PHAB Course


This highly interactive course examines the concepts of health and boundary spanning and how the synergy of the two can produce new, effective approaches to promoting health. Students and faculty will co-create new understanding by analyzing examples of individuals, initiatives, and organizations boundary spanning for health.  Together, we will identify factors affecting health, compare and contrast boundary spanning practices that promote or inhibit health.  Students will learn case study methods and apply them to their own case study of an exemplar on boundary spanning and health, and will co-create a cross-case analysis of case studies from the entire class.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Evaluate theories, methods, principles and critical skill sets needed to successfully implement boundary-spanning activities to promote health.
  2. Describe the complexity of health and how boundary spanning might be a more effective approach to promoting health than isolated approaches.
  3. Conduct case study and comparative case study analyses.
  4. Apply boundary-spanning principles to real-life situations.

Promoting Health Across Boundaries (PHAB) has a unique course format commensurate with the course material, expectations, and co-created learning approach.  The intensive course format (five 8-hour classes over three weekends) requires students to be prepared and highly engaged. Four key ideas underpin this course offering:

  1. PHAB fulfills the university Forward Thinking goal of promoting cross-disciplinary scholarship;
  2. A gap in academic offerings is bridged by moving beyond existing courses that explore the concept of health, the practice of medicine and nursing, or the management of organizations to explore how individuals, initiatives and organizations work together in ways that promote and enable health;
  3. PHAB responds to the interest across disciplines for exploration of the principles and philosophy of boundary spanning as a way to build new knowledge and expertise; and
  4. Students develop hands-on expertise in creating and learning from and across case studies.

Conceptual framework

Health derives from social, environmental, organizational, behavioral and biological factors, and the relationship between these factors. Boundary spanning is a set of processes and skills used to reach across sectors or borders to manage complex issues. Through an understanding of health and boundary spanning, individuals and organizations can design and implement trans-disciplinary actions that address the whole person, whole systems and whole communities to create (promote) health.