Population Health Management

population health management

Combine policy, business and science to manage human and fiscal resources

Career opportunities: Legislative policy advisor, management policy advisor, hospital/managed care administrator, program planner and evaluator, health services research analyst, policy analyst, academic


The population health management concentration focuses on the structure and administration of public health organizations and the policies that impact health programs and reimbursement of health services. The concentration encompasses two of the major roles of leaders in public health. The roles of manager and policy developer are often, although not always, performed by the same individuals, and the skills required for these roles overlap a great deal. To manage an organization, skills in accounting, financial management, human resources, strategic and program planning, operations research, economics, and monitoring outcome measures are essential. Development, analysis, interpretation, and evaluation of government policies require analytic skills and social skills, as well as a deep understanding of politics.

Students interested in population health management come from a variety of backgrounds. Many of them have majored in business or finance in their undergraduate programs, although students from the social and basic sciences, as well as many other fields, often find their way to population health management. Another large group has health professional backgrounds. These individuals are either current students of a health profession or they have assumed administrative and/or leadership positions in public health, without the benefit of appropriate training in management and policy.

Career opportunities in public health administration and policy are widely available in health agencies at all levels — federal, state, and local. MPH graduates with a population health management concentration are also employed in research and policy institutes, foundations, professional organizations, and the healthcare industry. Faculty in the Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy teach courses and advise students in the public health management and policy concentration. The curriculum is designed to enable students to develop competence in very specific population health management skills.

If you are interested in the population health management concentration, please contact Katherine Pizarro-Gutierrez.

Population Health Management Curricula

Additional information on the curriculum, including plans of study, can be found in the MPH Student Handbook.

Population Health Management Core Courses

  • PHC 6104 Evidence-Based Management of Public Health Programs Campus Program  or Online Program
  • HSA 6436 Health Economics
  • HSA 7759 Public Health Quality & Outcomes
  • PHC 6716 Survey Research Methods
  • PHC 6103 Systems Thinking for Public Health

Internship/Applied Practice Experience

The purpose of the MPH internship/APE is twofold: (1) to provide a variety of opportunities in which the student can enrich mastery of the MPH competencies and (2) to advance understanding and capacity to apply the specific health management and policy competencies. Typically, population health management MPH students should seek an internship that will extend their post-graduate competitive profile in future education or in various government, private, and agency employment markets. In general, public health management and policy students conduct their internships in official public health agencies (e.g., local, state, and federal health departments), other agencies that offer public health services (e.g., neighborhood health centers, health planning agencies, community health units of hospitals), and policy analysis and evaluation institutes/centers.

Special Project/Capstone

Special projects that population health management students may select should focus on the following competencies expected of PHM concentration graduates. A special project or capstone project is likely to be further refined to a very specific aspect of the list below. For example, a student who is working on performance measurement may have a special project involving development and selection of performance measures. Students are expected to understand the larger public health context in which their specific projects are conducted.

Examples of special project or capstone project focuses:

  • Program/project planning
  • Grant writing
  • Strategic planning
  • Project management
  • Financial management
  • Problem solving/crisis management
  • Program evaluation/performance measurement
  • Policy development and analysis

Interested in the other concentrations offered in the MPH program? Explore other options on the Concentrations page.