Spring 2025 | Asia, Africa, and Europe Exploration

SOC 344 Health, Medicine, and Society

Overview of Course

The World Health Organization defines health as a state of physical, mental, and social well-being, and not just as the absence of disease. This course focuses on the interdisciplinary study - which synthesizes theories, methodologies, and findings from multiple disciplines - of health and medicine across the human lifespan. In particular, we use a lifespan developmental perspective to examine the (sometimes interactive) influence of biological, behavioral, psychological, and sociocultural factors on differences in health, morbidity, and mortality. In doing so, it looks beyond the normal limits of biomedicine to a much wider set of questions that engage social, cultural, political, and moral aspects of the human experience. Throughout the voyage, students will be encouraged to examine the changing sociologies of health and illness in both a global and local context and 1) Describe the importance of integrating biological, behavioral, psychological, and social approaches to health; 2) Define current and historical concepts of health; 3) Identify social factors that contribute to individual and community differences in health risk and health outcomes; and 4) Recognize reasons for variability in health among diverse populations.