Descriptor Details

  • Health and Social Justice (Archived - for reference only)
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  • 102
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  • 3.0
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  • Uploaded: 10/12/2017 04:44:12 PM PDT

This course provides an introduction to the health inequities in the United States that stem from unequal living conditions. Students will explore how education, socioeconomic status, racism and gender shape health epidemics and policy development. The basic skills necessary for advocating for health and social justice will be theoretically demonstrated.



English, one level below transfer (i.e., eligibility for English composition (C-ID ENGL 100) and reading a course with an exiting skill of ability to read a college level text.

  1. Socioeconomic Status, Education Level and Poverty As Determinants of Health
    1. Distribution of educational levels, income and wealth in the United States
    2. Policy proposals to address poverty and inequities
  2. Race/Gender As Factors in Unequal Health Outcomes
    1. Historic origins of race in the United States
    2. Research on race as a social construct versus a biological category
    3. Policy proposals to reduce racial and gender differentials
  3. Access to Healthcare and the Health Insurance Crisis
    1. Comparative analysis of health insurance across the United States and Internationally
    2. New healthcare policies: Affordable Care Act
  4. Environmental Justice and Health
    1. Toxic sources in low income communities
    2. inadequate community resources and poor schooling in low income communities
    3. Reducing risks for urban communities through environmental equity strategies
  5. Infectious and Chronic Disease and Their Social Determinants
    1. Health disparities in low income communities
    2. Program and policy development to reduce disease
    3. Information sources and significant organizations
  6. Case Studies
    1. Violence
    2. Obesity, Nutrition and Exercise
    3. Drugs
  7. Topic Issues
    1. Public health disaster
    2. Reproductive rights
  8. Strategies, Tactics and Skills to Influence Health Policies and Health Outcomes
    1. Advocacy work and community organization


At the conclusion of this course, the student should be able to:

Upon successful completion of the course, students will be able to:

  1. Describe disparities in health outcomes in the United States by race, socioeconomic status and gender.
  2. Compare and contrast two paradigms that seek to explain these health disparities: individual approach and public health model.
  3. Review recent public health literature detailing ways that race, socioeconomic status and gender become embodied in disparate health outcomes.
  4. Contrast United States policy on access to health insurance with that of other developed countries, and analyze new health care policies under the Affordable Care Act.
  5. Analyze the contribution of environmental conditions to disparate health outcomes, using case studies.
  6. Analyze case studies of prevalent health problems to compare individual behavior change approaches versus public health approaches.
  7. Describe strategies or tactics to improve health inequalities, such as advocacy, community organizing, and/or policy change.
  8. Outline advocacy skills, such as preparing a policy brief, giving public testimony, community outreach, and/or writing a letter to an editor or politician.
  9. Identify, assess and utilize credible information resources on public health current issues, such as the Internet, social media, media outlets, and libraries

May include:

Written Assignments

Hofrichter, Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology and Inequalities in the Distribution of Disease

California News Reel, Unnatural Causes

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  • In 2023 the Public Health Science FDRG revised the TMC and descriptors for their discipline. The revised descriptors are now listed under Public Health on the C-ID website.

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