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E-Seminars: Public Health


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The following state-of-the-art learning experiences were developed at Columbia University by distinguished faculty members working closely with our skilled instructional technology staff. Three to five hours in length, these in-depth multimedia e-seminars are free to Columbia students, faculty, and staff.

TitleSourceDescription
Biography of the AIDS Epidemic: Creating an Oral-History Project—A Series of Two E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Ronald Bayer and Gerald OppenheimerIn the early years of the AIDS epidemic, the doctors at the front lines witnessed a sudden massacre and struggled to treat against an agent they didn't understand. What impact did this experience have on these doctors, and how did this first group of caregivers shape the evolution of the epidemic? To construct a collective biography of the early AIDS doctors, Ronald Bayer, Columbia University professor of public health, and Gerald Oppenheimer, associate professor of clinical public health, turned to oral history. In these two e-seminars, Professors Bayer and Oppenheimer discuss the development of the oral history project from inspiration to publication.

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Biography of the AIDS Epidemic: Creating an Oral-History Project—E-Seminar 1, From Idea to Interview: Launching an Oral-History Project
Columbia Learning Experiences
Ronald Bayer and Gerald OppenheimerIn the first of two e-seminars on their oral history of the AIDS epidemic, Professors Bayer and Oppenheimer take the student on a tour through the planning of their oral-history project. Through anecdotes, constructive advice and tips, collected readings and resources, and sample planning documents, you will learn to conduct interviews for an oral-history project and to address sensitive issues that may arise during and after the interviews. You will also learn to use oral-history materials to construct a nonarchival project, and to present and evaluate your project.

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Biography of the AIDS Epidemic: Creating an Oral-History Project—E-Seminar 2, Talk to Text: Completing an Oral-History Project
Columbia Learning Experiences
Ronald Bayer and Gerald OppenheimerIn this second of two e-seminars on their oral-history of the AIDS epidemic, Professors Bayer and Oppenheimer take the student on a tour through the execution of their own oral-history project. Through anecdotes, constructive advice and tips, collected readings and resources, and sample documents, you will become well versed in the issues that need to be addressed before beginning an oral history project, and become equipped to complete the steps needed to plan your oral-history project to the point of conducting interviews.

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Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease—A Series of Seven E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dickson DespommierIn an age characterized by a rapidly changing environment in which emerging and reemerging diseases continue to confront us, how can we predict the next major threats to human health? In his seven-part series, Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease, Dickson Despommier, Professor of Public Health and Microbiology at Columbia, illuminates the connections between the disruption of ecosystems and eruptions of human disease.

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Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease—E-Seminar 1, The Normal Environment: How Things Got This Way
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dickson DespommierIn an age characterized by a rapidly changing environment, in which emerging and re-emerging diseases continue to confront us, how can we predict the next major threats to human health? Are we, in fact, aiding the spread of disease by destroying the barriers that keep us from it? In the first of eight e-seminars on medical ecology, professor of public health and microbiology Dickson Despommier explains the interconnectedness of life on earth by exploring the evolution of life itself, and the cycles of nutrients that link us to all the other life on the planet.

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Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease—E-Seminar 2, The Normal Environment: The Way Things Are Now
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dickson DespommierIn this second e-seminar of an eight part series, The Normal Environment: The Way Things Are Now, Professor Despommier describes the producer-consumer interactions that drive ecosystems, the types and characteristics of ecoregions of the world, and the often undervalued "free" services (to which he attempts to assign a value) that ecosystems provide for us.

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Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease—E-Seminar 3, Atmosphere: Stratospheric Problems
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dickson DespommierIn this third e-seminar of the series Medical Ecology, Professor Despommier probes into one of Earth's great zones—the upper atmosphere. As he describes the basic constituents of the atmosphere and the ecosystem services it provides, Professor Despommier also explores how industry is destroying the atmospheric system, exposing humans and animals on Earth below to severe health threats.

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Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease—E-Seminar 4, Atmosphere: Problems at Ground Level
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dickson DespommierIn Atmosphere: Problems at Ground Level, the fourth of eight e-seminars, Despommier investigates the atmosphere at Earth's surface and the consequences of polluting the air around us. From acid deposition to industrial emissions, polluted air threatens the health of humans and ecosystems alike. Despommier elucidates this concept using text, reading materials, data, and state-of-the-art animation and imagery.

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Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease—E-Seminar 5, Water: It's Not Just H2O
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dickson DespommierIn Water: It's Not Just H2O, the fifth e-seminar in the series Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease, Professor Despommier delves into another of Earth's great zones—water. He examines closely the hydrological cycle and the ecosystem services it provides, the world's dwindling sources of freshwater, and the effects of water pollution.

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Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease—E-Seminar 6, Waterborne Infections
Columbia Learning Experiences
Dickson DespommierIn Waterborne Infections, the sixth e-seminar in the series Medical Ecology: Environmental Disturbance and Disease, Professor Dickson Despommier examines both the pathogens that cause waterborne disease and the role that water plays in their transmission and proliferation.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 3, Urban Crisis: Fire and Water
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonUrban Crisis: Fire and Water is the third e-seminar in The History of the City of New York, a series based on Kenneth T. Jackson's legendary course, which he has taught for over three decades, on the history of New York City. In this e-seminar, Professor Jackson examines the various ways that over the years New York City has responded to fires and water supply problems, two of the serious challenges faced by urban populations.

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The History of the City of New York—E-Seminar 4, Urban Crisis: Disease, Crime, and Space
Columbia Learning Experiences
Kenneth T. JacksonIn this fourth in a series of eight e-seminars, Professor Kenneth T. Jackson, examines public space in New York and focuses on the creation of Central Park. He also discusses the creation of the Metropolitan Board of Health, the implementation of health and sanitary regulations as a response to outbreaks of cholera, and the founding of the New York City Police Department.

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America's Battle for a Cure: The Culture and Politics of Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment
Columbia Learning Experiences
Barron H. LernerTo understand a disease, you must first understand the culture in which that disease exists. Understanding breast cancer in the United States requires understanding the war metaphor that defines it. In this e-seminar, Barron Lerner, associate professor of medicine and public health at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, reveals how America's fight against breast cancer has shaped our treatment of the disease from the turn of the nineteenth century to today.

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Introduction to Cardiac Care
Columbia Learning Experiences
Benjamin LewisHeart disease is America's leading killer. More women die each year from heart disease than men. Yet far too few of us really understand our heart—how it works, how to care for it when it's healthy, how to treat it when it's not. In this e-seminar, Dr. Benjamin H. Lewis teaches medical consumers about their hearts.

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The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Guide to Surgery
Columbia Learning Experiences
Eric A. Rose, M.D., and leading Columbia surgeonsFar too often, patients blindly accept a recommendation to have surgery. Whether overwhelmed by an abundance of confusing medical information, unwilling to question their physician's advice, or simply too afraid to consider the implications of surgery, many patients never truly evaluate their surgical options. In this e-seminar, Eric A. Rose, Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, empowers patients with the necessary set of tools to make informed decisions about surgery.

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The Politics of Pollution—A Series of Two E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
David Rosner and Gerald MarkowitzIn their two-part series The Politics of Pollution, Professors David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz examine the impact of industrial production on the well-being of workers and consumers alike. They explain how corporations have sought to avoid regulation and scandal by concealing negative health effects associated with their product, and they discuss the public outrage and activism that results when such hazards are revealed.

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The Politics of Pollution—E-Seminar 1, Lead Poisoning and the Industrial Age
Columbia Learning Experiences
David Rosner and Gerald MarkowitzIn Lead Poisoning in the Industrial Age, the first e-seminar in a two-part series, Professors Rosner and Markowitz focus on the lead industry as emblematic of industrial pollution and industrial disease in the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries.

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The Politics of Pollution—E-Seminar 2, The Modern Threat of Plastics
Columbia Learning Experiences
David Rosner and Gerald MarkowitzIn The Modern Threat of Plastics, the second e-seminar in the series The Politics of Pollution, Professors Rosner and Markowitz focus on plastics—in particular, polyvinyl chloride (PVC)—as the paradigmatic substance of industrial disease of the second half of the twentieth century.

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The Politics of Health Care—A Series of Six E-Seminars
Columbia Learning Experiences
Michael S. SparerIn The Politics of Health Care, a series of six e-seminars, Michael S. Sparer, associate professor of public health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, discusses the evolution of the health-care system in the United States, its existing framework, and current policy proposals.

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The Politics of Health Care—E-Seminar 1, The Roots of Health Care in the United States
Columbia Learning Experiences
Michael S. SparerPrior to the 1940s, American federal and state governments played a minor role in the nation's health-care system. But gradually, with the rise of the hospital and the increasing sophistication of the medical profession in the late-nineteenth century, governments began to regulate health care, especially as the system of health insurance evolved, first sponsored by the hospitals themselves, later by nonprofits and, starting in the 1970s, by commercial providers.

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The Politics of Health Care—E-Seminar 2, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Legacy of the New Deal
Columbia Learning Experiences
Michael S. SparerMost Americans get their health-care insurance through their employers. But what happens to those Americans who fall outside this system? What happens to the unemployed, the elderly, and the disabled, and to employees who do not receive health insurance from their employers? Who pays for their health care?

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The Politics of Health Care—E-Seminar 3, The Uninsured
Columbia Learning Experiences
Michael S. SparerToday, over 40 million Americans lack health insurance—increasing their risk of receiving poor-quality health care and of becoming ill. The uninsured in America are less likely to receive necessary diagnostic tests and more likely to forego recommended therapies. For example, uninsured children are less likely to be treated for ear infections than children who have health insurance. Similarly, uninsured women are less likely to undergo regular mammograms to screen for breast cancer, while uninsured men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer at a later stage of the disease.

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The Politics of Health Care—E-Seminar 4, Managing the Managed-Care Revolution
Columbia Learning Experiences
Michael S. SparerIn the fourth e-seminar in his series The Politics of Health Care, Michael S. Sparer, associate professor of public health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, discusses the rise of health-maintenance organizations (HMOs) and other forms of managed care.

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The Politics of Health Care—E-Seminar 5, Managed Care in the Public Sector
Columbia Learning Experiences
Michael S. SparerIn the fifth e-seminar in his six-part series The Politics of Health Care, Michael S. Sparer, associate professor of public health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, explores the divergent paths of managed care in the public sector, comparing its respective impact on Medicaid and Medicare to date and discussing its future.

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The Politics of Health Care—E-Seminar 6, Long-Term Care
Columbia Learning Experiences
Michael S. SparerIn the final e-seminar in his six-part series, The Politics of Health Care, Michael S. Sparer, associate professor of public health at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health, investigates the crisis in long-term care in America.

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