Free social marketing / community health online university course

Alan Andreasen just made the following post on the immensely valuable social marketing listserv:

Many of you may know of Coursera, the online site that provides free certificate courses in a range of topics. One that may interest social marketers is “Community Change in Public Health.” It is five weeks long in October, taught by William Brieger of Johns Hopkins and described as follows:

About the Course

In bringing about behavior change in public health, we often focus on the individual mother, student, or farmer. We should not forget the community structure and norms constrain for encouraging individual health behaviors. This course examines the community context of the changes needed to promote the public’s health. We begin by examining the various definitions of ‘community’ and the processes by which we ‘diagnose’ or seek to understand the structure and characteristics of different types of communities. An appreciation of community similarities and differences is necessary lest we fall into the trap of designing one-size-fits-all interventions. We need to recognize that no matter that outsiders may view a community as poor or neglected, we can find strengths and capacities for improvement in each community. Identifying community capacities and resources is the first step in facilitating community change. Different practical and philosophical approaches to change and therefore, examined. Specific to the change process is our recognition of the need for communities to participate in the design, implementation and evaluation of any intervention. We examine the concept of participation in an effort to see how different levels of involvement may affect sustainability of community change efforts. Finally a case study of a community participatory approach to onchocerciasis control in Africa is presented. Community Directed Intervention has subsequently been successfully applied to providing other essential primary health care services by and in the community, such as insecticide treated bednets, malaria treatment, vitamin A distribution, deworming medicines, and pneumonia and diarrhea case management.


I signed up, and received this email with a few more details:

We are glad that you have signed up for Community Change in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Coursera.   We believe that the community is the foundation of ‘public’ health. In the course we will examine different types of communities primarily in developing countries, but the basic concepts are relevant around the world. We will compare different approaches and strategies for community change interventions and explore a case study of community directed interventions as used in the African Program for Onchocerciasis (river blindness) control.  We expect our class to be offered in October 2012. We’ll notify you again when the class starts.


What an opportunity!

More information is at:

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