WST 2322 – Introduction to Health Disparities

General Education Credit: S
High School Credit: 0.5

About The Course

This course introduces the concepts of health disparities, social justice, and health equity. The course will overview ample instances of health disparities captured from different geographies, including the United States. Furthermore, the course will examine historical issues, theories on race, gender, sexuality, immigration status, and ability, and empirical data. The course will shed light on intermingled nature of structural inequalities and how they are reflected in health and healthcare. With this course, the participants will develop a deeper understanding of health disparities, their connection, and intersection with social categories of hierarchy.

In addition, the field of health equity focuses on ensuring that all populations—regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigration status, disability status, geographic origin, and so on—have equal opportunity to achieve and maintain a healthy life. Due to historical and current issues of marginalization, discrimination, and a variety of social determinants of health, many groups do not have the same access to the means necessary to achieve health and well-being. As a result, there are severe and persistent inequities in health status and outcomes seen across populations.

Course Goals

In WST2322 you will:

  • Describe multiple aspects of the social environment that matter for health and identify the ways they contribute to health disparities.
  • Critically evaluate evidence for social determinants of health and identify key gaps in knowledge.
  • Apply a theoretical framework to understand one social determinant of health through research experience in a specific topic area.

Satisfied High School Graduation Requirement Subject: Elective
High School Credit: 0.5