GHS 205 - Global Health Policy—Transforming Evidence Into Action

How do you use your public health training and research findings to impact the real world? One of the best ways to impact the health of whole populations—in sustainable ways—is through policy change, which can occur at the local, state, regional, nation-state and global levels. GHS 205 is both an analytics- and skills-based course designed to build students’ capacity to analyze the potential for policy change in any global health context, and then train them in specific skills that will empower them to strategically bring about meaningful changes within those contexts.


At the end of the course students will be able to:

  • Develop a basic conversance in the core concepts of policymaking, such as power versus authority, collective action, framing and policy windows.
  • Apply a basic analytical framework to understand the context of any global health problem and use it to map the policy context for your capstone project.
  • Apply more detailed methods of policy analysis (e.g. stakeholder analysis) to identify key policy actors, their interests, their ability to create change, and their positions, equipping you to pursue policy change.
  • Understand stakeholders across the state, private sector, and civil society, and develop tools for bringing them together to achieve collective impacts.
  • Develop practical skills for promoting policy change—such as evidence-to-policy, knowledge transfer and exchange, stakeholder engagement, and media advocacy.
  • Understand the importance and challenges policy implementation, and learn skills for rigging policies for implementation success through “bottom-up” coalition building.
  • Synthesize a basic understanding of the policy process with a toolkit of skills for effectively tackling global health policy challenges in the real world.

Course content

The course provides a real-world, practical understanding of health policy and policy change, based on a solid academic foundation. It also introduces students to current debates about health policy and equips them with practical tools for assessing policy-change potential and enacting it.

Course Director

Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH

Teaching format

Lectures, seminars, independent study, student presentations, essays, quizzes, final written examination

Course credit

3 units