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Center on Domestic Violence, School of Public Affairs

School of Public Affairs

program structure

The CIVHC program is designed for health care professionals, students of the health sciences and those who want to further their education and training to become health advocates for victims of domestic violence. Conveniently structured for distance learners, the majority of course work is administered through brief intensive periods of study in Denver. This makes the completing the program feasible for a wide audience.

CIVHC students come from across the country and represent a variety of disciplines, making for a rich learning environment.  Students are accepted into the program as a cohort—a group that takes courses in tandem and participates in organized events and activities featuring local and national experts. Cohort sessions explore practical applications to classroom knowledge and build a personal and professional network students may turn to throughout their careers.

The certificate is comprised of five courses designed to provide participants with a comprehensive understanding of the role of health care providers and domestic violence through an interdisciplinary lens.

Courses required for completion of the certificate are:

  • Women and Violence: A Sociological Perspective
    This course addresses violence against women and girls from a feminist sociological perspective.  Course materials examine how ideologies, political economies and social institutions that support gender inequality are related to violence committed against women and girls.  Students undertake a close and detailed critique of contemporary American media images of women and draw analogies to historical perpetration of violence against women such as European witchburning, Chinese footbinding, Indian suttee and female genital mutilation.  The intersection of sexism and other forms of oppression, such as racism, classism and heterosexism will also be discussed.
  • Psychology of Domestic Violence
    This course addresses the contributions and the limitations of current empirical and clinical psychological literatures about domestic violence and focuses primarily on the effects of domestic violence on women and children and on their psychological needs. Topics include theories about the effects of violence, psychological assessment, crisis and open-ended interventions.
  • Battered Women and the Legal System
    The purpose of this course is to examine the criminal and civil justice system’s response to domestic violence by focusing on the interactions between battered women and the individual components of the legal system (law enforcement, prosecution and the courts).  By exploring these dynamics and connections, this course will address the theory, history, research, legislation and policy implications related to the legal system’s response to violence against women. 
  • Interpersonal Violence and Health
    This course introduces students to the topic of interpersonal violence (IPV) from a health care perspective.  Students will discuss the prevalence of IPV; examine the health effects and economic impacts of interpersonal violence; address the health care professional’s role in primary prevention, patient screening and intervention; and review legal issues and professional standards relevant to health care professionals and victims of interpersonal violence. A practicum is required for all students.
  • Interpersonal Violence, Health Advocacy and Systems Change
    This course provides students with an understanding of different models of health advocacy and strategies for achieving systems change in the health care sector.  We explore the strategies, tactics, strengths and weaknesses of contemporary public health campaigns, such as the anti-smoking, breast cancer awareness, and AIDS prevention campaigns, and how health care professionals can develop successful public and institutional discourses that transform health care policies and systems to address the needs of patients who have experienced interpersonal violence.  Students will learn specific methods of advocacy, activism and organizational change that are most likely to produce positive results in a health care setting. A practicum is required for all students.

Students participating in the CIVHC program may apply for either academic credit or continuing education credit.
This program is a part of the Colorado Statewide Extended Campus. State funds were not used to develop or administer this program.


The UC Denver College of Nursing is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Colorado Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.

Continuing education credits may also be available in the dentistry, medical and social work professions. | Physical Address: 1380 Lawrence St., Ste. 500  Denver, CO  80204 | Mailing Address: University of Colorado Denver, SPA, Campus Box 142, P.O. Box 173364, Denver, CO 80217-3364 | ph: 303.315.2228 | fax: 303.315.2229 | SPA Website Feedback

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