public health, the Milken Institute SPH Department of Health Policy and Management is unique, having been created to take maximum advantage of its location in Washington, D.C., the nation’s health policy-making epicenter. The M.P.H. in Health Policy is for students who wish to develop in-depth policy analysis skills for use in various practice settings, including both federal and state levels of government, private-sector health policy consulting, and not-for-profit advocacy. Additionally, this program is available to GW law students (the J.D./M.P.H. and LL.M./M.P.H. programs), lawyers seeking to develop expertise in all facets of health policy and practice, and to GW medical students (the M.D./M.P.H. and P.A./M.P.H. programs) who wish to enhance their clinical training with a thorough understanding of health policy.  

A. Knowledge Domain: Graduates of the program will have a thorough understanding of public health and health care system issues, specifically the following areas:

  • The various theories of policymaking and politics.
Related courses:
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
  • Comparative models of structuring and financing public health activities and health care services, with emphasis on the mechanisms employed in the U.S., including private health insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, managed care, and directly-financed services.
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
  • The complex systems for delivery of public health and health care services, including facilities, workforce, technology, and the incentives at work in these systems.
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
  • The methods and mechanisms for determining the benefits of public health and health care services, including measures of health outcomes and quality, measuring population health and disparities, public health surveillance, the use of HIT, and issues of privacy and access to data.
Related courses:
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
  • The systems and activities in place to provide a safety net for vulnerable populations and reduce health disparities, including community health centers, major federal programs, and public health clinics, and related concepts such as uncompensated care and disparities in access.
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
  • The framework of laws and regulations governing public health and health care services, including constitutional rights and limitations, federal and state statutes, regulations, judicial opinions, and other public policy instruments. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law

B. Analysis Domain: Graduates of the program will have skills in policy analysis, legal analysis, economic analysis, statistical analysis and population health assessment, and will be able to:

Policy Analysis:

  •  Locate, assess, appropriately use and synthesize information relevant to key issues in health policy, including evidence related to the legislative, regulatory and judicial processes, peer-reviewed literature, and the “gray literature” produced by think tanks, research organizations, and government agencies. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
PUBH 6014Practicum
  • Understand and critique the research design/methods of different types of applied policy analyses, including program evaluations, cost benefit/cost effectiveness studies, and forecasting/simulation models. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
  • Apply the core elements of a sophisticated policy options analysis to key issues in health care and public health. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
  • Design and implement process, impact and economic assessments of health programs and policies that have been implemented. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance

​​Legal Analysis:

  • Apply the basic legal rights and responsibilities of relevant stakeholders in the health care and public health systems. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
  • Comparatively analyze, interpret, and apply legislation and administrative regulations, judicial rulings, and relevant constitutional law to legal questions pertaining to the health care and public health systems.
Related courses:
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law

Economic Analysis:

  •  Assess key microeconomic concepts, including supply and demand, markets, taxes and subsidies, public goods and the case for government intervention. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
  • Apply microeconomic tools in analyses of health care markets, government intervention in markets, the functioning of private/public insurance, and the forecasting of health care utilization and workforce needs. 
Related course:
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
  • Apply models of profit-maximization to health care firms such as hospitals and nursing homes, and appropriate adjustments for the non-profit sector. 
Related course:
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
  • Measure competition and evaluate its consequences in health care delivery, pharmaceutical development, and other markets. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance

​​Statistical Analysis:

  • Access data sets relevant to health policy, including public use data sets. 
Related course:
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
  • Analyze, interpret and present multivariate statistics, such as regression or logic models. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
  • Run basic statistical analyses using a standard statistical software package. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy

Population Health Assessment:

  •  Identify key sources of population health data. 
Related course:
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
  • Describe a public health problem in terms of magnitude, person, time and place.
Related courses:
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
  • Draw appropriate inferences from epidemiologic data. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
  • Calculate basic epidemiology measures. 
Related course:
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis

C. Leadership Domain:  Graduates of the program will be able to:

  • Think creatively to develop and implement innovative policies that effect change and to identify strategies to successfully implement policies. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
  • Work collaboratively with decision-makers, stakeholders, and colleagues with a variety of viewpoints to achieve policy goals. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
  • Manage time, resources, and people strategically and effectively to develop and implement policies; demonstrate negotiation and conflict management skills. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
  • Motivate and influence others to reach their highest level of effectiveness in the policymaking and implementation process. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
  • Adhere to professional ethics while promoting a high standard of personal integrity, compassion, and respect for others. Demonstrate transparency, integrity, and honesty in all actions. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
  • Persuade others to support a point of view, position, or recommendation through advocacy. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience

D. Communication Domain:  Graduates of the program will be able to:

  • Speak and write clearly and effectively, adapting communication styles and content so they are appropriate to the needs of the intended audience. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
  • Convey information and opinions in a structured and credible way. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience
  • Encourage others to share their views, and take time to understand and consider these views. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6242ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
  • Ensure that messages have been heard and understood. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law
  • Keep others informed of key and relevant issues. 
Related courses:
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6335Public Health and Law

The following requirements must be fulfilled: 45 credits, including 12 credits in core courses, 19-20 credits in program-specific courses, 9-10 credits in elective courses, a 2-credit practicum, and a 2-credit culminating experience.

Program Requirements

Required core courses (12 credits):
PUBH 6001Biological Concepts in Public Health
PUBH 6002Biostatistical Applications for Public Health
PUBH 6003Principles and Practices of Epidemiology
PUBH 6004Environmental and Occupational Health in a Sustainable World
PUBH 6007Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health
Required program-specific courses (19-20 credits):
PUBH 6305Fundamentals for Health Policy: Public Health and Health Care
PUBH 6310Statistical Analysis in Health Policy
PUBH 6315Intro-Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6325Federal Policymaking and Policy Advocacy
PUBH 6330Health Services and Law
or PUBH 6335 Public Health and Law
PUBH 6340Health Economics and Finance
Advanced health policy requirement
One of the following:
EMSE 6740Systems Thinking and Policy Modeling I
PPPA 6015Benefit-Cost Analysis
PPPA 6016Public and Nonprofit Program Evaluation
PUBH 6242
PUBH 6243
ClinicalEpid&Decision Analysis
and Topics:ClinicalEpi&DecAnalysis
PUBH 6247Design of Health Studies
PUBH 6249StatPackages/DataMgt&DataAnlys
PUBH 6320Advanced Health Policy Analysis
PUBH 6345Health Policy Research Design
PUBH 6501Program Evaluation
Health Services Management Requirement Selectives
Choose one course from list below:
HSML 6204Quality&PerformanceImprovement
HSML 6209Health Services Finance
HSML 6216HumanResourcesMgt&OrgBehavior
HSML 6231Management-Acute Care Hospital
HSML 6238Ambulatory Care Management
HSML 6246Service Line & Project Mgt
HSML 6247Consulting in Health Care
Elective courses (9-10 credits):
A personalized combination of elective courses
Practicum and culminating experience courses (4 credits):
PUBH 6014Practicum
PUBH 6015Culminating Experience

Graduation Requirements

  1. Graduate credit requirement: 45 graduate credits
  2. Course requirements: Successful completion of core and program-specific courses
  3. Grade point requirement: 3.0 (B average) overall grade point average
  4. Time limit requirement: The degree must be completed within four years.
  5. Transfer credit policy: Up to 12 graduate credits that have not been applied to a previous graduate degree may be transferred to the Master of Public Health program. Up to 18 credits may be transferred to the Master of Public Health from the SPH graduate certificate. Credits must have been earned from an accredited institution in the last 3 years with a grade point of 3.0 or better.