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Health Behavior Change at the Individual, Household and Community Levels

East Baltimore
2nd term
International Health
4 credits
Academic Year:
2017 - 2018
Class Times:
  • Tu Th,  8:30 - 10:20am
Auditors Allowed:
Yes, with instructor consent
Grading Restriction:
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor s:
Peter Winch

Provides students with conceptual tools to analyze health-related behaviors and the social, cultural and environmental context in which they occur. Draws concepts and theories from medical anthropology, psychology and sociology are applied to programmatic examples from Latin America, Africa and Asia concerning care-seeking, treatment of sick children, insecticide-treated mosquito nets, voluntary counseling and testing, sexual risk behaviors, intimate partner violence and other behavior change challenges in public health.

Learning Objectives:

Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe conceptual tools drawn from medical anthropology pertinent to design of behavior change interventions including standards of efficacy, illness taxonomies, illness etiology, levels of causality, meanings of medication, public and private domains, social risk and gender roles
  2. Identify and map the key components of common models of health behavior change at the individual level, and difficulties encountered when trying to apply them in different cultural contexts
  3. Dscribe psychological and anthropological perspectives on risk perceptions, and models of diffusion of innovations and influence of the mass media and apply to scenarios
  4. Be familiar with basic terminology for describing households, kinship systems, communities and social capital and identify their significance for public health interventions
  5. Recognize the basic components of the intervention modalities, including Social Marketing, Counseling, Harm Reduction, Diffusion of Innovation, and Community Mobilization
  6. Integrate the major theories covered in class with the various interventions modalities presented; and
  7. Apply appropriate combinations of theoretically based intervention modalities to scenarios
Methods of Assessment:

Evaluation is based on submission of two written assignments (70%), completion of online quizzes (5%) and a final in-class examination (25%).
The two written assignments are all part of one larger project:
A1: Defining the behavior and the population (30%)
A2: Applying theory and outlining an intervention concept (40%)

Enrollment Restriction:

No enrollment restrictions

Instructor Consent:

No consent required