This course is about understanding the determinants of health from a broad
perspective. We focus on how social relationships and institutions -- such
as familial relationships, national policies, and global economic forces
-- promote or undermine the health of populations. The course covers existing
evidence of health disparities, research methods, and theories relevant
to the topic.
The course is interesting because it reveals the so-called fundamental
causes of disease and health disparities recognizable within social groups.
For example, we examine why a flu germ can affect whole groups of people
differently. In short, the course challenges the notion that health is
a narrowly defined medical problem.
Students in the course will listen to lectures, read provided materials,
and complete quizzes and tests that examine comprehension and one's ability
to synthesize ideas.
Upon completion of the course students should:
- have a deep appreciation for how social arrangements impact the health
- be able to critically evaluate the scientific and popular health literature
that address the causes of disease,
- be able to measure key social drivers such as race and socioeconomic status,
- be able to conceive of research strategies that can answer questions critical
for policy making.
Week 1: Background and History
What is social epidemiology and where did it come from? What is different
Week 2: Issues
What are the fundamental issues (e.g., environment, race, genetics) in/for
Week 3: Health Disparities
How can social epidemiology improve our understanding of the identification
and analysis of, if not remedies for, health disparities?
Week 4: Theories and Constructs
What theories and/or constructs are fundamental to social epidemiology?
Week 5: Measurement
What are some fundamental measurement issues in social epidemiology?
Week 6: Design & Inference
What are some fundamental design and analysis tools in social epidemiology?
Week 7: Doing Things
What social epidemiological interventions work and fail, and why?