Health: A Biopsychosocial Inquiry


Fall 2014 and Winter 2015 quarters

Taught by

cognitive psychology
sociology, journalism, communication
health science, public health, bioethics

Is ADHD a real disease? Should vaccinations be mandatory? When, if ever, should health care be rationed? Are eating disorders contagious? Should Evergreen ban smoking? Questions such as these arise in the intersections of public and private health, and demand that we examine our individual beliefs and practices, our biological selves, and our medical policies and institutions.

This two-quarter interdisciplinary program will build a background in human biology, introductory psychology, and sociology, affording students the knowledge to help make informed analytical choices in their own lives, and to investigate health and health policies from a societal level. Attaining good health is a multifaceted process, therefore our exploration of healthy lifestyles will include an exploration of physiological, psychological, financial, and emotional health. We will learn what choices and decisions we can make that will lead to a better quality of life throughout the lifespan.

Enhancing our study of human systems biology (introductory anatomy and physiology in fall and winter, introductory nutrition in winter), we will examine topics such as cancer, tobacco, and HIV/AIDS, the Affordable Care Act, how cultures interact with medical systems, and end-of-life decision-making. Our study of nutrition will include current controversies and new trends in nutritional research and the roles of carbohydrates, fats, and lipoprotein metabolism in common diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

These specific topics will provide the platform to explore concepts in medical sociology such as health care systems, 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 confronted by health care professionals.

The program format will include workshops, lectures, films, seminars, physiology labs, guest presentations and group and individual projects. We will focus on clarity in oral and written communication, critical thinking skills, basic microscopy and dissection skills, and the ability to work across significant differences.

Students who complete both quarters will have a solid foundation in human physiology, psychology, and medical sociology with a working knowledge of the biological, social and ethical principles relating to human health and public health. Credit may be earned in introduction to human anatomy and physiology, introduction to psychology, and medical sociology.

Program Details

Fields of Study

Preparatory for studies or careers in

allied health fields, public health, medicine, psychology, sociology, education, and social work.

Location and Schedule

Campus location



Offered during: Day


Buy books for this program through Greener Bookstore.

Online Learning

Enhanced Online Learning: Access to web-based tools required, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.


Date Revision
November 24th, 2014 Description has been updated.
October 29th, 2014 Wen Wang will be teaching through winter quarter.
May 8th, 2014 New opportunity added.

Registration Information

Credits: 16 (Fall); 16 (Winter)

Class standing: Sophomore–Senior

Maximum enrollment: 75


Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 10270
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 10601

Go to to register for this program.


Accepting New Students

Course Reference Numbers

So - Sr (16 credits): 20179
So - Sr (1-16 credits): 20292

Go to to register for this program.

Need Help Finding the Right Program?

Contact Academic Advising for help in answering your questions, planning your future and solving problems.