Teaching and Learning

The Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs is based in the Department of Health, Behavior and Society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. We are the largest center of its kind associated with a prestigious academic institution. This connection allows for collaborations of all sorts from research to practice to evaluation. 

One especially exciting component of CCP’s work is teaching and learning. Many of CCP’s senior staff members, along with their other responsibilities in public health work globally and domestically, also teach students at the Bloomberg School about health communication, entertainment education for behavior change, human-centered design, improving health systems, and more.

Below are some of the courses they teach. 

Please visit the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health course directory for more information about when specific courses are offered as well as any other courses CCP staff teach.

bloomberg school of public health
Applying Human-Centered Design to Solve Real-World Public Health Challenges

Danielle Piccinini Black, MPH, MBA

Have you heard of Human-Centered Design (HCD) and/or design thinking and wondered how they can be used in Public Health? Well, this is the course for you! This course leverages lecture, discussion, case studies, and hands-on experience to teach the design thinking process. The course will equip students with the basic knowledge and skills necessary to begin identifying public health products, services, or systems that more effectively meet end-user needs and preferences.

Introduces design thinking, a transdisciplinary, human-centered, creative problem-solving approach, and its applications in public health. Focuses on engagement with a Baltimore-based organization to address a real design challenge based on a problem the organization is facing. Provides students with practice using the design thinking process to identify a product, service, or system that more effectively meets end-user needs and preferences. Includes empathetic research methods to uncover insights about the challenge and end-users’ experiences, working with stakeholders to generate a range of potential solutions, prototyping, and testing promising solutions, and identifying key considerations for implementation and scale-up. Discusses real-world case studies with HCD practitioners from the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs (CCP).

Decoloniality and Global Health Communication

Carol Underwood, PhD

Global communication influences public health policies, informs health interventions, and affects health outcomes around the world, yet the lasting effects of colonialism and abiding unequal power dynamics on health policies and outcomes are often overlooked and rarely explicitly addressed in health communication interventions implemented in low- and middle-income countries. In this course we question our assumptions, analyze communication interventions, and explore ways in which we can contribute to global health endeavors that can enhance health equity and contribute to both social justice and improved health outcomes.

Applies insights from anti-colonialist texts to the field of global health communication. Critically examines the intersection of theories of economic development, social change, and communication as applied to public health. Introduces the complex and dynamic role of global communication in the social determinants of health. Interrogates “development” discourses as applied to health communication in middle- and low-resource areas countries. Presents evaluations of communication interventions in low- and middle-resource nation-states. Investigates health communication endeavors abroad as well as in low-resource settings in the U.S.

Entertainment Education for Behavior Change

Caroline Jacoby, MPH

Examines and teaches ways in which education can be subtly but effectively worked into both new and time-honored genres of entertainment in order to foster positive behavior change and life improvement in both developing countries and local environments. Develops students’ ability to understand the ingredients of successful entertainment: emotions, empathy, efficacy and empowerment, and how these can be employed to enhance social and personal health and life skills. Examines methodology and develops skills needed to create a successful Entertainment-Education (EE) project in entertainment (story, drama, etc.) formats with effective behavior change messages.

Health Communication Programs I: Planning and Strategic Design

Radha Rajan, DrPH and Carmen Cronin, PhD

This course is designed for learners who want to apply cutting edge theory and research methods to the design, implementation, and evaluation of population-based communication programs aimed at changing health behaviors and improving health outcomes.

Focuses on the design, implementation, evaluation, and critique of communication programs designed to influence health behavior and improve public health (two-quarter course). Emphasizes the step-by-step process of (1) formative research and situation analysis (including use of conceptual frameworks, qualitative and quantitative audience research, and assessment of the media, policy and services environment), (2) theory-based and evidence-based strategic design, (3) message development, pretesting, and materials production, (4) program implementation and monitoring, and (5) theory-based program evaluation, utilization and dissemination of findings.

Health Communication Programs II: Implementation and Evaluation

Radha Rajan, DrPH and Carmen Cronin, PhD

Focuses on the design, implementation, evaluation, and critique of communication interventions and campaigns designed to change behavior. Emphasizes background analysis (including situation and program analysis; policy, media, and service review; and audience analysis); strategic program design; message development; pretesting; materials production; developing and implementing a research-based distribution plan; monitoring; evaluation; and interpersonal communication and use of mass media, including “entertainment education” projects, as an integral part of health communication interventions. Involves lectures, readings, and computer exercises.

Health Communication Programs

Uttara Bharath Kumar, MHS and Tilly Gurman, DrPH

We know that multiple factors, including individual behavior, community social norms, and institutional structures can greatly affect public health outcomes. How can we develop health communication programs that enable people to adopt and sustain healthy behaviors? How do we know we are addressing the right behavior? How can we be creative and still focus our messaging on evidence of what is most likely to drive behavior? How can we meaningfully engage the intended audience in the design and implementation of health communication programs? How do we monitor and evaluate health communication programs to see if they achieved success?

Presents a multi-step strategic approach, called the P-Process, for designing, implementing, evaluating, and critiquing health communication programs. Explores the P-Process and walks students through each step, from the formative research stage to and discussion of monitoring and evaluation indicators to design pretest and implementation. Provides the opportunity to design a health communication program for a behavioral or normative public health challenge. Recognizes communication as a science and an art and emphasizes that importance when developing communication interventions that address health behaviors.

Knowledge Management for Effective Global Health Programs

Tara Sullivan, PhD and Sara Mazursky, MPH

Managing and maximizing knowledge and continuous learning in global health programs is a development imperative. Global health programs operate with scarce resources, high stakes, and urgent needs for coordination among partners and donors. Knowledge management (KM) provides solutions to these challenges.

Introduces participants to knowledge management (KM), behavioral science, and adaptive management principles, processes, and tools, and their applicability to the design and implementation of global health efforts. Demonstrates, through real-life examples, how KM, behavioral science, and adaptive management principles can be applied to strengthen public health systems and maximize available knowledge to reach public health objectives. Emphasizes the importance of culture and equity as drivers for program success.

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Strategic Leadership Principles and Tools for Health System Transformation in Developing Countries

Arzum Ciloglu, DrPH and Elizabeth Serlemitsos, MPH, MBA

Introduces students to the principles of strategic leadership, placing these in the context of facilitating health systems change. Covers the following topics based on Peter Senge’s The Fifth Discipline: mental models and the household production of health, systems thinking and strategic leverage, personal mastery and commitment to change, action-learning principles and practice, shared vision and creative tension, the theory of constraints and root cause analysis, strategy design and key moves, implementation with accountability, and linking data to action. Develops leadership skills via interactive group exercises and class presentations.