Course Descriptions

Current courses in HILS' learning sciences curriculum are described in detail below. 

Many of the courses in the program are open to any enrolled University of Michigan student with graduate-level standing. 

LHS 601: HILS Professional Development Seminar

This course featuring a mix of guest speakers and instructor-led sessions is designed for first year HILS students to synthesize, integrate learning, and foster professional development and lifelong learning. It meets in fall and winter for 1.0 credit hour each semester.

Contact: Gretchen Piatt, MPH, PhD

LHS 610: Exploratory Data Analysis for Health


Students in this course will learn foundational topics in data science focused on healthcare data. The course is based on two large themes: (a) understanding and becoming familiar with healthcare data, and (b) making inferences based on data. Students will develop a working understanding of R, one of the most widely used languages for data science, and an introductory understanding of several other tools used in analyzing healthcare data. Students will participate in a longitudinal group project spanning the principles learnt during the course using real-life healthcare data sets.

Contact: Karandeep Singh, MD, MMSc and Andrew Krumm, PhD

LHS 611: Knowledge Representation and Management in Health 


This course provides an intensive introduction to methods and topics for knowledge representation and management, with an emphasis on symbolic methods and the social context of knowledge use in learning health systems. Students who complete the course will become familiar with important knowledge engineering technologies and standards. They will also have mastered foundational methods necessary for more advanced study and mentored research in collaborative knowledge representation and management.

Contact: Zach Landis-Lewis, PhD, MLIS

LHS 621: Implementation Science in Health 1


Many evidence-based health care interventions fail to produce successful outcomes when implemented into practice. Implementation and dissemination sciences comprise a multidisciplinary set of theories and methods to improve and expedite translating research evidence to everyday health-related practices.  Both disciplines are systematic approaches to understanding how healthcare interventions can be better integrated into diverse practice settings, and emphasize direct engagement with institutions and communities where health interventions take place. In order to optimize public health, it is essential to not only understand how to create the best interventions, but how to best ensure that they are effectively delivered within clinical and community practice.  

Contacts: Gretchen Piatt, MPH, PhD and John Donnelly, MSPH, PhD

LHS 622: Learning Cycle Capstone


This 3-credit course in the Spring/Summer term 2024 for residential HILS MS students is designed to challenge students to reflect upon concepts learned throughout their previous HILS coursework – specifically focusing on the Learning Health System – to explore the issues associated with Learning Health Systems in low-resource settings, both domestically and globally.

Drawing upon the expertise of faculty and researchers across the department, across the University, and from partners in Ghana and Kenya, this course is designed to challenge assumptions about high- vs. low-resource settings and help students grapple with the question of what equity truly means for learning health systems.

Contact: Cheryl Moyer, PhD, MPH

LHS 631: Learning Analytics: Foundations and Applications

In this course, we will address efforts to use novel data sources and diverse analytical techniques to improve learning opportunities in K-16 and professional settings. This course is for students who are broadly interested in learning in the classroom, in the home, or on the shop floor.

Contact: Andrew Krumm, PhD

LHS 641: Quality Improvement in Healthcare Systems


This course addresses QI in healthcare using a multi-level systems perspective. The course addresses both conceptual foundations of QI and direct application of QI tools and processes. Course materials will include examples and application at Michigan Medicine. The course will help participants perform successful QI activities in healthcare settings.

Contacts: Andrew Krumm, PhD and R. Van Harrison, PhD

LHS 650: Health Infrastructures Pro Seminar 1 


This course provides theoretical and practical perspectives on the evolution of major infrastructures, focusing in particular on health and information infrastructures.  The course begins by examining how infrastructures emerge, evolve, and decay in the context of social systems. Students gain fluency in the language of infrastructure as a technological and social phenomenon linking people, processes, policy, and technology. The course focuses on the organization of health as a problem of infrastructure and considers how this perspective might inform research, practice, and the capacity for change.

Contact: Rachel Richesson, PhD, MPH, MS, FACMI (on-campus course) or Timothy Pletcher, DHA (online course)

LHS 660/SI 648/HMP 648: Evaluation and Research Methods for Health Informatics and Learning Systems 

(Syllabus | Schedule)

This course examines health informatics, and the related concept of learning health systems, as an empirical science and as “people science.” As such, the course will focus on formal studies of applications of information resources applied to health care, population health, and personal health. Sometimes these studies focus on the information resource itself, but more often they focus on the resource along with its user community and the context in which it is used. These studies can be conducted while an information resource is under development, in trial use, or after it is deployed in routine service. All methods will be introduced and discussed with reference to case study papers selected from the informatics literature.

Contact: Charles P. Friedman, PhD

LHS 665: Applied Biostatistics for Health Researchers


This is a PhD-level biostatistics course that covers fundamental statistical concepts and methods for researchers who need to analyze health and/or healthcare data and interpret research. Major topics include descriptive statistics, probability theory, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, correlation, regression (linear and logistic), survival analysis, reliability/validity of diagnostic tests, and epidemiological study designs. Relevance of analytic techniques to healthcare will be demonstrated via a series of 10 labs that focus on applications. Students will become proficient in basic data management and analysis using a statistical software program including data importation/exportation, management of datasets (creating new variables, merging and appending datasets), and statistical analyses. Effective presentation of quantitative results in tables and graphics will be emphasized throughout the course.   


SI 542/HMP 668: Introduction to Health Informatics


Introduction to concepts and practices of health informatics. Topics include: a) major applications and commercial vendors; b) decision support methods and technologies; c)analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation of healthcare information systems; and d) new opportunities and emerging trends.

Contact: Allen Flynn, PhD, PharmD

LHS 671: Ethics and Policy Issues for Learning Health Systems 


Bioethics is an enterprise in ascendance.  In the early 1960s, there were individuals concerned with moral questions occasioned by medicine and medical research, but they were not known as bioethicists, nor did they have the institutional support of centers for bioethics, professional journals, government commissions, or graduate programs and professorships. Today bioethics is part of the landscape of the life sciences: “ethics committees” are now mandatory in American hospitals; all federally funded research that involves human beings or animals must be reviewed by a board constituted to protect the subjects of research; a plethora of seminars offer training in bioethics for those who need, or wish, to offer ethical advice; bioethics courses are now a regular part of the curriculum at universities, colleges and medical schools. Students in this course will learn about the social sources of morality; the organization of professions; the politics of science, medicine and biotechnology; the interface between law and ethics; the place of religion in pluralist societies; the sociology of science; and the social uses of bioethics in the complex context of learning health systems.

Contact: Tanner Caverly, MD, MPH (on-campus course) or Janice Firn, PhD, MSW, HEC-C (online course)

LHS 680: Teamwork in Healthcare


The power to save lives is in your hands. Effective teamwork is the difference between life and death in healthcare. Even the most brilliant care teams can fail without effective collaboration. This course equips you with the toolkit to build dream teams that get results. In this course, we explore such questions as: what are the characteristics of effective teams in healthcare? What are the most powerful factors that allow interprofessional teams to build up their power as a collective entity? Why do some teams thrive and others struggle? What are some evidence-based strategies and technology solutions for achieving behavioral changes? This is not just theory – you will put it into practice. Using simulations, real-world data, and case analyses, you will learn to apply data science tools and techniques to analyze team processes and outcomes. Guest speakers from across Michigan Medicine will share their expertise and insights into optimizing interprofessional collaboration and team assessment. You will work on solving current challenges facing real healthcare teams by participating in a semester-long project of your choice. At course completion, the knowledge and skills you gain will set you apart in building effective collaboration. Join us to gain the experience needed to maximize the power of teamwork in healthcare.

Contact: Vitaliy Popov, PhD

LHS 700/HS 700: Applied Biostatistics for Clinical Practice 

This is a clinically-oriented, graduate-level biostatistics course that covers fundamental statistical concepts and methods for health professionals who need to analyze clinical data and interpret research. Major topics include descriptive statistics, probability theory, statistical inference, hypothesis testing, correlation, regression, survival analysis, and diagnostic test performance. Relevance of analytic techniques to healthcare will be demonstrated via a series of assignments that focus on clinical applications. Students will become proficient in basic data analysis using a statistical software program including data importation/exportation, management, and analyses. Effective presentation of quantitative results in tables and graphics will be emphasized throughout the course.

Contact: Mathew Davis, MPH, PhD

LHS 701: HILS Research Seminar

This course familiarizes HILS students with important research in learning health systems.Seminar sessions are conducted by faculty and students who discuss projects addressing topics such as implementation science, informatics, artificial intelligence/machine learning, policy and ethics and a host of other areas currently significant to learning health systems.

Contact: Gretchen Piatt, MPH, PhD

LHS 712: Natural Language Processing on Health Data 


This course explores the challenges and advances in health informatics to extract actionable information hidden in free text in electronic records, published literature, and social media.

Contact: VG Vinod Vydiswaran, PhD

LHS 721: Implementation Science in Health 2 


Students in this course will expand on and apply concepts learned in Implementation Sciences I and other Learning Health Sciences courses to build on their knowledge of how dissemination and implementation science fits into the LHS learning cycle. Students will learn and apply practical skills to implement and evaluate complex, multi-level interventions and initiatives that aim to improve health care practice and policy. Students will complete a small-scale project related to implementation of evidence-based practice and prepare reports for multiple audiences.

Contact: Amy Kilbourne, PhD, MPH

Previous summer learning cycle project abstracts. 

LHS 731: Special Topics in LHS

This focus of this course will vary from term to term based on the interests of HILS faculty and students.

LHS 750: Health Infrastructures Pro Seminar 2 


This capstone-style course requires students to synthesize the theoretical and applied learning from the HILS core curriculum.  Infrastructure II focuses on health infrastructure at various levels of scale and comparative analyses.  The course will focus on case studies and will invite speakers to present current research and practice in health infrastructure. Students will develop an independent project that will focus on recognizing barriers to adaptive learning, and on infrastructural approaches to problem solving.

Contacts: Charles Friedman, PhD, or Rachel Richesson, PhD, MPH, MS, FACMI, or Alexandra Vinson, PhD

LHS 760: Foundations of Qualitative Methods

(Syllabus, preliminary)

This course will focus on the two most commonly used qualitative methods: ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviewing. Students will have a chance to practice these methods, to learn about their epistemological foundations, and to discuss how the affordances and limitations of these methods shape knowledge-making in social research.

Contact: Alexandra Vinson, PhD

For more information about how these courses fit together, read about the Health Infrastructures and Learning Systems curriculum.

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