Course Schedule, Descriptions and Concentrations

In their first two years, students in the Duke Ph.D. in Population Health Sciences program take classes in population health, statistical methods and programming, research methods and more. In the remaining years, students focus their efforts on their dissertation.

Year 1

Fall: 10 credits (14 with RCR training)

Spring: 7 credits (11 with RCR training)

ORIENTATION

(before classes)

SAS Programming Primer (2 full days)  
  PHS 900: Principles of Health Measurement (3 credits) PHS 901: Population Health Science Theories (3 credits)
  PHS 910: Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods (3 credits) PHS 912: Population Health Sciences Professional Development II (1 credit)
 

PHS 911: Population Health Sciences Professional Development (1 credit)

PHS 921: Analytic Methods II: Causal Inference (3 credits)

 

PHS 920: Analytic Methods I: Study Design, Data, and Descriptive Analysis (3 credits)  
  BIOTRAIN 750: Introduction to RCR Concepts (1-day event during orientation prior to classes) (4 RCR credits) BIOTRAIN 751: The Responsible Scientist I (4 RCR credits)

Year 2

Fall: 7 credits (9 if RCR training is taken this semester)

Spring: 4 credits (6 if RCR training is taken this semester)

  PHS 913: Population Health Sciences Teaching Seminar (1 credit)  PHS 914: Population Health Sciences Grant/Proposal Development (1 credit)
  PHS 922: Analytic Methods for Population Health Sciences III: Advanced Regression Methods (3 credits) Elective (3 credits)
  Concentration-specified elective (3 credits) Comprehensive Exams
*BIOTRAIN 753 can be completed during either year 2 or year 3* BIOTRAIN 753: Data Management and Quality for Biomedical PhD Students (self-paced, online) (2 RCR credits)

Year 3

Fall: 3 credits

Spring: 3 credits

  Dissertation (3 credits)  Dissertation (3 credits)

Year 4

Fall: 3 credits

Spring: 3 credits (7 if RCR training is taken this semester

  Dissertation (3 credits)  Dissertation (3 credits) 
    BIOTRAIN 754: The Responsible Scientist II (4 RCR credits)

Year 5 (if applicable)

Fall: 3 credits

Spring: 3 credits

  Dissertation (3 credits) Dissertation (3 credits)
  2 RCR elective forums (2 RCR credit hours each)

Core Course Descriptions

Please note: Course instructors and descriptions are subject to change. 

Year One

Fall Core Courses

POPHS 900 Principles of Health Measurement 
Instructors: Theresa Coles & Christy Zigler
3 hours

This course covers the development and inital evaluation of clinical outcomes assessments (COAs). We will begin by reviewing attributes of a quality COA and classical test theory and discuss modern validity theory. The primary focus of the course will be qualitative methods for COA development including concept elicitation, item generation/writing, cognitive testing, and coding. The course will also cover the COA development process from COA-specific literature reviews to determine if a new COA (or modifications) are needed to measure key concepts. 

POPHS 910: Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods
Instructor: Amy Corneli
3 hours

This course will prepare learners for serving as an investigator of qualitative research studies. Learners will gain competency in 1) designing qualitative research studies, with an emphasis on selecting appropriate methods and analytical approaches and developing question guides; 2) providing oversight during data collection and analysis; 3) writing up study findings for peer-reviewed publications. Learners will gain competency in 1) designing rigorous qualitative studies for grant applications, 2) developing qualitative research study protocols, 3) identifying study domains and writing experiential question guides, 4) overseeing data collection and data management, 5) providing technical guidance during data analysis planning and implementation, 6) writing up study findings after analysis, and 7) preparing peer-reviewed manuscripts. 

POPHS 911: Population Health Sciences Professional Development I
Instructor: Megan Shepherd-Banigan
1 hour

The seminar will engage presenters from the Duke School of Medicine and University to address resources and professional development activities; leading multidisciplinary research teams, best practices for presenting and publishing research, career opportunities including building an academic CV and preparing for a career in population health.


POPHS 920: Analytic Methods I: Design, Data, and Descriptive Statistics 
Instructor: Emily O'Brien
3 hours

 

This course will address designing observational and interventional studies with an attention to defining, identifying, and describing cohorts using a variety of data sources. This course will address forms of bias, right-censoring of data, and describing risks. Special emphasis will be placed on data originating from real world settings, such as an electronic health record and claim data.

Spring Core Courses

POPHS 901: Population Health Science Theories & Evidence-Based Approaches
Instructor: Jennifer Gierisch
3 hours

This class will describe and discuss the theories and application of theories to address population health problems. This will include theories from multiple disciplines including health behavior and education, medicine, implementation, and related fields. Emphasis on research related to social determinants of health and strategies and techniques used by health professionals to improve the health of populations. 

POPHS 912: Population Health Sciences Professional Development II
Instructor: Megan Shepherd-Banigan
1 hour

Following POPHS 911, this seminar will engage presenters from the Duke School of Medicine and University to address resources and professional development activities; leading multidisciplinary research teams, best practices for presenting and publishing research, career opportunities including building an academic CV and preparing for a career in population health. 

POPHS 921: Analytic Methods II: Causal Inference 
Instructor: Alan Brookhart
3 hours

This course will consider drawing interference about causal effects in a variety of settings using the potential outcomes framework. Topics covered include casual interference in randomized experiments and observational studies, bounds and sensitivity analysis, propensity scores, graphical models, survival analysis, handling missing data, and other areas.

Ph.D. Concentrations

Heath Measurement

The concentration in Health Measurement provides PhD students with opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills to develop, evaluate, and apply health measures in clinical research and healthcare delivery settings, and to conduct stated-preference research. Building on two core courses in the DPHS PhD program (PHS 901: Principles of Health Measurement; PHS 905: Fundamentals of Qualitative Methods), all students in the Health Measurement concentration will take 3 additional semester-long courses providing specialized training in:

Rigorous development methods for health measures Cognitive interviewing and pretesting of health measures Psychometric methods such as item response theory, factor analysis, and classical test theory for evaluating Patient-reported outcomes (PROs), Clinician-reported outcomes (ClinROs), Observer-reported outcomes (ObsROs), or Performance outcome measures (PerfOs) Latent variable modeling Best practices for implementing health measures in clinical research and practice settings Stated-preference methods and research Development, collection, and analysis of health outcomes at the individual or group levels, including outcomes evaluating success in clinical trials, clinical practice, quality improvement, or implementation science contexts.

Faculty Advisors for the Health Measurement Concentration

  • Theresa Coles
  • Juan Marcos Gonzalez
  • Heather King
  • Reed Johnson
  • Wei Pan
  • Shelby Reed
  • Bryce Reeve
  • Kevin Weinfurt
  • Christy Zigler

Health Services Research

Health Services Research is a multi-disciplinary study of the organization, delivery, and financing of health care and social determinants of health, and how these aspects of the health care system (care models, health policies, health technology) affect outcomes of care – including issues of quality, equity, access to care and cost. Increasingly, HSR is also focused on improving the translation of clinical knowledge into practice.

The concentration in Health Services Research provides PhD students the knowledge and skills needed to evaluate the effect of health care structures, processes or policies on patient, provider and organizational outcomes using quasi-experimental or experimental methods.

Building on one core course in the DPHS PhD program (PHS 902: Population Health Science Theories), all students in the Health Services Research concentration will take 3 additional semester-long courses providing specialized training in any of the following diverse content areas:

Statistical (quantitative + qualitative) methods for randomized and non-randomized studies Implementation science and/or organizational behavior Health policy formulation, dissemination and refinement Health economics (cost-effectiveness analysis, budget impact analysis)

Faculty Advisors for the Health Services Research Concentration

  • Alan Brookhart
  • Devon Check
  • Lesley Curtis
  • Jennifer Gierisch
  • Brad Hammill
  • Anna Hung
  • George Jackson
  • Brystana Kaufman
  • Heather King
  • Matt Maciejewski
  • Emily O’Brien
  • Sudha Raman
  • Gillian Sanders
  • Megan Shepherd-Banigan
  • Asheley Skinner
  • Valerie Smith
  • Nina Sperber
  • Shenglan Tang
  • Courtney Van Houtven
  • Virginia Wang
  • Leah Zullig