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Department: Epidemiology
Term: 2nd term
Credits: 3 credits
Academic Year: 2012 - 2013
Course Instructor:

Reviews the conceptual and theoretical underpinnings of social epidemiology from an historical perspective and then focuses on the scientific findings in the field from the 1970s until today. Since the influence of social context on behavior is well known, and forms the backbone for most health promotion interventions, students initially examine how the social environment influences behavior by shaping norms, reinforcing social control, providing environmental opportunity, and coping strategies. Students use a contextual multi-level approach to explore how social processes influence the etiology and course of common diseases, including socioeconomic position; discrimination; income inequality; control and demands (focusing on the workplace); and social integration/social support/social capital.

Learning Objective(s):

At the end of this course, students will be able to: 1) Explain the historical and theoretical underpinnings of the field of social epidemiology and understand the major unsolved issues confronting the field. 2) Demonstrate the quality and limitations of measurement of key social conditions influencing health and illness of populations. 3) Distinguish between psychological (individual-based) approaches to understanding health disparities from the social perspective (community-based), and demonstrate how the empirical literature critically supports these differences for a particular health or disease state. 4) Operate within and facilitate a discussion group format.

Methods of Assessment: class participation, individual presentation and facilitation of group discussion, and final paper
Location: East Baltimore
Class Times:
  • Tuesday 10:30 - 11:50
  • Thursday 10:30 - 11:50
Enrollment Minimum: 10
Enrollment Maximum: 50
Instructor Consent: No consent required

340.751 or 340.601 or equivalent.

Grading Restriction: Letter Grade or Pass/Fail