Health Inequity: Telling the Story and Changing It


Fall 2013, Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Taught by

community and international health
Native American studies, history, women's studies
communication, social studies

This year-long program will introduce the scope and tools of communication, social science, and public health.  Public health and prevention are often the invisible part of health policy.  Those who are healthy or whose diseases have been prevented never know what they missed.  Yet we know that all people are not equally likely to have long and healthy lives.  Understanding the factors associated with health and wellness, including the effects of class, race, and ethnicity, was the focus of fall quarter.  In addition we considered ways that communication between health providers and people who use health services can affect health outcomes, particularly in cross-cultural and cross-class contexts. 

Our work during fall quarter equipped us for winter and spring quarters, when we will focus on the specific challenges to health and wellbeing that Native American people in the Salish Sea region face, in terms of cultural as well as physical survival.

During winter and spring quarters, the Grays Harbor program will focus on the Peoples of the Salish Sea (Puget Sound, Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Georgia Straits).  Central elements of the winter and spring portions of the program will include the colonization of Native peoples of the Salish Sea that accompanied European settlement, Indigenous resistance, rights and cultural renewal, a critique of current policies and practices that have not promoted the achievement of social or health equity, and the public health and social policies that may intervene to improve overall health and wellness in the surrounding communities.  We will explore the intersection of place, culture, and health and how these factors reflect inequity in access to—and degradation of—resources in and around the Salish Sea.  We will examine these themes through multiple lenses including political ecology, public health, history, and Native studies. Our readings will include current case studies, empirical research, and counter-narratives.

The overarching questions that will carry us through these two quarters include how European settlement has affected the wellbeing of the Salish peoples, the interaction through time and space between Native and non-Native peoples, and the effects of these interactions on health, wellbeing, and sustainability of these communities.  We will also examine ways in which lessons from history and current vulnerabilities can help us create a viable and equitable future that will heal and honor the Salish Sea and all its people. During spring quarter the program plans to visit the Elwha River and learn about the history of the Elwha River ecosystem as a case study and example of social injustice.  We will study the effects of the Elwha Dam as well as the expected effects of dam removal on the Elwha ecosystem, tribal sovereignty, and overall health and wellness of the Elwha Klallam people.

Throughout the year, learning will take place through writing, readings, seminars, lectures, films, art, and guest speakers.  Students will improve their research skills through document review, observations, critical analysis, and written assignments. Verbal skills will be improved through small group and whole class seminar discussions and through individual final project presentations. 

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

education, community organizing, health, social work, native studies

Location and Schedule

Campus location

Grays Harbor


Offered during: Weekend

Advertised schedule: Sat/Sun (fall: 9a-4p Sep 28-29, Oct 12-13, 26-27, Nov 9-10, 23-24, Dec 7-8; winter: 9a-5p Jan 11-12, 25-26, Feb 8-9, 22-23, Mar 8-9; spring: 9a-5p Apr 5-6, 19-20, May 3-4, 17-18, May 31-June 1). Note that the first classes are the weekend before week one of fall quarter. The first Sunday class fall quarter (Sep. 29) meets at the TESC Olympia campus. All other classes meet at Grays Harbor College.


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Online Learning

Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online

More information about online learning.

Required Fees

$35 each quarter for computer access at Grays Harbor College


Date Revision
December 12th, 2013 Winter and Spring Quarter classes changed to end at 5pm rather than 4pm.
December 3rd, 2013 First classes Winter Quarter and Spring Quarter will now meet at Grays Harbor College (not at Olympia campus as previously advertised).
October 23rd, 2013 Spring weekend dates added.
September 27th, 2013 Winter weekend dates added.
July 23rd, 2013 Change to fall schedule. First Saturday class now meets at Grays Harbor College and first Sunday class meets at TESC Olympia campus.
July 23rd, 2013 $35 requred fee added
May 8th, 2013 Corrected schedule to reflect earlier release time.
May 6th, 2013 Dates for fall have been added. Note that the first weekend of fall is scheduled at the beginning of week 1 of the quarter.
March 11th, 2013 Added to the online catalog.

Registration Information

Credits: 8 (Fall); 8 (Winter); 8 (Spring)

Class standing: Junior–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 50


Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (8 credits): 10251

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Accepting New Students

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (8 credits): 20206

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Accepting New Students

Course Reference Number

Jr - Sr (8 credits): 30186

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