410.616.11 | AY 2013-2014 - Summer Inst. Term | 4 Credit(s)
MTWThF 1:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Michelle R. Kaufman
    W: 410-659-6327
    Trang Q. Nguyen
    Nasir Ismail
  • Learning objectives

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

    • Recognize the role of social and behavioral factors in shaping global mortality and morbidity
    • Apply an ecological perspective to health problems
    • Display basic literacy with key concepts of a social and behavioral approach to public health, including culture, race/ethnicity, gender, poverty/disparities, factors related to individual behavior change, community empowerment and structural policy change
    • Identify and critique individual versus environmental approaches to health
    • Make a case for the importance of focusing on social and behavioral factors as part of a comprehensive public health strategy
  • Course Description

    This course explores social influences on behavior and health, and what research and experience in public health practice can tell us about how to affect social and structural change to improve the health of the public.  Drawing on theoretical, epidemiological and case study evidence, the course will use specific health issues, such as alcohol and tobacco use, HIV, and obesity, to explore and illustrate the effects of social structures and practices on individual health status and behaviors. 

    The course will seek to draw on the experience of participants to inform and broaden their perspectives on the major antecedents of ill-health and injury.  Students will leave the course with a deeper understanding of the key concepts that inform a social and structural perspective on health, including race, class, gender, sexuality, environments, and social networks and social capital.  Students will also be instructed and challenged to think in terms of structural and/or policy interventions that can influence these factors toward improved health outcomes.

  • Intended Audience
    MPH students and others interested in the topic
  • Methods of Assessment

    Student evaluation based on class participation (25%), a midterm take-home exam (35%) and a final paper (40%).

  • Required Text(s)

    Levy, B. and Sidel, V. (2006) Social Injustice and Public Health. Oxford University Press.

  • Course Schedule

    Please see the course Session for a full list of dates and items for this course.

  • Academic Ethics Code

    Students enrolled in the Bloomberg School of Public Health of The Johns Hopkins University assume an obligation to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the University's mission as an institution of higher education. A student is obligated to refrain from acts which he or she knows, or under the circumstances has reason to know, impair the academic integrity of the University. Violations of academic integrity include, but are not limited to: cheating; plagiarism; knowingly furnishing false information to any agent of the University for inclusion in the academic record; violation of the rights and welfare of animal or human subjects in research; and misconduct as a member of either School or University committees or recognized groups or organizations.

  • Disability Support Services
    If you are a student with a documented disability who requires an academic accommodation, please contact the Office of Student Life Services at 410-955-3034 or via email at