Public Health Financial Management

Course Description:

This course provides an overview of the principles of finance, discussions regarding finance issues related to public health, and understanding of financial management of public health programs and activities. Module I will focus on basic concepts of budgeting in public health organizations. The second unit in this course examines issues primarily related to managerial or cost accounting. The primary focus of managerial accounting is the use of financial data in administrative decision making. Module III focuses specifically on capital budgeting decisions. The final module determines the importance of integrating strategic and financial planning. Financial plans ensure that resources are allocated in a way that is consistent with the strategic direction of the agency.

Target Audience

Academic Faculty/Staff, Federal Government Employees, State Government Employees, Local Government Employees, Non-Government Employees and Students

Learning Objectives

Module 1: Financial Management for Public Health Managers

  • Discuss the sources of revenues for state and local public health agencies  
  • Discuss the reasons why budgets and budgeting is an important part of financial management in public health organizations  
  • Discuss the nature of matching funds, in-kind funds, and indirect allocations  
  • Discuss the difference between cash and accrual basis accounting  
  • Describe how unexpected factors can influence the budgeting process  
  • Define three different types of budgets

Module 2: Essential Concepts of Financial and Managerial Accounting Part 1

  • Describe how management accounting is used in private and public organizations  
  • Explain difference between balance sheets and income statements  
  • Discuss the difference between fixed and variable cost  
  • Discuss the general cost categories found in most organizations
  • Explain what is meant by responsibility accounting  
  • Describe what is meant by break-even analysis and how this tool can be used for managerial decision making in public health organizations

Module 3: Essential Concepts of Financial and Managerial Accounting Part 2

  • Describe the distinguishing characteristics of capital assets  
  • Explain why public health organizations do not usually have capital budgets in the same sense as private sector firms  
  • Discuss what is meant by “funding depreciation” on capital assets and the associated challenges for public health organizations relative to maintaining capital assets  
  • Discuss the primary bases upon which capital decisions are made in most public health organizations  
  • Explain what is meant by the time value of money  
  • Describe briefly some methods by which capital asset acquisition may be evaluated  

Module 4: Financial Management for Public Health Managers

  • Discuss how strategic plans are related to the budgets of public health organizations  
  • Understand the complex challenge that public health managers face in ensuring financial plans are consistent with and contribute to the strategic plan  
  • Discuss some of the unique challenged faced by public health managers in attempting to effectively manage their unit’s financial resources  
  • Differentiate among strategic, business or operational, and budgetary plans
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 7.00 Participation/CE
    Tulane Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) awards 7.00 hour(s) of credit for completing Public Health Financial Management
Course opens: 
Course expires: 


W. Jack Duncan, PhD

Dr. Duncan is Professor and University Scholar in Management in the Graduate School of Management, Professor of Health Care Organization and Policy and a Senior Scholar in the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy in the School of Public Health, and Professor of Health Services Administration in the School of Health Related Professions at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Available Credit

  • 7.00 Participation/CE
    Tulane Professional and Continuing Education (PaCE) awards 7.00 hour(s) of credit for completing Public Health Financial Management


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Required Hardware/software

System Settings 
This course is designed to work most effectively if your computer and internet connection meet certain minimal requirements. This course can be accessed using a Windows 10 PC or a Mac with High Sierra1, Mojave, or Catalina. Pop-up blockers should be disabled when viewing the course. Internet Explorer 11 (for Windows 10), or the current version of Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, or Apple Safari (for Windows 10 and or Mac) is required. Many of our courses require Java and JavaScript enabled. 

Links to External Websites   
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Adobe Acrobat Reader (for desktops and laptops)  
Adobe Acrobat Reader is required to access some documents in this course. If you need to download a free copy of Acrobat Reader, click here.  

Internet Connection Speed 
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