Health and Society from Harvard

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Product is rated as #9 in category Medicine
Content rating9.4
Learner rating9.4

The course covers the theoretical underpinnings of major social variables and surveys the empirical research linking to the Health and Society.


Introduction

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables that affect Health and Society.

About this course

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables, social class, race, gender, poverty, income distribution, social networks/support, community cohesion, the work and neighborhood environment that affect population health.

The course covers the theoretical underpinnings of each construct (e.g. “race” as a social category) and surveys the empirical research linking each to population health status. Methods are introduced to operationalize each construct for the purposes of empirical application in epidemiologic research.

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment, and virtual labs.

HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.

What you will learn?

  • How population health is affected by and the theories underlying the following major social variables: socio-economic status (SES), Income inequality, race and ethnicities, social networks and support, neighborhoods, social capital and cohesion, and work environment
  • What empirical research links these variables to population health status
  • Which methods are used in social epidemiological research and how this research is empirically applied

Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to the Social Determinants of Health

Objectives – by the end of the sequence of lectures, you will be able to:

  1. Enumerate the major determinants of population health status.
  2. Define the term “social determinant of health”.
  3. Explain the distinction between “upstream” and “downstream” approaches to disease prevention.
  4. Define Geoffrey Rose’s concept of the “prevention paradox”.
  5. Explain the distinction between “high risk” and “population” strategies of prevention.
  6. Describe the trade-offs (benefits and drawbacks) of the two strategies of prevention.
  7. Apply the concepts of the twin strategies of prevention to analyze alternative approaches to deal with public health problems (e.g. obesity prevention).

Week 2: Health and Society: Socio-economic status (SES) and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define the term “SES gradient in health”, and discuss alternative explanations for it.
  2. Describe the mechanisms and pathways through which income and education affect health outcomes.
  3. Evaluate the threats to causal inference (reverse causation, confounding) in observational studies linking income/education to health.

Week 3: Health and Society: Income inequality and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define the “Gini coefficient and describe how it is derived.
  2. Distinguish between the concepts of income inequality, absolute deprivation, relative deprivation, and relative rank.
  3. Discuss the empirical evidence linking income inequality to population health, and the debates/controversies in the field. 

Week 4: Health and Society: Racial and ethnic disparities in health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Provide an account of the different ways in which the variable “race” has been used in the medical/public health literature, i.e. as a biological variable (signifying innate biological differences in susceptibility to disease) vs. as social construct?
  2. Evaluate the genetic contribution to racial disparities in health.
  3. Analyze examples of racial discrimination at different levels of action (institutional, interpersonal, internalized). 

Week 5: Health and Society: Social networks, social support, and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define and distinguish the concepts of “social networks” and “social support”.
  2. Distinguish between different types of social support.
  3. Enumerate and describe three mechanisms through which social networks promote health.
  4. Critically appraise evidence on the causal relationship between social ties and health. 

Week 6: Health and Society: Neighborhood influences on health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define what is meant by the term “ecological fallacy”.
  2. Distinguish between compositional and contextual effects of neighborhoods on health; and describe how multi-level study designs help us to distinguish between them.
  3. Describe threats to causal inference in studies that assess the potential influence of neighborhood contexts on health.

Week 7: Health and Society: Social capital, social cohesion, and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define the term “social capital.”
  2. Enumerate three community-level mechanisms/processes through which community social capital contributes to health improvement.
  3. Describe the potential relevance of community social capital to disaster resilience and recovery.
  4. Discuss what is meant by the “dark side” of social capital.

Week 8: Psychosocial work environment

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define “job strain”, and describe the Karasek demands/control model of stress.
  2. Describe the concept of “job re-design” to reduce job stress.
  3. Critically appraise the association between job insecurity and poor health.
  4. Discuss the role of work/life balance in employee health.

Note: Your review matters 

If you have already done this course, kindly drop your review in our reviews section. It would help others to get useful information and better insight into the course offered.

FAQ

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  • EDX
  • Harvard University
  • Online Course
  • Self-paced
  • Beginner
  • 1-4 Weeks
  • Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
  • English
  • Health and Society Health Research Healthcare Sociology
Content rating
9.4
Expert Score
9.4
Learner rating
9.4
PROS: Informative and good introduction in the field of epidemiology. The professor used various case-studies to make the material comprehensible and relatable. Very instructive and interesting.
CONS: Length preliminary content. Need to improve presentation and video quality.

Description

Introduction

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables that affect Health and Society.

About this course

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables, social class, race, gender, poverty, income distribution, social networks/support, community cohesion, the work and neighborhood environment that affect population health.

The course covers the theoretical underpinnings of each construct (e.g. “race” as a social category) and surveys the empirical research linking each to population health status. Methods are introduced to operationalize each construct for the purposes of empirical application in epidemiologic research.

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment, and virtual labs.

HarvardX pursues the science of learning. By registering as an online learner in an HX course, you will also participate in research about learning. Read our research statement to learn more.

What you will learn?

  • How population health is affected by and the theories underlying the following major social variables: socio-economic status (SES), Income inequality, race and ethnicities, social networks and support, neighborhoods, social capital and cohesion, and work environment
  • What empirical research links these variables to population health status
  • Which methods are used in social epidemiological research and how this research is empirically applied

Syllabus

Week 1: Introduction to the Social Determinants of Health

Objectives – by the end of the sequence of lectures, you will be able to:

  1. Enumerate the major determinants of population health status.
  2. Define the term “social determinant of health”.
  3. Explain the distinction between “upstream” and “downstream” approaches to disease prevention.
  4. Define Geoffrey Rose’s concept of the “prevention paradox”.
  5. Explain the distinction between “high risk” and “population” strategies of prevention.
  6. Describe the trade-offs (benefits and drawbacks) of the two strategies of prevention.
  7. Apply the concepts of the twin strategies of prevention to analyze alternative approaches to deal with public health problems (e.g. obesity prevention).

Week 2: Health and Society: Socio-economic status (SES) and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define the term “SES gradient in health”, and discuss alternative explanations for it.
  2. Describe the mechanisms and pathways through which income and education affect health outcomes.
  3. Evaluate the threats to causal inference (reverse causation, confounding) in observational studies linking income/education to health.

Week 3: Health and Society: Income inequality and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define the “Gini coefficient and describe how it is derived.
  2. Distinguish between the concepts of income inequality, absolute deprivation, relative deprivation, and relative rank.
  3. Discuss the empirical evidence linking income inequality to population health, and the debates/controversies in the field. 

Week 4: Health and Society: Racial and ethnic disparities in health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Provide an account of the different ways in which the variable “race” has been used in the medical/public health literature, i.e. as a biological variable (signifying innate biological differences in susceptibility to disease) vs. as social construct?
  2. Evaluate the genetic contribution to racial disparities in health.
  3. Analyze examples of racial discrimination at different levels of action (institutional, interpersonal, internalized). 

Week 5: Health and Society: Social networks, social support, and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define and distinguish the concepts of “social networks” and “social support”.
  2. Distinguish between different types of social support.
  3. Enumerate and describe three mechanisms through which social networks promote health.
  4. Critically appraise evidence on the causal relationship between social ties and health. 

Week 6: Health and Society: Neighborhood influences on health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define what is meant by the term “ecological fallacy”.
  2. Distinguish between compositional and contextual effects of neighborhoods on health; and describe how multi-level study designs help us to distinguish between them.
  3. Describe threats to causal inference in studies that assess the potential influence of neighborhood contexts on health.

Week 7: Health and Society: Social capital, social cohesion, and health

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define the term “social capital.”
  2. Enumerate three community-level mechanisms/processes through which community social capital contributes to health improvement.
  3. Describe the potential relevance of community social capital to disaster resilience and recovery.
  4. Discuss what is meant by the “dark side” of social capital.

Week 8: Psychosocial work environment

By the end of the session you should be able to:

  1. Define “job strain”, and describe the Karasek demands/control model of stress.
  2. Describe the concept of “job re-design” to reduce job stress.
  3. Critically appraise the association between job insecurity and poor health.
  4. Discuss the role of work/life balance in employee health.

Note: Your review matters 

If you have already done this course, kindly drop your review in our reviews section. It would help others to get useful information and better insight into the course offered.

FAQ

Specification:

  • EDX
  • Harvard University
  • Online Course
  • Self-paced
  • Beginner
  • 1-4 Weeks
  • Free Course (Affordable Certificate)
  • English
  • Health and Society Health Research Healthcare Sociology

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