Abbie Heffelfinger

BA, Sarah Lawrence College. MSPH, MSW, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Global health practitioner with experience in foundation partnerships, grant management, polio eradication, refugee mental health, HIV prevention in Sub-Saharan Africa, health systems strengthening, health workforce, and community-based development. SLC, 2016–

Previous Courses

MA Health Advocacy

Capstone Seminar

In-Person Intensive and Online

The Capstone Seminar is broken into four two-week segments and provides a strategic perspective on the evolving healthcare field and the skills required to successfully navigate the rapidly changing profession in a system that is undergoing significant reform. The seminar is designed to facilitate students' work on the capstone projects, affording a group setting in which to explore ideas and refine project parameters, connect the project to broader advocacy concepts and career development opportunities, and receive regular feedback on capstone progress. Students integrate academic learning with field experience and examine how theoretical advocacy themes are made operational in workplace settings. The capstone project builds on the third and final fieldwork placement. Capstone is designed to enhance the coherence of students’ educational experiences and further develop their sense of professional identity. The first three segments of the Capstone Seminar are online; the fourth and final segment begins with one week online and concludes with a weekend, in-person intensive.


Program Design and Evaluation


Health advocacy issues are addressed in many different ways, typically involving some type of direct intervention. This course will provide an overview of, and a critical reflection on, the program design and evaluation process. Students will discuss and study elements of design and evaluation, the major theoretical and political orientations to evaluation research, and the practical, ethical, and methodological problems involved in applying research methods to understanding social change. Thus, this course will also serve as an introduction to the methodologies of community-based and participatory action research and practice. We will discuss how to approach program conception and implementation, including developing and measuring program goals and objectives, with a social-justice perspective. At the end of this course, students will be able to conceptually and practically understand the contours of how to thoughtfully plan, develop, and evaluate an intervention aimed at a health advocacy issue.