2013-14 Catalog

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Offering Description

The Science and Sociology of Human Health


Fall 2013, Winter 2014 and Spring 2014 quarters

Carolyn Prouty health science, public health, bioethics , Trisha Vickrey , Wenhong Wang (F,W) sociology, journalism, communication
Fields of Study
biology, chemistry, health and sociology
Preparatory for studies or careers in
health-related fields, biology, and sociology.

This introductory, three-quarter interdisciplinary program explores the basics of health and illness through the lenses of biology, chemistry and medical sociology.  We will focus on the social, cultural and scientific aspects of human health and health care primarily in the U.S., with some comparative examination of global health topics. Our case-based approach will incorporate human biology, anatomy, physiology, nutrition,  general chemistry and statistics, while also examining the social aspects of health, illness, and health care.

Enhancing our study of human systems biology and chemistry, we will examine topics such as epilepsy, cancer, diabetes, tobacco, and HIV/AIDS, how cultures interact with medical systems, and end-of-life decision-making. These specific topics will provide a platform to explore health care systems and health care reform, social and cultural constructions of health and illness, the social determinants of health, role development of health care professionals and their relationships with patients, and ethical issues involved in medical fields. We’ll also cover basic descriptive and inferential statistics, which will give us quantitative tools to untangle some of the complex issues within these topics.

Program activities will include lectures, seminar, lab work, workshops, small-group problem solving, guest lectures, film viewing, and individual and group projects. Students will undertake writing, and statistical assignments focused on interpreting and integrating the topics covered. Students will learn the foundational skills of scientific research; how to find, interpret, and evaluate primary medical literature; and how to critically examine issues related to human health through a variety of lenses.

Students who complete three quarters will have a solid foundation in human biology, chemistry, human anatomy, physiology, nutrition, statistics, and medical sociology with a working knowledge of the scientific, social and ethical principles relating to human health and public health.

Schedule and Location
Online Learning
Hybrid Online Learning < 25% Delivered Online
Greener Store
Required Fees
$20 in fall for exhibit admission fees.
Offered During

Program Revisions

Date Revision
January 31st, 2014 This program will accept new enrollment with faculty approval.
June 25th, 2013 $20 fall fee added.
May 6th, 2013 New opportunity added.