Social and Behavioral Theory Applications in Public Health – HLTH 509

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 07/28/2020

Course Description

The course is a study of the behavioral, social and cultural factors related to population health disparities. The student will learn that research in this area contributes to the development and evaluation of public health policies, programs and services that promote and sustain health populations.




This course is one of six required courses taken by all students in the Master of Public Health program. It provides a comprehensive review of the social and behavioral influences on human health and the theoretical foundation that undergirds the practice of public health.

Measurable Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Identify social, cultural, and behavioral factors that influence health disparities and impact population health.
  2. Identify basic theories and conceptual models from the social and behavioral disciplines useful in public health research and practice.
  3. Identify individual, organizational, and community concerns, assets, resources, and deficits for social and behavioral science interventions.
  4. Enlist critical stakeholders in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of public health programs, policies, and interventions.
  5. Describe steps and procedures for planning, implementing, and evaluating public health programs and policies.
  6. Apply evidence-based approaches in the development and evaluation of social and behavioral interventions to address health disparities.
  7. Apply ethical principles to public health program planning, implementation, and evaluation.
  8. Examine health behavior from the perspective of God’s purposes for humanity in creation, fall, and redemption.

Course Assignment

Textbook readings, journal articles, and lecture presentations

Course Requirements Checklist

After reading the Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in Module/Week 1.

Discussion Board Forums (7)

The student will complete 7 Discussion Board Forums based on the assigned articles in each module/week. Each discussion will consist of a thread and a minimum of 2 replies to 2 other students’ threads. The student's post should contain 400–500 words and adhere to AMA writing style guidelines. Each reply should contain 200–250 words and also adhere to AMA writing style guidelines.

Learning Activities (8)

Each of the Learning Activities is designed to help the student build skills in the process of population-based program planning and evaluation. While each activity is separate in itself, together they comprise a larger picture that culminates in a small field experience project by Module/Week 8.

Exams (4)

Each Exam will be based on the textbook readings, and is open-book/open-notes. The student will have 2 hours to choose the correct answers to 50 questions.

Interprofessional Experience Group Discussion Boards and Public Problem Wiki

Over the span of the course, the student will have 5 group discussion board assignments within his or her assigned group. The student should use each discussion board to discuss the topic presented in the instructions for each forum. At the end of the week that each forum is due, one student will take on the responsibility of compiling and summarizing the discussion from the forum and then will enter that into the wiki that has the same name and group number as the student's group. In the Wiki, the student should have 5 sections, each representing 1 of the Group Discussion Forums.