Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities is a web-based, professional development program that promotes the integration of policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) change approaches with educational strategies. The program was designed for organizations* whose work focuses on health promotion, to help staff understand, reflect, and act on the many factors that influence whether individuals can easily make healthy choices.
*For those unable to participate with an organization, the program has been adapted for individual participation.
Five online modules and two toolkits are the primary source of content for the program. Modules average about 60 minutes each, with material presented through activities, examples, stories, reflection questions, and interactive exercises. Participation in the course offers 5 hours of continuing education and has been pre-approved by:
The National Commission on Health Education Credentialing
The National Board of Public Health Examiners
Participants will learn:
Examples of systems-thinking including the Social-Ecological Model, Spectrum of Prevention, and PSE concepts.
Skills to expand your work across many levels to impact policies, systems, and environments.
Strategies and tools for strengthening engagement, communicating with partners, and understanding community context.
For more details on the program content, including learning objectives, download the Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities program summary (PDF).
Originally developed in 2015, the program has gone through two pilot phases and a peer review. For the full program history, download the development timeline and 2019 highlights.
Participate as an organization
Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities was designed to be taken as a group. Organizations, departments, networks and coalitions have all participated. In addition to the online modules and two toolkits, the organizational option includes:
Coaching process and coach guide
Three online consultations
Knowing Your Organization tool
Organizations can start the program at any time that fits their schedule
Cost — $4000 (cap of 200 participants)
Do you have a team smaller than 40 participants? Contact us to discuss how we can customize this program to your team size.
Participate as an individual
If you are unable to participate with an organization or group, the program has been adapted for individual participation. Individual participants will work at their own pace and complete self reflection activities to support learning. Individuals can begin the course at any time. We recommend completing the course in 10-12 weeks.
Cost — $75 per individual participant
Please note the individual option does not include program add-ons from the organizational version including coaching resources, consultations, and the Knowing Your Organization tool. If you have multiple people from your organization who would like to participate, we encourage you to select the organizational option. We can customize this program to your budget and needs.
One person from your organization will purchase the Systems Approaches for Healthy Communities program for their organization. Once your organization has purchased the program, up to 200 participants can register for access to the online course site. When you are ready to have participants register, you will direct them to Participant Registration.
The program is purchased through the University of Minnesota online registration system. Follow the instructions in the registration system to register your organization using a credit card. Our preferred way to accept payment is by credit card. If your organization must pay by check, you will need to start the purchase process by completing the Direct Billing Contact Form.
For important step by step instructions as you register your organization, download the Step by Step Instructions (PDF) for purchasing the program.
If your organization has purchased the program, you can register here through the University of Minnesota online registration system by completing the participant registration. This will give you access to the course site where you can complete the program Pre-Survey, view the online modules, and access other program resources.
For important step by step instructions as you register, download the Participant Registration Step by Step Instructions (PDF).
If you are not participating in the program through a registered organization, you can register as an individual participant for one of our upcoming cohorts through the University of Minnesota online registration system. This will give you access to the course site where you can complete the program Pre-Survey, view the online modules, and access other program resources.
For important step by step instructions as you register, download the Individual Participant Step by Step Instructions (PDF).
Already Registered as an individual participant? Access the course here.
The license for the program is good for 18 months. If your organization would like to renew your license to maintain access to the modules, toolkit and other program resources, below are the options for renewal:
- Extend your current license for an additional 18 months. This continues access for current participants and allows the addition of new participants if you haven’t reached your maximum of 200 participants limit = $2000.
- Access for new participants (up to 40) = $1000. *Please note: If only this option is selected, current participants will no longer have access after the initial 18 months. This can be purchased as a standalone option or in combination with extending your current license.
The program is renewed through the University of Minnesota online registration system. Follow the instructions in the registration system to renew your organization's license using a credit card. Our preferred way to accept payment is by credit card. If your organization must pay by check, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to start the renewal process. In your email, please let us know of any updates to your billing contact information.
Reviewed in 2023