Courses

Core Course Descriptions

HPR501: Economics of Health Care Delivery (Summer Year 1)

Mark V. Pauly, PhD, Bendheim Professor, Professor of Health Care Systems, of Insurance and Risk Management, and of Business and Public Policy, The Wharton School
Examines how medical care is produced and financed in private and public sectors, economic models of consumer and producer behavior, and applications of economic theory to health care

HPR 600: Introduction to Health Policy and Health Services Research (Summer Year 1)

Zachary Meisel, MD, MPH, MS, MSHP, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
Raina Merchant, MD, MSHP, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine; Associate Director, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program; Associate Director, National Clinician Scholars Program, Perelman School of Medicine
This course will provide students with an introduction to health services and health policy research. First, faculty representing various departments and schools at the University of Pennsylvania will introduce students to a number of "hot topics," including health disparities, medical decision making, neighborhoods and health, quality of care, access to care, behavioralincentives, and cost effectiveness research. Second, the course will offer an introduction to various career paths in the research and policy domains. Third, the course will provide a brief overview of practical issues such as grant opportunities, data options, publishing, and dissemination.

HPR 603: Health Services and Policy Research Methods I (Fall Year 1)

Marilyn Schapira, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
Judy Shea, PhD, Professor of Medicine; Co-Director, Masters of Science in Health Policy Research, Perelman School of Medicine

This course will introduce students to commonly used primary data collection methods and provide multiple examples of how they have been used in health services research. Through the course students will define a primary data collection research project and develop the methods necessary to conduct the project. To get the full benefit of this course, students should use this course to develop the methods they plan to employ in their primary data collection project.

HPR 604: Introduction to Statistics for Health Policy (Fall Year 1)

Andrew Spieker, PhD, Postdoctoral Student, Department of Biostatistics Perelman School of Medicine
This is the first semester of a two-semester sequence in biostatistics. It is an introductory statistics course covering descriptive statistics and data presentation, probability, random variables and their distributions, sampling, estimation, confidence intervals, and hypothesis testing. We focus on normally distributed and binary data. Students will learn how to recognize different sources and structures of data, formulate hypotheses, choose an appropriate approach to estimation and testing, and interpret the results.

HPR 606: Fundamentals of Health Policy (Fall Year 2)

David Grande, MD, MPA, Assistant Professor of Medicine; Associate Director, Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholars Program, Perelman School of Medicine
While academic researchers often think of health policy in terms of research evidence and outcomes, politics and political processes also play important roles. The purpose of this course is to provide those pursuing careers in health services research and health policy with an understanding of the political context from which U.S. health policy emerges. This understanding is important for researchers who hope to ask and answer questions relevant to health policy and position their findings for policy translation. This understanding is important as well to policy leaders seeking to use evidence to create change. The class provides an overview of the U.S. health care system and then moves on to more comprehensive understanding of politics and government, including the economics of the public sector, the nature of persuasion, and techniques and formats for communication. The course emphasizes reading, discussion and applied policy analysis skills in both written and oral forms. Concepts will be reinforced with case studies, written assignments and a final policy simulation exercise where students will be placed in the position of political advisors and policy researchers.

HPR 607: Health Services and Policy Research Methods (Spring Year 1)

Rachel Werner, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine; Co-Director, Masters of Science in Health Policy Research, Perelman School of Medicine
Empirical research for health care policy frequently involves the analysis of observational data-information that is not primarily collected for research purposes. With the rapid increase in U.S. health information technology capacity, future opportunities for research using these "secondary data" appear promising. The objective of this course is to teach the skills necessary to conduct quality health policy research using secondary data. These skills include formulating research aims and applying appropriate study designs for achieving these aims. The course will also include a survey of the content and structure of several commonly used administrative and public databases available to researchers and workshops to develop the skills to access and manipulate these valuable resources.

HPR 608: Applied Regression Analysis for Health Policy Research (Spring Year 1)

Nandita Mitra, PhD, Professor of Biostatistics, Perelman School of Medicine
The course deals with the work horse of quantitative research in health policy research-the single outcome, multiple predictor regression model. In this course, students will learn how to 1) select an appropriate regression model for a given set of research questions/hypotheses, 2) assess how adequately a given model fits a particular set of observed data, and 3) how to correctlyinterpret the results from the model fitting procedure. After a brief review of fundamental concepts, students will spend five weeks covering the major topics in this course using the example of ordinary least squares (OLS) regression. In the second half of this course, students will extend what they have learned to cover more complicated data situations.

Elective Courses

Three credit units of electives are available to supplement the core curriculum to provide instruction in quantitative and qualitative methods. Electives can be taken from within the program or in schools across the university.

HPR 503: Qualitative Methods Research

Frances K. Barg, PhD, MEd, Associate Professor, Perelman School of Medicine
Judy Shea, PhD, Professor of Medicine; Co-Director, Masters of Science in Health Policy Research, Perelman School of Medicine
The purpose of this course is to expose students to a variety of qualitative approaches/methodologies that may be used in health services/policy research. In didactics we will discuss the pros and cons of a range of qualitative method how the method is actually implemented (with multiple experts presenting approaches), and pair the presentation with a broader discussion in which students compare and contrast health oriented articles in which the method was used. Students will compare and contrast health oriented articles in which the method was used. Students will have the opportunity to apply the theoretical approaches to their own research interests with direct input from the faculty and their peers.

HPR 504: Principles and Practice of Quality Improvement and Patient Safety

Jennifer S. Myers, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
Kathleen Burke, PhD, RN, Assistant Dean for Clinical Nurse Learning and Innovation, University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing

Healthcare delivery is complex and constantly changing. A primary mission of leading healthcare organizations is to advance the quality of patient care by striving to deliver care that is safe, effective, efficient, timely, cost effective, and patient-centered. The goal of this inter professional course is to provide students with a broad overview of the principles and tools of quality improvement and patient safety in health care. It will provide a foundation for students or practicing clinicians who are interested in quality improvement and patient safety research, administration, or clinical applications to get the full benefit of this course, students should use this course to identify the tools and design methods that they plan to employ in a real quality improvement or patient safety project in their area of interest.

HPR 550: Clinical Economics and Decision Making

Sankey Williams, MD, Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine
Henry Glick, PhD, Professor of Medicine, Perelman School of Medicine

This course focuses on the application of decision analysis and economic analysis of diagnostic tests using two by two tables, likelihood ratios, and ROC curves. The course continues with the introduction of more general tools for decision analysis, including decision trees and other mathematical models. A major focus of the course is the application of economic principles to the evaluation of health outcomes. During seminars, students will carry out practical exercises that include problem solving, critically analyzing published articles, and learning to use computer software that facilitates decision and economic analyses.

HPR 580: Outcomes Research

Jeffrey Silber, MD, PhD, Professor of Health Care Management; Director, Center for Outcomes Research, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
This course is divided into two main parts. The first part addresses issues related to the measurement of quality in healthcare. Included is a review of the classical-structure-process-outcome quality paradigm. The paradigm's strengths and limitations are addressed. This part especially focuses on outcome measures of quality and examines the validity of alternative measures. The second part deals with observational, or quasi-experimental, research studies. It addresses the advantages and limitations of alternative designs, and covers the role of clinical risk adjustment in observational studies of medical interventions. It focuses on the problem of selection bias, and reviews recent methods for dealing with this bias, such as instrumental variables.

HPR 620: Community Engagement: Collaboration, Research and Action

Charmaine Smith Wright, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania
Community engagement is essential for interventional efforts, project development, as well as asking and answering health questions in a variety of settings. As in the use of any tool, community engagement requires both knowledge and skill. This class focuses on the use of community engagement to achieve community health goals through three integrated opportunities: collaboration/partnership, evidence-based principles, and organizational development.

HPR 602: Topics in Leadership for Health Policy

Anthony Rostain, MD, MS Professor of Psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine
Lucy Tuton, PhD,
 Adjunct Professor of Medicine; Director, Program Development in Community Health, Center for Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics
In this seminar series, students combine didactic sessions reviewing core leadership concepts and skills with reflective discussions on experiences in leadership through their training and community relationships.
Prerequisite: Participation in the National Clinician Scholars Program

HPR 605: Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Health

Joanne Wood, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
In this seminar series, students select topics for in-depth discussion with visiting speakers from a wide range of disciplines. The discussions are led by core Clinical Scholar Program faculty. Each topic involves 5 to 6 sessions with the initial session focusing on critical appraisal of relevant literature.
Prerequisite: Participation in the National Clinician Scholars Program

HPR 610: Achieving Evidence-Based Health Policy

Marsha Gerdes, PhD, Co-Director, Neonatal Follow-Up Program, The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia
Examines how research can influence health policy. Individual sessions will be devoted to topics such as the Nurse-Family Partnership program, health insurance, tobacco use, and early childhood mental health. Sessions will examine: how selection of research methods may influence results; the dialectical relationship between research and policy; and the role of various stakeholders (the media, foundations, government, advocates) in both research and policy debates. Didactic topical research presentations will be followed by interactive discussions examining how research findings translate (or, as the case may be, do not translate) into policy. Guest speakers will include research and policy experts from the public and private sectors. Enrollment is limited to 12.

HPR 611: Implementation Science in Health and Health Care

Meghan Lane-Fall, MD, MSHP, Assistant Professor, Perelman School of Medicine
Rinad Beidas, PhD, Assistant Professor, Perelman School of Medicine

This course presents a survey of the field of implementation science in health. The structure of the course will include two parts. In the first part, we will introduce the field of implementation science, with an emphasis on theory, design and measurement. In the second part, we will focus on applied implementation science which will include examples of research programs in implementation science as well as applying insights of implementation science to practical implementation.  An emphasis on qualitative and mixed methods approaches is included.

HPR 650: Systems Thinking in Patient Safety

Kathleen Burke, PhD, Assistant Dean for Clinical Nurse Learning and Innovation
Susan Keim, MSN, MS, CRNP, Advanced Senior Lecturer
Catherine Wildenberg, MSN, RN, Lecturer

This blended online/in-classroom graduate level course integrates principles of systems thinking with foundational concepts in patient safety. Utilizing complexity theories, students assess healthcare practices and identify factors that contribute to medical errors and impact patient safety. Using a clinical microsystem framework, learners assess a potential patient safety issue and create preventive systems. Lessons learned from the science of safety are utilized in developing strategies to enhance safe system redesign. Core competencies for all healthcare professionals are emphasized, content is applicable for all healthcare providers including, but not limited to, nurses, pharmacists, physicians, social workers and healthcare administrators, and may be taken as an elective by non-majors.