Nursing Health Policy: Concentration



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The Health Policy Concentration offers students the opportunity to analyze and critique health policy issues at local, state, national and international levels. Interested students are exposed to the role and importance of nurses’ engagement in health policies in health care delivery and population health arenas.

The objectives are to 1) assess the policy dimensions of issues in clinical practice, teaching, research and leadership/administration to identify how practice and policy are interrelated 2) develop knowledge on policy theory and advocacy and apply skills to policy areas of interest. 3) recognize the importance of using data and research to informing health policy and advocacy.


Students who wish to be recognized as having completed the elective focus must register their intent to take the focus by emailing [email protected] and completing the online Health Policy Focus completion form here. Please complete the form when you enroll in your final health policy course. Students should discuss their interest in this focus with their advisor; students can also confer with the Health Policy Focus coordinator (Ulrike Muench) or the administrative coordinator, Brandee Woleslagle Blank ([email protected]) when choosing courses and determining how to fit courses into their specialty program schedules.


  • Students are required to take 3 courses with a minimum of 6 units to complete the focus.
  • Course requirements include: N253 or S246 (both are offered every Fall and Winter, respectively), plus two additional Health Policy courses from the list below or students may take both of these courses towards fulfilling the course and unit requirements.  
  • Courses may not overlap with the requirements of the student’s specialty or with the requirements to fulfill another focus.
  • Courses for the concentration may be taken as pass/no pass if desired.
  • Not all courses are taught each year, so students will need to determine how to complete the focus given their program requirements.  Students should check the UCSF the course schedule, the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences course schedule, and the course catalog when registering for classes each quarter. Students are encouraged to speak with the Health Policy administrative coordinator, Brandee Woleslagle Blank about how to best fit classes into the schedule of their specialty.
  • The SF consortium and Stanford Exchange allows students to take classes on other campuses and receive credit. If a student identifies a course of interest offered by another department or school (e.g., UC Berkeley, Stanford), s/he can petition to have it count toward the focus prior to enrolling. Health Policy administrative coordinator, Brandee Woleslagle Blank ([email protected])
  • Independent study, policy research practicum, or health policy residency may be substituted for one course. Please speak to Ulrike Muench or Brandee Woleslagle Blank in advance of making these substitutions


  Courses that count towards the Focus


REQUIRED: N253 Theories of the Policy Process (offered every Fall)
Course focuses on learning and using theories of the policy process, including analyzing how health policy problems are constructed. Perspectives on agenda setting, media roles, advocacy, policy innovation, diffusion, and implementation will be integrated with examples of policy problems.
ent, emotional impact, and predictive variability of genetic screening will be explored.


REQUIREDS246 Communications and Policy Leadership (offered every Fall) Course focuses on developing students' skills in various types of policy-relevant communications and leadership across different policy venues.

*Students may choose to take both N253 and S246 which will count towards both the three-course and unit-number requirements.

S210  Proseminar in Health Policy  (offered every Fall and Winter)
Seminar to extend knowledge of the varied scope of health policy research and analysis. The focus will be on specific policy research, analysis and implementation strategies.  This course is 1 unit.

S201 Violence as a Health Problem in the United States (offered at variable times; check course schedule)
Class explores the scope and etiology of violence in the United States. Discussion includes the links between different types of violence, examination of competing theoretical approaches to explain the causes of violence, and different policy approaches to resolve and prevent violence.

206  Corporate Influences on Health & Health Care  (offered every odd-year Fall)
Course examines the positive and negative contributions of corporate entities to health, health care and health policy within the US and globally, focusing on developing critical thinking and policy analysis skills related to system-level structural-economic factors that influence health. Includes content from research and theoretical literature related to corporate personhood, rights, responsibilities and accountability and its application to health policy and ethics discourse.

S223 Perspectives on Social Policy and Health (offered  every even-year Fall)
Course will examine the impact of family and welfare policy on health status, health care access, and health outcomes. The course will explore theories on the historical constructions of poverty and the poor and governmental policies affecting poor and working class employment, family supports, income subsidy, childcare, and access to health care. The course will examine the debates over universal access to health care and the impact of social constructions of poverty on the debate.

S235 Tobacco Control Policy Issues (offered every Winter)
Course focuses on issues and evolution of tobacco control policies in the U.S. and internationally. Lectures and readings in the history of tobacco control will prepare students to engage in weekly discussions and case studies of particular tobacco control policies.

S236 Race/Class Factors in Health Care Delivery  (offered  every even-year Fall)
Course examines racial and class membership impact on access to health care services, variations in the quality of those services, variations in the quality of those services, and how professional and subprofessional roles in the health care system are organized along racial and class lines.

S284 Health Care Economics (offered every Winter)
Course examines basic economic theory as applied to the health care sector. This will include the structure of health care service and labor markets and the analysis of critical economic and cost issues relevant to public policy.

N260H  Global Health Policy & Nursing  (offered every  Spring)
Course will examine global health from a nursing perspective, exploring global work force issues, definitions of nursing, nursing educational models, roles of nursing in national policy development and international organizations that link nursing to global health such as the World Health Organization, Pan American Health Organization, International Council of Nurses, and the International Council of Nurse Midwives.

N262.06  Research Utilization in Health Policy  (offered every Spring)
Course focuses on the development of critical thinking skills related to utilization and evaluation of research findings in the area of health policy. The course uses scientific and practical approaches to research and policy analysis.

The following courses are inactive as of AY 20/21, but also count towards the focus.  Check the course schedule to check for future offerings.

233  Sociology of Aging   (offered at variable times; check course schedule):: Course examines the sociology of aging including a review of theoretical perspectives, current and historical trends in aging, factors related to the aging process, effects of aging on individuals and families, and formal and informal service systems for an aging population.

S225 Organizational Analysis of US Healthcare (offered  every  even-year Spring):: Develops capacity to understand and conduct systematic research on health care orgs. Covers theoretical perspectives on organizations: contingency theory, resource dependency, organizational ecology, inst. theory, networks, strategic management, economic perspectives. Perspectives are considered in the context of studies of organizations including: hospitals, HMO's, mental health agencies, nursing homes, biotech firms, and academic health centers.

S202 The Future of Health and Healthcare (offered every Spring) :: Course provides an overview of the Futures field, including key history, theory and practice. Course content will review tools that futurists use to envision the future(s). Students will engage in weekly discussions of the readings, with an emphasis on visions of the future, and apply futures concepts to develop alternative scenarios.

S219 Social Policy and Aging  (offered at variable times; check course schedule) :: Course provides a critical analysis of major social, economic, and political issues of growing old in America. Examines social policy in the public and private sectors including health, income, and social services and considers prospects for social change and political movements.


Students completing the concentration must register by completing the online Health Policy Focus form here. Please complete the form when you enroll in your final health policy course.

Upon completion, students can add the concentration to their CV.  To request a certificate of completion, please send an email to Brandee Woleslagle Blank.