221.650.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 3rd Term | 3 Credit(s)
MW 9:00:00 AM
  • Contact Information
    Sara Bennett
  • Course Learning Objectives

    Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

    • 1. Apply the key features of various frameworks and models for understanding the political economy of health policy.
    • 2. Identify, describe and analyze common processes and actors involved in health policy development with a particular focus on low and middle income countries
    • 3. Appreciate the need for national policy leadership in the health sector, and when working in low and middle income countries, act in ways that respect national processes
    • 4. Help develop and implement strategies to promote successful policy development and implementation for a range of different policy issues
    • 5. Write a policy communication such as a policy brief or policy blog.
  • Course Description

    Provides an overview of key political frameworks and theories related to policy development and offers practical perspectives on their application to health policy in low and middle income countries.  Analyzes the political economy of health policy, that is how the political environment, country institutions, and economic and planning systems come together to influence the process of health policy development. Introduces the main actors, processes and contextual features that are typical of policy development and implementation in low and middle income countries, and actors and processes at the global level that influence LMIC policy. Topics covered encompass national policy and planning frameworks; relationships with aid donors and issues of aid harmonization and alignment; the role of policy networks and in particular civil society actors; policy implementers and their role in shaping policy development; and mechanisms for global health governance.  Final sessions focus on practical strategies to strengthen policy development processes including use of evidence and creating alliances.  Teaching will draw upon examples from a range of diseases and services (eg. HIV/AIDS; insecticide treated nets, family planning) as well as health systems issues (such as health financing). The course is designed to be accessible and relevant to students with varied primary interests, it builds upon and complements the course “Health Systems in Low and Middle Income Countries”. Theories will be introduced briefly at the beginning of the course and then elaborated through application to specific topics. 

  • Intended Audience
    International Health masters and PhD students, HPM masters and PhD students, specifically those with international interests.
  • Methods of Assessment

    1. WEEKLY REFLECTION Each week students are required to write a one paragraph reflection on each of the required readings for the class (or occasionally on the recorded lecture). This one paragraph should (i) summarize in the student’s own words the major points made in the reading  (1-3 sentences) (ii) reflect on how the reading has affected the way the students thinks about health policy, or how it might change their behavior in the future (1-2 sentences) (iii) identify 1-2  outstanding or follow-on questions that the student has after completing the reading.

    DUE: Sunday 6pm in advance of class (10%)

    2. ASSIGNMENT 1 - ELEVATOR SPEECH - In-class assignment (15%)

    During week 5 students will work in small groups to develop an elevator speech that seeks to persuade  a stakeholder of the need for policy reform in their chosen area. Each group will receive a group grade for the preparatory work conducted and final elevator speech delivered.

    3. ASSIGNMENT 2 - Policy analysis essay (30%)

    See detailed description of Assignment 2 in general folder of courseplus

    Assignment 2 is due - end of sixth week of term (midnight, Saturday 1st March 2014)

    4. ASSIGNMENT 3 - Policy brief (30%)

    See detailed description of Assignment 3 in general folder of courseplus

    Assignment 3 is due - end of eighth week of term (midnight Saturday 15th March 2014)


    attendence 5%, discussion participation 5% (as assessed by instructors), peer evaluation in final case study of Community Case Management  5% 

  • Prerequisites
    220.601 Intro to International Health
  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Files from the Online Library
  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Welcome Message

    Please see attachment for a detailed description of the course curriculum.

  • Attendance Policy

    Marks will be deducted from the class participation grade for all unexcused absences.

    If a student know that they will be absent then they should excuse themselves in advance. Students who have an excused absence will be requested to complete written work instead. If students miss a lecture, then they will review the lecture materials and provide a summary and reflection of the lecture materials. If students miss group work then they will review the materials and provide a write up of the tasks covered in the group work. This should be submitted by the end of the week in which the absence takes place.

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at