Course Outline: Psychology 326

Course Information

  • Department: Psychology
  • Prepared By: Eva Pearson, MA AND Dr. Marya Howell Carter
  • Prepared Date: Fall 2017
  • Course Title: Introduction to Behavioral Health Science
  • Course Code: PSY 326
  • Credits: 3
  • Contact Hours: 45

Catalog Description

Behavioral Health Science is the scientific study of the ways that human behavior can affect health/mental health status and health/mental health outcomes. Introduction to Behavioral Health Science will explore how human actions, cognitions, relationships, interactions and systems affect health, well-being, and quality of life.  This course will examine the integration of mental health care and health care from a historical, practical, and policy perspective.  Students completing the course will understand the significance of health care policy changes as they relate to psychology, and the dramatic shift in thinking about how and where health/mental health care can be integrated and administered. Prerequisite(s): PSY 315 Credits: 3 (3,0)

  • Prerequisites: Abnormal Psychology, or permission from the Department chairperson 
  • Required For: None 
  • Elective For: Applied Psychology Major, can be an upper-level social science elective for any curriculum
  • Required Texts: Course Pack  / Assigned Readings

Course Objectives

The course will cover topics including the health/mental health care system in the US and abroad; the biological underpinnings of mental health and the mental health aspects of physical illness; the need for and nature of behavioral health interventions; the process of developing, funding, implementing and assessing behavioral health initiatives; and careers paths in behavioral health science. The course will be taught primarily through lecture and class discussion of assigned reading materials.  Students will also learn through the application of concepts to assignments.  Lastly, students will engage in critical thinking exercises through research and written reflection.

Behavioral Objectives

By the end of this course, student should be able to:

  1. Understand the history of the integration of physical health care and mental health care in America
  2. Discuss and consider the connectedness between cognitive neuropsychiatry and physical health
  3. Explain and understand both national and New York State related health care policies 
  4. Think critically about how politics and societal values shape both diagnoses and policy
  5. Discuss and consider alternative and preventative medical models
  6. Examine and discuss research related to mental health and heath care 
  7. Understand the importance of data as it relates to the field
  8. Explain how health care in other countries compares to health care in America
  9. Discuss selected ethical issues surrounding health care

Course Outline

The following is an overview of the topics to be covered in this course.  Each unit will include relevant theory, current research, and its application.

Unit 1: Foundation

  1. Introduction
  2. Historical examination of American Mental Health Care
  3. Institutionalization & DeinstitutionalizationHomelessness and how it’s related to the current Mental Health Care crisis  The Brain, the Mind and BehaviorBrain anatomy and psychopharmacologyOther neurological medical interventions
  4. Phrenology, lobotomies, ECT
  5. Behavioral Genetics
  6. Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

Unit 2: Health Care Policy

  1. National: Affordable Care Act
  2. State: Hospital Medical Home (A preventative model for Medicaid members)

Unit 3: Health Care Program Implementation

  1. Funding and Coding
  2. Understanding CPT codes
  3. Diagnosis: Examining the DSM-V
  4. Understanding and applying research
  5. Program administration and management

Unit 4: Alternative Medicine and Prevention Models

  1. Early Intervention
  2. Social Learning Theory as it related to health care
  3. Alternative therapies

Unit 5: Examining Global Health Care

  1. Socialized MedicineInternational Health Care Challenges
  2. E.g. Ebola / Immunizations

Unit 6: The Future of Health Care: Revisiting Policy

  1. The future of the ACA
  2. NY State: DSRIP Program

Unit 7: The Future of Health Care: Revisiting Policy

  1. The future of the ACA
  2. NY State: DSRIP Program

Course Evaluation

Three Article Submission and Reflection (10 points each, 30 points total)

Students will submit three, topic-related articles of their choosing. Accompanying each article, students will submit a one-to-two page summary and reflection of their article, explaining why it is of interest to them and how course content relates. Due dates on Course Outline

Five Reaction Papers (4 points each, 20 points total)

Students will submit five, one-page reaction papers throughout the course of the semester. Reaction papers are not graded; points are awarded for completion. Reaction papers are an opportunity for students to communicate to instructor any post-class thoughts they may have, or questions that were not addressed during class discussion.

Two Course Assignments (10 points each, 20 points total due dates on course outline)

Students will complete two assignments related to policy implementation and budgets.

Final Research Paper Due (20 points)

Students will complete a final research paper. Students will write a three-to-four page research paper on a course-related topic of their choosing. (Topics will be discussed and approved by instructor in week seven.) Research paper should include a minimum of two research articles, and should reflect students’ application of course materials. All papers should be written in APA style. Please see course outline for due dates, but early submissions are always welcome. Late papers will be reduced by 5 points per day for each day late.

Participation in Discussion (10 points)

Course will be taught primarily through lecture and discussion of assigned readings and assignments. Attendance and participation in discussions are crucial.

Assignment Breakdown (100 points total)

Three Articles & Reflections: 30 points

Five Reaction Papers: 20 points

Two Course Assignments: 20 points

Final Research Paper: 20 points

Participation in Discussion: 10 points