Systems and Policies to improve Health
2013/2014, Semester 1
Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health (Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health)
Modular Credits: 4
The aim of this course is to provide students with an introductory overview of health systems and their organization, and policy responses to public health challenges that arise within the context of these systems. During this course we will give special attention to the health system of Singapore and the challenges it faces, as well as the experience of other countries in the developed and developing world. The course will draw on faculty lectures, talks by field experts, assigned readings, online materials and in-class discussions of selected case studies. Literature from economics, political science, medical sociology, and ethics will be referenced throughout the course. Readiness to actively participate in class is expected, however, no disciplinary background is assumed, nor is any special familiarity with the field of health care required.
Final readings and class objectives may be adjusted or substituted based on the composition and preferences of the class, to be assessed in the first meeting.
Student Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Describe major public health issues in Singapore, other developed nations and the less-developed world, and the role of health systems and policy
2. Understand the major internationally-recognized theoretical frameworks used for describing health systems
3. Apply these systems-level frameworks to analyze the nature and performance of health systems, including Singapore
4. Understand the Bardach framework for policy analysis
5. Apply this framework to analyze specific health policies or policy proposals
Readings and Materials:
There is no required textbook for this class.
All articles will be uploaded to IVLE or weblinked.
Recommended textbooks for supplementary/further reading only. These include
A Practical Guide to Policy Analysis
(An engaging and practical primer on how to conduct effective policy analysis, but not a text on social science research methods)
Thomas Bodenheimer and Kevin Grumbach,
Understanding Health Policy
, McGraw Hill (An excellent and readable introduction to health policies but strongly focused on the US healthcare system)
No prerequisites are required.
The course will draw on faculty lectures, talks by field experts, assigned readings, online materials and selected case studies. The class will be conducted in one weekly 3 hour session, which will typically consist of 1 lecture and 1 classroom activity, either a tutorial-style discussion, group work session building on the lecture material, or an opportunity for the class to interact with invited speakers. Literature from economics, political science, medical sociology, and ethics will be referenced throughout the course. Readiness to actively participate in class is expected, however, no disciplinary background is assumed, nor is any special familiarity with the field of health care required.
Please note that webcast sessions are not available for this module.
13 Aug 2013
What is a health system and why do we care?
20 Aug 2013
Health System Building Blocks I:
Service Delivery and Financing at Home and Abroad
27 Aug 2013
Health System Building Blocks II:
The Healthcare Supply Chain and Workforce
3 Sep 2013
Building Blocks III:
The Role of Governance,Leadership and Stewardship
Dr Kelvin Bryan Tan, Director of Policy, Ministry of Health
10 Sep 2013
Building Better Systems
I: Information, Incentives and Technology
17 Sep 2013
Building Better Systems
II: Meeting New Challenges With Evidence-based Decisionmaking
1 October 2013
How To Do A Policy Analysis
8 Oct 2013
Policy Analysis I:
Outbreak! - Pandemics and National Preparedness
A/Prof Vernon Lee, SSHSPH / Head, Biodefence Center, Singapore Armed Forces, Singapore / Consultant, MOH
15 Oct 2013
Public Holiday - reading to be assigned
22 Oct 2013
Policy Analysis II
: Sex and the City - Condom Use Promotion and HIV/STI Prevention Among Sex Workers in Singapore and Cambodia
29 Oct 2013
Policy Analysis III:
Transforming the Aging Experience - Designing, Implementing and Evaluating The Next Generation Of Aging Programmes
Dr Treena Wu and guest, Tsao Foundation
5 Nov 2013
Policy Analysis IV:
Nudging Our Way To Better Health - Behavioral Economics Policy When Populations Are Predictably Irrational
12 Nov 2013
Group presentations and final wrap up/discussion session
Grading and Assignments
Assessment for this class will be 100% CA
Individual Participation 10%
Evaluation will be based on attendance and active discussion
2 in-class group assignments 20%
Students will participate in group activities in lectures on assignments which will be assessed. Information on the activities will be presented in class. More than 3 assignments will be given but the best 2 will be used.
1 class personal response 5%
Students will select weeks for the course in which they are required to write a short personal or research-based response to material presented in lectures on assignments or self-initiated research relevant to the weekly topic.
1 midterm assessment (MCQ) 25%
Students will take one in-class midterm closed-book multiple choice assessment based on material covered in lectures.
1 individual 2 page written policy analysis proposal 10%
Students will select a topic and prepare a 1-page fact sheet on the topic as well as outline a proposal for policy analysis on their topic of choice. Suggested topics will be circulated in class.
Group project 30%
Workload Components : A-B-C-D-E
A: no. of lecture hours per week
B: no. of tutorial hours per week
C: no. of lab hours per week
D: no. of hours for projects, assignments, fieldwork etc per week
E: no. of hours for preparatory work by a student per week