Course Syllabus


Public Health Policy in Practice


DIS Logo


Semester & Location:

Summer 2024, Session 3 - DIS Stockholm

Type & Credits:

Summer Course - 3 credits

Major Disciplines:

Public Health, Pre-Medicine/Health Science

Faculty Members:

Jad Shedrawy (current students please use the Canvas Inbox)

Program Director:

Susana Dietrich

Academic Support: 

Time & Place:

See each day in the syllabus below for exact times

Classroom TBA



Course Description

Sweden is facing a number of current challenges, including achieving cost-effectiveness in health care, and addressing public health concerns relating to migration and increasing inequalities. This course provides an overview of the Swedish health system, in relation to the broader welfare state, and in relation to other Scandinavian and European countries. Through a number of case studies, students will gain insight into how Scandinavian countries, particularly Sweden, assess public health challenges through research and economic evaluation. Furthermore, students will explore, analyze, and discuss how public health policies are developed and implemented in practice.


Learning Objectives

After successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Understand the principles of health policies, health systems, policy triangle and prevention within public health
  • Analyse, explain and discuss the Swedish health care system and welfare state
  • Compare the Swedish system with other European and high-income countries
  • Compare and discuss different policy options for addressing current public health challenges in Sweden
  • Discuss the use of health economics in setting health policy
  • Understand the role of different organisations in addressing health policies 
  • Reflect on how policies are implemented in practice including emergency settings 


  Jad updated.jpg  

Jad Shedrawy

A researcher working within the fields of Health Economics, Migrant health, Health Policies and Infectious Diseases Control. Jad obtained his PhD at the Global Public Health department at Karolinska institutet which focused on health economics and Tuberculosis control. Msc in Health Economy, Policy and Management. Bs in Pharmacy. With DIS since 2019.


Teaching Methods

Different teaching formats will be used. The course may be a mix of interactive lectures, class discussions, group work, student presentations and peer feedback. A major part of the course will be based on debating issues, and students are expected to engage actively in oral presentations, discussions, group work and exercises.


Field studies

Three field studies are being planned.  (1)  a healthy cities walk around Stockholm, where students will approach public health policy in practice. Through a guided walk through neighbourhoods of Stockholm, students will identify risk factors for health and public health responses for health promotion. (2) a visit to the alcohol museum to understand the history of Swedish alcohol policies and the current challenges  . (3) "Preglife" visit will allow students to understand the policies and regulation around pregnancy and maternal health while reflecting on the role of technologies in promoting health policies. Further information regarding the visits will be provided as the dates approach. The field visit sites are subject to change.

During field studies, we take the classroom on the road and see how theory presented in the classroom is translated into practice in the field. 


Expectations for field studies

  • Engage in discussions, ask questions, and contribute to achieving the learning objectives
  • Respect the destination, the speakers, DIS staff, and your fellow classmates
  • Represent yourself, your home university and DIS in a positive light


Evaluation and Grading

To be eligible for a passing grade in this class all of the assigned work must be completed.

Late assignments will be accepted, but the grade for the paper will be reduced.

The factors influencing the final grade and the proportional importance of each factor is shown below:




Participation and engagement

15 %

Study tour reflection paper


Final exam

30 %


Participation and engagement

Participation is measured in regard to both attendance and academic activity level during class and study tour.

Group Work and Presentation

Students will work together on analysing the health system and policies of a European country and present their results at the end of the course. Further details on the assignment will be given at the beginning of the course.


Final Exam

Students will do a final exam that will assess the knowledge gained throughout the course.


Expectations of Students & Code of Conduct

  • Laptops may be used for note‐taking, fact‐checking, or assignment in the classroom, but only when indicated by the instructor. At all other times laptops and electronic devices should be put away during class time.
  • Reading must be done prior to the class session; a huge part of the class is dependent on discussions in class.
  • Students need to be present and participating to receive full credit. The final grade will be affected by unexcused absences and lack of participation. Remember to be in class on time!
  • Classroom etiquette includes being respectful of other opinions, listening to others and entering a dialogue in a constructive manner.
  • Students are expected to ask relevant questions in regards to the material covered.


Academic Regulations  

Please make sure to read the Academic Regulations on the DIS website. There you will find regulations on:

Required Readings 

  • Anell A, Glenngård AH, Merkur, S. (2012) Sweden: Health system review. Health Systems in Transition. WHO Regional Office for Europe. Chapter 1, 2, 3 and the Executive Summary.
  • Braveman and Gruskin (2003): Defining equity in health
  • Buse, Mays, and Walt (2012): Making Health Policy, Chapters 1 & 4
  • Caroline Chatwin: Mixed messages from Europe on Drug Policy Reform: The Cases of Sweden and the Netherlands
  • Carroll and Frakt (2017): The Best Health Care System in the World: Which One Would You Pick? (NYT Quiz)
  • Cassandra Vinogra (2018): His Dad Didn't Want Him To Draw. Dad Didn't Know Best
  • Daniel Trilling (2018): Five myths about the refugee crisis
  • Don Marquis: ”An argument that abortion is wrong”
  • Fahy et al (2017): How will Brexit affect health and health services in the UK? Evaluating three possible scenarios
  • Government Offices of Sweden: Ministry of Health and Social Affairs: Swedish Drug Policy - A balanced policy based on health and human rights
  • Government Offices of Sweden: Sweden's strategy for cooperation with the WHO 2016-2019
  • Greer et al 2014: Everything you always wanted to know about European Union health policies, available online (summary and chapter 3 only)
  • Greer, Wismar and Figueras (2016): Strengthening Health System Governance: Better policies, stronger performance, Chapter 9, “Understanding the role of governance in the pharmaceutical sector: from laboratory to patient” (by Jonathan Cylus, Olivier Wouters and Panos Kanavos)
  • Johan Hjertqvist : 'Sweden's healthcare is an embarrassment' (originally written in Swedish by Svenska Dagbladet)
  • Judith Jarvis Thomson: A Defense of Abortion
  • Karin Svanborg-Sjövall: Swedish healthcare is the best in the world, but there are still lessons to learn
  • Landman (2017): Making Primary Care Trans-Friendly
  • Marmot (2005): Social Determinants of health inequalities
  • Martha Bebinger: Has Your Doctor Talked To You About Climate Change?
  • McKee, M. (2017) 2017: A challenging year for public health in Europe
  • Michael Drummond: Methods for the Economic Evaluation of Health Care, Chapter 1
  • Neda Ulaby (2018): Henrietta Lacks' Lasting Impact Detailed In New Portrait
  • Peter Singer: ”Taking life (an excerpt from his book Practical ethics)
  • Sarah Boseley (2018): How do you build a healthy city? Copenhagen reveals its secrets
  • Sarah Boseley (2018): Why do new medicines cost so much, and what can we do about it?
  • Schneider et al (2017): Mirror, Mirror 2017: International Comparison Reflects Flaws and Opportunities for Better U.S. Health Care (Commonwealth Fund)
  • Sir Michael Marmot: Social Determinants of Health (2014 WORLD.MINDS) (required video watching, available on Youtube)
  • Sweden Sverige: Healthcare in Sweden (
  • Trinity Long Room Hub Arts & Humanities Research Institute: Abortion in Modern Ireland (plus podcast at end of article)
  • Watts et al (2017): The Lancet Countdown on health and climate change: from 25 years of inaction to a global transformation for public health (read executive summary)
  • WHO European Healthy Cities Network (online access)
  • World Health Organization 2016 : The Global Guardian of Public Health
  • Aaron Bernstein: What does biodiversity loss mean for our health?


DIS - Study Abroad in Scandinavia -


Course Summary:

Date Details Due