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Professional Doctorate in Health Studies (DHS)

Professional Doctorate in
Health Studies (DHS)

The last few decades have seen far-reaching changes in the way health care is organised, delivered and funded both in the UK and internationally. Many factors – such as medical and technological advances, an ageing population in developed countries, the growing prevalence of chronic disease, patient choice and rising public expectations - have affected countries across the world in different ways. Governments and policymakers have struggled to cope with the rapid and continuous change, and have often failed to resolve the highly emotive and politically charged debates and controversies surrounding health care.

The course encourages students to explore the key issues relating to health policy in the international context, and in particular the changing role of institutions in the health care sector.

Discipline Specific modules

Health Policy in the International Context

This module provides a critical analysis of the development of health policy and the organisation and delivery of health services in the UK and internationally focusing particularly on more recent developments. It covers not only the content of health policy (what it aims to achieve), but also the process of policy making (how policies are developed, implemented and evaluated). It aims to identify the main social, economic and political influences that have shape health policy, explores where decision making power lies, and evaluates attempts to improve quality and performance in country specific projects.

The aims of the module are:

  • Explore a diverse range of global and national health policies, including current and emerging trends and also of disciplines relevant to the study of health policy, planning and financing (epidemiology, health economics and other social sciences)
  • Expand on the multidisciplinary approach to formulate, implement and evaluate health policies and plans, and to investigate the connection between evidence, research and policy-making.
  • To explore theories of change and models for facilitating continuous improvement, leadership and personal impact to act as a change agent, as well as the context for institutional change.

The module will prepare you for extended forms of research within the healthcare practice setting. A major outcome will be that you will enhance your own professional skills by influencing others in the development of your organisation/ institution.

Social Contexts of Health and Wellbeing

This module provides you with a strong, interdisciplinary foundation in social theory, and the methodological instruments needed for individuals interested in making an impact on the way people are born, live, grow, work, and age (including the healthcare system). The focus of this module is to expose, explore and examine the core theories of social stratification, inequalities, inequities and social justice; the social patterning of disease and mortality; and the social and biological factors in the aetiology of health outcomes as well as the ways in which these mechanisms can operate across the life-course. In so doing, this module will enable you visualize the ways in which seemingly everyday aspects of life are inequitably distributed, shaped by and reproduce socio-economic pathways, thereby contributing to marked health disparities with fundamental bearing on health.

In this module you will develop your knowledge of the many factors that contribute to good and the multiple dimensions of well-being.

The aims of the module are to:

  • Identify and evaluate how sociological, physiological and psychological perspectives conceptualise health.
  • Review qualitative and quantitative sources of data that different disciplines draw on to describe health and to assess the main factors influencing health and review the concept of health inequalities.

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