MPH@GW’s Health Policy focus area is designed for professionals who aspire to be influential leaders in the health care field, dedicated to improving health systems and public health by effectively communicating and implementing policies. With a health policy degree, you can impact and enhance public health from the highest levels of health care management and exploration.
In today’s ever-changing political sphere, health care continues to be a complex system in need of expert analytical professionals to create new policies for advancement. Individuals with a public health policy degree collaborate with other experts to oversee the marketing and implementation of policies and strategies that will improve health systems worldwide.
What Is Health Policy?
The study of health policy focuses on how to become an effective communicator and leader when collaborating with other professionals — inside and outside the field of public health — to create and apply health policies. Health policy professionals strategize, organize and implement health-enhancing initiatives through policy education and marketing.
With MPH@GW, you will learn from and work with our esteemed faculty in the nation’s capital to analyze research, create services and spread awareness of public health issues. In fact, GW faculty research has been influential as legislators, policymakers, health care providers, insurers and the government continue to work toward improving health care legislation in the United States.
— Melinda McLawhorn, Team Leader, FDA Office of Prescription Drug Promotion
Fields of Interest
If you graduate with a health policy degree, you may work for organizations or agencies that concentrate on the following areas:
- Children’s health policy
- Immunization laws and policy
- Women’s health policy
- Health equality policy
- International public policy
Our students who choose to study health policy typically aspire to:
- Conduct objective research that is translated into practice, policy and leadership
- Become a trusted resource for shaping and advancing health policy and health care management options
- Leverage GW’s prime location in Washington, D.C. — the nation’s hub for health policy — to collaborate with health systems, health care executives, public health practitioners and policy leaders
- Improve the health and well-being of vulnerable, underserved populations
Career Paths and Salaries
MPH@GW graduates have pursued the following health policy careers:
Graph illustrates the May 2016 median annual wages for occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Salaries are included for health insurance specialist ($61,960), research associate ($62,150), senior policy analyst ($93,000), senior policy manager ($99,730), and health services manager ($94,540).
– Stephanie Melquist, MD, MPH
Employment of health services managers is expected to grow 17 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is a faster growth rate than the average for all occupations. The rising need for health workers stems from an aging population, increasing efforts to reduce health care costs, a high demand for medical services and the movement to improve health outcomes by spreading awareness about healthy habits and behavior.
For additional information related to health policy, read these posts:
- Public Health Career Spotlight: Health Policy
- From the Legislature to the Field: “Return-to-Play Laws and Youth Concussions”
- #LiveAtUrban: Taking Stock of the Affordable Care Act
If you choose to pursue your master’s in health policy online with MPH@GW, you will complete 9 to 11 credit hours and select from the following courses:
PubH 6099: Monitoring and Evaluation of Sexual and Reproductive Health Programs in Low- and Middle-Income Countries
This course has been designed to give students a practical overview of key sexual and reproductive health challenges in low- and middle-income countries and insight into how to design and measure programs to address those challenges (namely family planning, abortion, maternal health and gender-based violence). We have developed the course from the perspective of applied researchers working within an organization that implements sexual and reproductive health programs and services. The course is structured in three sections. Section 1 provides an overview of sexual and reproductive health conditions relevant for low- and middle-income countries. Section 2 discusses intervention strategies appropriate to these sexual and reproductive challenges. The final section covers monitoring and evaluation approaches to assess program effectiveness and impact in this field. Reading and coursework will provide students with practical tools to design and measure their own program strategies. Students will complete a series of assignments building to a final project proposal designed to address a specific sexual and reproductive health problem in a county of their choosing. These assignments will make use of foundational skills developed in previous MPH@GW coursework identified in the course prerequisites.
PubH 6530, Qualitative Research Methods in Public Health
This course is intended to provide an introduction to qualitative data collection and analysis for public health practice and research. The course introduces the philosophy, goals, and basic methods of qualitative research as applied in public health (e.g., in behavioral research, health communications development, program development, program evaluation, and health policy). Through readings, lectures, and short field exercises, students will become acquainted with the set of methods most commonly used to collect and analyze qualitative data. Data collection techniques will include in-depth interviewing, mapping, participant observation, focus groups, and systematic methods of qualitative data collection. After completing the course students will be able to prepare an interview guide, conduct an in-depth interview, and analyze and write up the results from a qualitative project.
PubH 6335, Public Health and Law
Designed for students in the health professions and law, this course examines how law can both promote public health and conflict with the constitutionally protected rights of individuals. It introduces the legal concepts that underlie the public health system and inform public health policy making in the United States. Topics to be covered include the role of law in public health care and policy (e.g., governmental powers vs. civil liberties, regulation of public health); major areas of public health activity (e.g., health promotion, immunization, screening, and treatment); and the future of public health.
PubH 6399, Global Health Diplomacy
This course introduces students to the concept of Global Health Diplomacy, starting with historical case studies of how diplomacy has been used to advance health agendas, and conversely, how health issues have been used to improve diplomatic relations between countries. We introduce students to formal health diplomacy, multi-stakeholder health diplomacy and informal health diplomacy, and provide comparative studies of how different countries have devised health diplomacy strategies. This course will challenge students to read and interpret health related agreements, negotiate a position, and assess the policy context while trying to advance a health agenda.
PubH 6056: Leadership Seminar
This course provides students with the opportunity to learn leadership lessons from the careers of a diverse group of leaders who are successful executives and entrepreneurs from multiple sectors, including corporate, government, nonprofit and the arts. It will present the chance to discuss and reflect on leadership styles, provide exposure to leadership theory, assist in the development of effective networking skills, and prepare students for effectively engaging with their peers, personal network, potential employers and business partners. The Leadership Seminar deliberately provides a unique setting for students to consider themselves as leaders in their personal lives and their careers.
PubH 6368, Law, Medicine and Ethics
This course explores legal, ethical, and policy issues that arise in the biomedical arena. We address controversial and challenging questions concerning, inter alia, the definitions of life and death, the nature of personal identity, the requirements of justice, and the boundaries of liberty. We will draw on legal, medical, and ethical/philosophical literature in examining these issues. Prerequisite: PUBH 6335 or instructor permission.
Take the Next Step
If you are ready to advance your career in public health with an online MPH from GW, request more information today.