Medicine is a Social Science: Disease, Health and Health Care

Winter 2020
Spring 2020
Evening and Weekend
Class Size: 25
Credits per quarter

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Taught by

sociology and social statistics

What is disease? What is health? How are health and disease distributed among the populations? What factors are responsible for our state of health and well being? Why is the life expectancy of Americans declining? What role does a universal health care system play in Americans’ health? How do other social systems such as food system connect to public health? To answer these questions, we need to examine health and medicine in their social, cultural and historical context. 

In this 2-quarter medical sociology and public health program, we will investigate social and cultural constructions of health and illness, the social determinants of health, education of health care professionals and their relationships with patients, and health care systems. We are also going to cover basic descriptive and inferential statistics, which will give us quantitative tools to untangle some of the complex issues within these topics. In winter quarter, we will introduce foundational concepts in medical sociology and public health. In spring quarter, we will focus on the health care system, inequity in health and explore ways to address the issues.    

Program activities will  include workshops, lectures, films, seminars, guest presentations and group and individual projects. We will focus on clarity in oral and written communication, critical thinking skills, and the ability to work across significant differences.

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Allied  health fields, public health, medicine, sociology, and social work.


Credits per quarter

Fields of study: 
Online learning:
  • Enhanced Online Learning - This offering requires access to web-based tools, but use of these tools does not displace any face-to-face instruction.

$25 each quarter for entrance fees.

Internship Opportunities:

Students have the opportunity to do internship in spring quarter with preparation in winter quarter.

Class Standing: Sophomore–Senior
Class Size: 25

Scheduled for: Evening and Weekend

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Wednesday, April 1, 2020 - 6:00 pm
SEM 2 E3107 - Seminar

Located in: Olympia