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Johns Hopkins University

Community Change in Public Health

Johns Hopkins University via Coursera


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.


  • Module 1
    • This week, we'll get oriented to the course, learn about the ecological model, and learn how to classify communities on the basis of identity, linkages, group orientation, and integration.
  • Module 2
    • Welcome to Week 2 of Community Change in Public Health. This week's lectures will focus on Community Efficacy and Community Change Models. Learning these concepts will help you gain a deeper understanding of the forces at work within communities and how they can be harnessed to affect positive change.
  • Module 3
    • Welcome to Module 3. This week, we'll take a look at the political economy framework as well as the concepts of community participation and involvement levels. You'll also complete your first peer review assignment this week by reading a case study and using what you've learned to describe community change.
  • Module 4
    • This week, we'll look at community coalitions, contrasting community-based and community-directed programs, and the results of enhancing community-directed treatment.
  • Module 5
    • In this final week, we'll learn about the Community-Directed Intervention (CDI) process, an expansion beyond the Community-Directed Treatment process used with Ivermectin. Finally, you will complete your second peer-review assignment in which you'll describe a community from a case study and also describe two possible interventions to sustain the change that is already underway.

Taught by

William Brieger


4.4 rating, based on 10 Class Central reviews

4.7 rating at Coursera based on 162 ratings

Start your review of Community Change in Public Health

  • Anonymous
    Very interesting material with an assignment designed to apply your knowledge to real world situations. I came away feeling like I have a better idea on how to assess a community to help start positive health changes. No, this won't give you all the…
  • Anonymous
    Fantastic course!
    I would recommend this course to people who want a deep insight of communities.
    This course teaches how every community has its own strengths and vibes, the need is to tap the potential resources by innovation, passion and cultural sensitivity.
  • Profile image for PH Tiffany
    PH Tiffany
    Medical staffing is the best ones and I ones I think are going to be [email protected]. is the rig

    ht thing to plant with like a seed like planting a tree.
  • Ekiru Elimlim Dennis
    Have finished first section of this course and it adds more and sounds informative. For all public health related practices, is better to have the knowledge from this course.
    Please need to proceed with the next lectures to finish the course as outlined on syllabus.
  • Profile image for John Koroma
    John Koroma
    The course has just contributed to strengthen my behavioral change relating to community sanitation and hygiene practices. Hoping to extend this to my community people.
  • Gatnor Jany
    Am fresh learner who wish to learn about public health I finished my high school for last two years ago and now I'm just willing to to have your service about this free if you can me
    Am so glad to write this message to you and thanks
  • Profile image for Michael Ye
    Michael Ye
  • Zhangjinmei

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