Community Oriented Primary Care - MPH

Program Contacts

Program Director

Freya Spielberg

Practicum Director

Karyn Pomerantz

 

Advisors & Advising Info

Mission

The Community Oriented Primary Care program at the Milken Institute School of Public Health offers Master of Public Health (MPH) and Graduate Certificate programs designed to train health professionals and public health practitioners to implement and evaluate evidence-based interventions to improve community health, clinical care outcomes, and patient experience, while lowering health care costs and decreasing  health disparities.

MPH - Community Oriented Primary Care Program Overview from GW PublicHealth on Vimeo.

What is COPC?

Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) provides the bridge between clinical medicine and public health, in which the community is the focal point in the delivery of health care. It provides a conceptual and methodological framework to rationalize, organize, and adapt available resources to the delivery of health services. The methods are essential to the organized delivery of health care in community based practices, organizations engaged in managed care, and responsive governmental health systems.

The basic concepts of COPC were initially implemented in South Africa during the early 1940's by Sidney and Emily Kark with the creation of community health centers. These centers promoted a reorientation of health services at the community level through a unique linkage between individual clinical care and public health. They served as a laboratory for teaching and training health professionals.

Since that time, COPC has been taught and practiced in a number of settings around the world. Significantly it has been an important element in the Community Health Center movement, the Indian Health Service, and a number of urban health departments in the United States as well as a variety of public health and primary care systems around the world. Developments in computer-based information management, mobile health, geographic information systems, and qualitative information gathering techniques have proved important assets to COPC practice.

The Community Oriented Primary Care (COPC) program trains future health care innovators in the methods of COPC which provide skills to conceptualize, implement, evaluate and disseminate interventions that bridge public health and clinical medicine.

 COPC begins by teaching practitioners methods to fully understand the needs of communities, health care providers, and policy makers.  Concurrently skills are developed to read and interpret literature to inform future intervention design. With this in-depth understanding, COPC practitioners learn to work with stakeholders to prioritize interventions that will have a high likelihood of improving health outcomes and patient experience while lowering health care costs and decreasing health disparities.  COPC practitioners learn to conduct in depth assessments which help to shape intervention design and serve as baseline data to evaluate intervention impact.  Intervention skills are acquired that include implementation of social marketing campaigns, advocacy campaigns, mobile health interventions, individual brief behavioral interventions, peer interventions, quality improvement projects using data from electronic health records, structural interventions to impact health behaviors, and health system innovations to improve the ability of community based organizations to educate, test, and link to care patients with preventable and chronic health conditions.   Evaluation skills are acquired that include analysis of qualitative, quantitative and cost data.  Dissemination skills are acquired to take best practices to scale. Through experiential learning COPC practitioners will develop the skills necessary to lead health improvement projects in community, health department, academic and clinical settings.

Goals

The following are goals of this educational program:

  • Provide the knowledge and skills necessary to implement a COPC program
  • Provide an analytical framework for evaluating community-based interventions using the principles and methods of COPC as a reference.
  • Provide opportunities for COPC practice, especially within vulnerable communities
  • Create health and public health practitioners with skills necessary to excel in the following positions:
    • Clinic Quality Improvement Specialist (clinic setting)
    • Patient Centered Medical Home team leader (clinic setting)
    • Supervisor of patient care coordination (clinic or MCO setting)
    • Community health specialist (community, clinic or public health setting)
    • Health promotion specialist (community or clinic setting)
    • Supervisor of Community Health Worker program  (community or clinic setting)
    • Community Health Research coordinator (academic, clinic or community setting)
    • Director of community clinic or community health organization  (With dual health and MPH degree)

Program Requirements

Program Guide to MPH in Community Oriented Primary Care 2016-2017

There are no program specific pre-requisites for entering the COPC Program, other than a bachelor’s degree or higher degree.  This program is appropriate for anyone (clinicians and non-clinicians) with an interest health care innovation and  the management of community health programs from the grass-roots level to the policy level.  This program seeks individuals especially interested in working with vulnerable populations to eliminate health disparities through trans-disciplinary teams.

MPH students who select the COPC Program enroll in MPH Core Courses which include Core courses (15 credits), Departmental Required courses (6 credits), Program-Specific Required courses (14  credits), electives (6 credits).   The total 45 credit degree program includes a Practicum (2 credits) and a Culminating Experience (2 credits), where students apply their didactic education in a real-world setting. 

 

Begin planning Practicum during Year 1; complete Culminating Experience in Year 2.

Required Core Courses (15 credits):  
PUBH 6001 Biological Concepts for Public Health  
PUBH 6002 Biostatistical Applications for Public Health  
PUBH 6003 Principles & Practice of Epidemiology  
PUBH 6004 Environmental & Occupational Health in a Sustainable World  
PUBH 6006 Management & Policy Approaches to Public Health  
PUBH 6007 Social & Behavioral Approaches to Public Health  
Required Departmental Courses ( 6 credits):  
PUBH 6500 Planning and Implementing Health Promotion Programs  
PUBH 6501 Program Evaluation  
Required Program-Specific Courses (14 credits):  
PUBH 6504 Social and Behavioral Science Research Methods  
PUBH 6510 Community-Oriented Primary Care Principles and Practice  
PUBH 6512 Community-Oriented Primary Care Policy & Issues  
PUBH 6514 Preventing Health Disparities  
PUBH 6513 Community Health Management  
PUBH 6516 Community Health Information Resources  
Electives - Any SPH Graduate Course(s) (6 credits):   
Recommended Electives:   
PUBH 6503 Introduction to Public Health Communications and Marketing  
PUBH 6534 Community-Based Participatory Research  
PUBH 6249 Use of Statistical Packages Data Management & Data Analysis  
PUBH 6531 Health Promotion in Health Care Settings  
PUBH 6262 Intro Geographic Information Systems  
PUBH 6530 Qualitative MethodsHealth Promotion  
PUBH 6532 Community Organization, Devlopment, & Advocacy  
HSML 6204 Quality & Performance Improvement  
Other Required Courses (4 credits):  
PUBH 6014 Practicum  
PUBH 6015 Culminating Experience  

Competencies

The six competencies below represent the competencies of all MPH tracks in the Prevention and Community Health Department.

  • Identify the causes of social and behavioral factors that affect health of individuals and populations.PUBH 6500, 6501.
  • Apply approporiate theories toward the development, implementation, and evaluation of health promoting programs, interventions, and policies. PUBH 6500, 6501.
  • Develop interventions, programs, and policies to affect change at the individual, interpersonal, community, and population level.  PUBH 6500, 6501.
  • In collaboration with others, prioritize individual, organizational, and community concerns and resources for public health programs.  PUBH 6500, 6501
  • Apply theory and strategy-based communication principles across different seetings and audiences.  PUBH 6500, 6501.
  • Apply ethical principles to public health program planning, implementation, evaluation, communication, and dissemination.  PUBH 6500, 6501.

Upon completion of the MPH, COPC Program students should possess the following functional competencies:

  • Communicate and discuss the principles and methods of COPC.
    Students should have the knowledge and understanding to be able to discuss the principles of COPC and describe the 6 steps which are:
  1. Defining the community;
  2. Characterizing the community;
  3. Prioritizing community health issues and problems;
  4. Conducting a detailed assessment of the priority health issue;
  5. Planning and implementing COPC intervention; and
  6. Evaluating the interventions. 

Overarching principles include community participation and partnership.  Students should be capable of communicating these to audiences with different educational levels and cultural backgrounds.

  • Define, characterize communities and identify its health needs which will be the focus of a COPC practice.
Relevant Courses  
PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
PUBH 6512 Comm-Oriented Primary CarePol&Iss  
PUBH 6504 Social and Behavioral Science Research Methods

 

  • Prioritize community health issues using the principles of COPC.
    Relevant Courses  
    PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
    PUBH 6513 Community Health Management  
    PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
    PUBH 6514 Preventing Health Disparities  
  • Gather best-practices models for community-based interventions and the necessary quantitative and qualitative information for implementation in the focus community.
     
    Relevant Courses  
    PUBH 6504 Social and Behavioral Science Research Methods  
    PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
    PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
    PUBH 6514 Preventing Health Disparities  
    PUBH 6516 Community Health InfoResources  
  • Implement individual behavior change interventions in clinical settings.
Relevant Courses  
PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
  • Develop skills to manage community health organizations.
    ​Students should be able to develop budgets for community health organizations, engage in workflow redesign, design staffing plans, develop communication plans, determine return on investment for new innovations, and develop grant proposals.
    Relevant Courses  
    PUBH 6513 Community Health Management  
  • Develop and implement interventions using COPC principles including community participation and partnership.

    Relevant Courses  
    PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
    PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
    PUBH 6513 Community Health Management  
  • Evaluate and analyze community-based interventions and COPC programs.
Relevant Courses  
PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
PUBH 6504 Social and Behavioral Science Research Methods  
  • Identify, analyze, and discuss the role of COPC in underserved within vulnerable communities.
     
    Relevant Courses  
    PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
    PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
    PUBH 6513 Community Health Management  
    PUBH 6514 Preventing Health Disparities  
  • Develop and implement a COPC process in clinical health services and community-based organizations and settings.
     
    Relevant Courses  
    PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
    PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
    PUBH 6513 Community Health Management  
  • Analyze policies, issues, and programs that impact COPC practice.
    Students should be able to analyze policies, issues, and programs on a local, regional and national level that impact COPC practice and be able to discuss its effects or potential effects especially to health services, community-based organizations and underserved communities.

    Relevant Courses

     
    PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
    PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
    PUBH 6513 Community Health Management  
  • Develop skills to implement, evaluate and publish the results of a COPC intervention in a peer reviewed journal.
    Relevant Courses  
    PUBH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice  
    PUBH 6512 Comm-OrientedPrimryCarePol&Iss  
    PUBH 6516 Community Health InfoResources  
    PUBH 6504 Social and Behavioral Science Research Methods

Graduation Requirements

1.     Graduate credit requirement: 45 graduate credits are required.

2.     Course requirements: Successful completion of the core courses and the program-specific courses are required.

3.     Grade point requirement: A 3.0 (B average) overall grade point average is required.

4.     Time limit requirement: The degree must be completed within four years.

5.     Transfer credit policy: Up to 12 graduate credits that have not been applied to a previous graduate degree may be transferred to the Master of Public Health program. Up to 18 credits may be transferred to the Master of Public Health from the SPH graduate certificate. Credits must have been earned from an accredited institution in the last 3 years with a grade point of 3.0 or better.

6.     CITI Training requirement: All students are required to complete training regarding human subject protection regulation and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). To fulfill this requirement, you must complete the Collaborative IRB Training Initiative (CITI) Course in The Protection of Human Research Subjects.  

7.     Professional Enhancement requirement: Students must participate in 8 hours per degree program of advisor pre-approved Public Health-related lectures, seminars, and symposia, related to your field of study.

8.     Integrity Quiz & Plagiarism requirement: All students are required to review the George Washington University Code of Academic Integrity and take the quiz within their first semester of study. The Code of Integrity and step-by-step instructions can be found here:  http://publichealth.gwu.edu/integrity  

Culminating Experience

Recent Practicum and Culminating Experience Topics

  • Understanding Barriers to Care Management and Meeting Clinical Standards in the Patient-Centered Medical Home Setting: A Provider Perspective.
  • Exploring Childhood Obesity in a Community Based Health Center
  • Assessing Latino health  needs
  • Early Childhood Literacy – Reach Out and Read
  • Hospice Care
  • Medication Coverage for elderly
  • Defining Homeless Communities
  • Using geographic information systems to improve access to care
  • Impact of co-morbidities: Diabetes, Hepatitis and HIV
  • Community Health Promoter training in Chiapas, Mexico
  • Community-based Rehabilitation Programs in La Estancia, El Salvador
  • Accessing Community Health Resources for Children

Sample Schedule 1

Semester 1: Summer

Course Number Course Name Course Credits
PubH 6002 Biostatistical Applications for Public Health 3 credits
PubH 6003 Principles and Practice of Epidemiology 3 credits
PubH 6007 Social and Behavioral Approaches to Public Health 2 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 8

Semester 2: Fall

Course Number Course Name Course Credits
PubH 6500 Planning and Admin 3 credits
PubH 6510 COPC Principles and Practice 3 credits
PubH 6514 Preventing Health Disparities 2 credits
PubH 6516 Community Health Info Resources 2 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 10

Semester 3: Spring

Course Number Course Name Course Credits
PubH 6512 COPC Policy and Issues 2 credits
PubH 6006 Management and Policy Approaches to Public Health 3 credits
PubH 6513 Community Health Management 2 credits
PubH 6504 Social and Behavioral Science Research Methods 3 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 10

Semester 4: Summer

Course Number Course Name Course Credits
PubH 6004 Environmental & Occupational Health 2 credits
PubH 6001 Biological Concepts 2 credits
PubH 6014 Practicum 2 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 6

Semester 5: Fall

Course Number Course Name Course Credits
PubH 6503 Intro Public Health Communication and Marketing 3 credits
PubH 6501 Evaluation of Health Promotion/Dis. Prevention 3 credits
PubH 6xxx Elective (Classes from list of 3 credit requirements) 3 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 9

Semester 6: Spring

Course Number Course Name Course Credits
PubH 6015 Culminating Experience 2 credits
TOTAL CREDITS: 2

Advising Tips

Always see your advisor for course scheduling and sequencing strategies, but remember that proper course selection, fulfilling requirements, and on-time graduation are your responsibilities.

The Master of Public Health (MPH) curriculum consists of four types of courses: 

  • Required Core Courses (PubH 6001, 6002, 6003, 6004, 6006, and 6007)
  • Required Program-Specific Courses
  • Electives
  • Required Practicum and Culminating Experience

 

INFORMATION ABOUT CORE COURSES

The MPH core courses are designed to provide students with a broad public health context as well as a critical foundation for subsequent coursework.  Early completion of these core courses ensures that students will have the base of knowledge to successfully complete the program specific courses and to get as much as possible out of them.  As such, entering students are expected to enroll in MPH core courses in accordance with the following guidelines:

  • We expect MPH students to complete the MPH core courses in their first year following their admission into the program (fall/spring/summer). 
  • Students may take core courses in any order. 

Part-time students (who generally take 5 to 7 credits per semester) will typically concentrate on taking just core courses in their first year, and then take program-specific courses in their second and third years. 

In order to help assure that all students complete core courses in the first year of study, SPH will offer all core courses during all three semesters (fall, spring, and summer). This will allow students who wish to complete their MPH degree within two years to do so, and will allow every student to make steady progress toward completing the MPH degree. Most of the MPH Health Policy program specific courses are offered three times in each academic year (fall, spring and summer semesters).

NOTE: We recognize that there may be exceptional circumstances that make it difficult for a student to complete the Milken Institute School core courses in the first year as outlined above. If applicable, students should discuss this situation with his or her academic advisor. If the advisor and student agree that an exception is needed, the student should complete a Graduate Petition Form explaining the circumstances, obtain the academic advisor’s signature, and submit the Petition to the Milken Institute SPH Office of Student Records.

Past Program Guides

This is the current program guide for this program. Students should follow the course requirements from the year in which they entered the program. 

 
Past Guides: (PDFs include both information on the MPH and certificate programs)
Guides that are not available online can be accquired from the Academic Affairs Program Coordinator in the Dean's Office.