Designing Interventions to Change Organizational Behavior

EPI 247 Spring 2021 (2 units)
Course Director: Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH
Institute for Health Policy Studies


This course surveys a range of translational tools at the health care system level that students can use to promote the adoption of evidence-based medicine by providers and delivery systems. We teach strategies for change in the broader context of sociological theories of organizational behavior and policy implementation. Learning is focused on translational tools that can be used by stakeholders outside of health care organizations — including purchasers, payers and government regulators — to promote the adoption of clinical innovations within organizations. Such tools can include contract-based payment incentives, performance monitoring, education and technical-assistance programs, changes in existing government licensing laws and quasi-government regulations used by credentialing agencies.

At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Understand what is unique about the health care industry and how this contributes to implementation challenges;
  • Analyze the parts of health care organizations and how they come together to produce leverage points for change;
  • Map barriers and facilitators of the successful implementation of health care policies within organizations;
  • Understand how strategic managers adapt health care organizations to meet the demands of their organizational environments;
  • Analyze the potential for implementation gaps and failures, and how to rig systems for implementation success;
  • Develop systems change strategies; and
  • Promote collaborative systems change through “bottom-up” strategies.

Introduction to Implementation Science: Theory and Design (EPI 245) is recommended but not required.

Course Director:

Laura Schmidt, PhD, MSW, MPH
Phone: 415-476-0440


Sara Ackerman, MPH, PhD

Teaching Assistant:

Leyla Mousli, MPH


Weekly course content will be delivered via video lectures, case studies, and readings. Students will post weekly assignments in online discussion forums, and provide/receive feedback through the online discussion forums and weekly in-person discussion sections facilitated by course faculty.


All course materials and handouts will be posted on the course's online syllabus.


Evaluation of student performance will be based on successful completion of weekly homework assignments and a final project, as well as participation in an online discussion forum and in-person small group sessions. To pass the course, learners must:

  • Posts weekly assignments in the online discussion forums by the designated due date and time in 8 of 10 weeks;
  • Provide thoughtful feedback via the online discussion forums to at least two others regarding their weekly assignments by the designated due date and time in 8 of 10 weeks;
  • Attend and participate in at least 8 of the 10 in-person weekly small group discussion sessions; and
  • Submit a fully completed 15-page, double-spaced case study project using the suggested outline by the designated due date and time. Course faculty will assess whether the case study project contains relevant sections and incorporates feedback provided during the course.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Please see our fees page for cost information. The deadline for application is March 1, 2021. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.

The application is best completed using the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Safari.