Program Planning and Evaluation
MPH@GW’s Program Planning and Evaluation focus area is designed for individuals who want to become responsible and productive public health professionals. Students who choose this focus area are analytical, observant and strong communicators. They must be capable of assessing, implementing, managing and evaluating health promotion and education programs.
Professionals with a public health program planning degree strategize, document, review and assess reports and data related to health promotions, interventions and training. They relay this information to the public and communicate their findings to other health professionals.
What Is Program Planning and Evaluation?
Skilled public health professionals must evaluate the effects of public health actions, including but not limited to the spread of infectious disease, violence, chronic disease, pathogens and threats of bioterrorism. Public health program planning is rooted in social and behavioral approaches, and evaluation should be done scientifically, which requires students to eliminate any biases they have about the subject or information under evaluation. As a program planning and evaluation student, you will be trained to intervene at the individual, group, organizational and societal levels.
Fields of Interest
If you choose to focus on program planning and evaluation, you can expect to learn about and research a range of public health issues, including disease prevention, women’s reproductive health, domestic and child abuse, mental health awareness and more.
You will hone your skills in the following areas:
- Qualitative Research Methods — Explore the philosophy, goals and basic methods of qualitative research as applied in public health (i.e., behavioral research, program development and health policy).
- Social Marketing — Apply a range of marketing strategies in a real-world setting in order to change the behavior of people, populations and policy makers.
- Marketing Research — Improve program design, implementation and effectiveness by using marketing research techniques to better understand clients of public health programs.
— Hidemi Nagao DeHays, patient care coordinator at a private concierge clinic
Career Paths and Salaries
MPH@GW graduates have pursued careers as program evaluators and principal investigators for public health programs and organizations. Additional careers in public health planning include:
Graph illustrates the May 2015 median annual wages for occupations, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics . Salaries are included for grant writer ($61,240), training and development manager ($105,830), research analyst ($79,200), senior policy analyst ($93,000), health educator ($61,610) and health service manager ($94,500)
Employment of research analysts is expected to grow by 30 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average growth rate for all occupations. With advancements in technology, companies are constantly trying to adapt and find cost-effective solutions. Professionals with a background in program planning and evaluation, who also want to make a difference in public health by providing trustworthy data and resources, will be in high demand as this trend continues.
If you choose to pursue your public health program planning degree with MPH@GW, you will complete 9 to 11 credits 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 6099: Researching Violence Against Women and Girls
This course will provide a detailed overview of the intersection of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and public health, given the demonstrated and significant impact that violence has on the health of the survivor, her current and future children, and communities. Through readings, lectures and assignments, students will become acquainted with the set of rigorous methods and best practices for conducting applied research on VAWG. The course draws from Researching Violence Against Women: A Practical Guide for Researchers and Activists (Ellsberg & Heise, 2005), which was crafted by the collective experiences and insights of many international researchers and advocates. The class will build on methods learned in other public health courses and will cover ethics, qualitative and quantitative research design, and monitoring and evaluation interventions specific to VAWG, culminating in the development of a full research proposal. After completing the course, students will be able to conduct research that is fully grounded in the principles of scientific inquiry and generate knowledge that can be used for social change.
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 6571, Social Marketing
This course focuses on the use of marketing to change the behavior of people, populations, and policy makers in ways that are in their, and society’s, best interest. Students in this skills-based course will study and work in teams to apply a range of marketing strategies to a real-world situation.
PubH 6572, Marketing Research for Public Health
This course focuses on the use of marketing research techniques to better understand customers of public health programs, and thereby to improve program design, implementation, and effectiveness. A range of qualitative and quantitative techniques will be studied for their relevance to program planning, development, continuous improvement, and outcome evaluation.
In the commercial sector, the purpose of marketing research is to help managers and marketers know their (prospective or current) customers, so that they can develop products and services that will provide value to – and be valued by – their customers. In public health we must always keep in mind that, for the most part, public health programs are voluntary in nature. That is to say, our prospective customers are free to accept or reject the products or services that we offer them. Our success therefore typically hinges on our ability to design products and services that benefit populations and are valued by beneficiaries in our intended target audience. This course is intended to teach you how to use marketing research techniques to do just that.
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.