410.611.01 | AY 2013-2014 - 2nd Term | 3 Credit(s)
MW 3:30:00 PM
  • Contact Information
    Carol Underwood
  • Course Learning Objectives

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

    • explain different definitions of poverty and how each definition affects public policy
    • describe current social science and public health approaches to poverty
    • critique/appraise historical strategies and programs undertaken to address the health care problems of the poor
    • describe how poverty and health status are related to one another in the U.S. and abroad
    • identify specific populations of Americans at risk of poverty and explain why they are specifically at risk
    • evaluate the public policy options currently available for improving the health of people living in poverty
  • Course Description
    Explores the relationship between health, poverty, and public policy in the U.S. and assesses past and future strategies to remedy inequities in health and health care. Addresses theories of social stratification in the U.S.; distribution of poverty across gender, age, and ethnic/racial groups; antipoverty programs and their effects; effects of changes in health care organization on the poor; and possible modifications to provide greater equity. Guest lecturers include physicians and public administrators working in programs designed to meet the needs of poor communities.
  • Intended Audience
    Students interested in the social and behavioral sciences
  • Methods of Assessment
    Student evaluation based on class participation, a mid-term take-home assignment, and a final paper.

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Students will be evaluated and grades awarded based on the breakdown below.  For each assignment, criteria that will be used in grading will be distributed to students.   Details on each are included in the course syllabus.


    1. A mid-term short answer exam (40%)

    2.    Policy write up (40%)

    3.   Submission of discussion questions (10%)

    4.   Attendance and participation (10%)

          The full 10% will be earned if the student

    • incorporates class readings and outside sources into discussions/lectures (5%)
    • attends every class (absences may be excused if discussed with instructors) (5%)
  • Required Text(s)

    Additional Faculty Notes:

    Iceland, John. 2006.  Poverty in America: A Handbook, 2nd edition.  Berkeley: University of California Press. 

    Schoeni, Robert F., James S. House, George A. Kaplan, and Harold Pollack. 2008. Making Americans Healthier: Social and Economic Policy as Health Policy. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

    Additional readings will be made available on the Courseplus website.

  • Course Schedule

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

  • Files from the Online Library
  • 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.

  • Welcome Message

    Welcome to the Courseplus site for Health, Poverty and Public Policy in the U.S. Our first class will be October 28th from 3:30-4:50 p.m. Enjoy the first week of classes!

    If you have any questions about the class, please contact Dr. Underwood at or the course TA  Victoria Chau at .

    See you on the 28th in W2008

  • Contact Information(from old syllabus)

    Victoria Chau

  • 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