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Health and Society

H S 301 • Intro To Health & Society-Wb

30380 • Osbakken, Stephanie
Meets TTH 12:30PM-2:00PM • Internet; Synchronous
CD SB (also listed as SOC 308S)
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Welcome to HS 301/SOC 308S! The principle objective of this course is to offer students a broad overview of health and illness in society from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. We will examine how social forces influence patterns of health and disease in U.S. society, considering how economic, political and structural factors shape morbidity and mortality rates, and public health policy in the U.S. We will also explore how ingrained cultural beliefs, such as racial/ethnic and gendered biases, among others, shape public perceptions of morality and public health policies. Finally, we will explore how social forces shape the very definitions of health, illness, and disease categories, and thereby medical diagnoses and treatments, and the experience of illness in U.S. society. To this end, our course readings and discussions will help us address current bioethical controversies that continue to influence our beliefs about health and illness and shape our very understandings about human rights and personhood. Our journey this term will be rigorous, but exciting! By the end of the semester you will be able to confidently recognize and analyze all of the social forces that shape health and illness in U.S. society.

For those students pursing the Health and Society major in the College of Liberal Arts, this course is required. For others, this course can be used to fulfill the social and behavioral sciences component of the university core curriculum and addresses the following four core objectives established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: communication skills, critical thinking skills, empirical and quantitative skills, and social responsibility. This course also carries a cultural diversity flag.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze contemporary health issues from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives.
  • Explain how one’s social location, the media, and economic forces shape health behaviors and outcomes.
  • Explain how social and cultural factors shape contemporary understandings and experiences of health and illness and death and dying in the U.S.
  • Critically evaluate the assumptions, motives, and evidence that individuals and groups use to make specific claims about health and illness.

READINGS AND OTHER COURSE MATERIALS

Course readings consist of scholarly journal articles, book chapters, timely news articles, blog posts, and other social media posts related to health and illness. Unless otherwise indicated, these are all available on Canvas, under the Files tab, organized in folders by class day. Please read and watch all assigned course materials before arriving to class any given day. Most readings are listed below and 3 posted on Canvas early in the term, but I am likely to add additional short, newsworthy articles on health and illness that occur during the term. You’ll also find that I have assigned several TED Talks and other online videos too. Finally, near the end of the semester we’ll read one book that you are responsible for purchasing or borrowing from the library—any edition is fine. It is listed below.

Gawande, Atul. 2014. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End. New York: Metropolitan.

GRADING AND EVALUATION OVERVIEW

Your final course grade will be calculated as follows:

  • Squarecap responses = 10%
  • Exam #1 = 25%
  • Exam #2 = 25%
  • Exam #3 = 25%
  • Reading Responses = 15%

Total 100%


H S 310P • Physical Activity/Society-Wb

30385 • Twito, Samuel
Meets MWF 9:00AM-10:00AM • Internet; Synchronous
CD (also listed as SOC 302P)
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The principal objective of Physical Activity in Society is to understand the way in which people are physically active in a social context.  We will examine how physical activity is influenced by social forces including cultural, economic, historical, and demographic factors.  The course examines physical activity on both the individual and population levels to better understand the benefits and barriers to activity in society.

 

COURSE OBJECTIVES

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  • Analyze contemporary issues in physical activity from a variety of disciplinary and professional perspectives.  

  • Understand physical activity on both the personal/individual level as well as the population level. 

  • Critically evaluate (and convey through writing) the assumptions, motives, and evidence that individuals and groups use in discussing physical activity. 

  

COURSE ASSIGNMENTS AND EVALUATION

Specific details on assignments are available on Canvas.  Due dates are on the course calendar (p. 3). Unless otherwise noted, all assignments are due at 11:59PM on Sundays via Canvas.  Late assignments will lose 5 points per 24 hours. See assignment extension on p. 7.  Please contact me as soon as possible if there are conflicts with assignments or if you need help.


Activity Selection (5%)

Choose a physical activity of any kind to research this semester.  Choose a physical activity you currently participate in.  Explain why you chose your activity through the assignment in Canvas.


Activity Observation/Reflection (20%)

An integral part of this class is two observation and/or reflection assignments of the physical activity you have chosen. You will collect data and analyze materials in a physical activity of your choice - sports, dance, exercise, walking, gardening, cycling, etc.  These observations and reflections are the foundation for your final paper.


Quizzes (15%)

Each Sunday you will have timed open-book quizzes about the week’s readings and lecture content.  You will need to complete seven out of fourteen quizzes.


Exams (25%)

There will be two non-cumulative open-book exams covering lecture and the readings.


Annotated Bibliography (5%)

An annotated bibliography is due prior to your final paper.


Final Project (30%)

The semester’s work will culminate in a project wherein you combine your activity observation/reflections with scholarly sources you find to create a larger narrative about how your physical activity functions in society.


Grade Disputes: Any dispute of any grade from assignments, exams, or papers must be made within one week of the grade being posted or it will not be considered.  Please reach out to us early if there are any problems with completing assignments


Overall semester averages will earn the following letter grades: 

93-100: A 90-92:  A-

87-89:   B+ 83-86:  B 80-82:  B-

77-79:   C+ 73-76:  C 70-72:  C-

67-69:   D+ 63-66:  D 60-62:  D- 0-59.9:  F


Course grades will be assigned strictly according to this scale, rounded to the nearest whole number (so 92.4 earns an A-, not an A; 89.5 earns an A-, not an B+).


H S 340 • Cancerland

30390 • Osbakken, Stephanie
Meets TTH 9:30AM-11:00AM WCP 5.102 • Hybrid/Blended
CDWr (also listed as SOC 320C)
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This course has several objectives. First, students will learn to step beyond their personal understandings of cancer to cultivate a more sociological and analytical approach to understanding this complex disease. By the end of the term, students will be able understand the cultural and structural forces that shape the occurrence, treatment, and experience of cancer in the U.S. The second goal of this course is to develop students’ writing skills. Through various writing assignments, students will cultivate an effective argumentative writing style as they critically evaluate cancer research and the social factors that influence how the disease is understood, treated, and depicted in popular culture. Students will spend considerable time honing their own writing, learning about the importance of revisions as they engage in rigorous edits of their peers’ work. The peer review process not only familiarizes students with basic editing skills, but also encourages collaboration and teamwork. Finally, by acting as a codiscussant once during the term, students will gain experience and confidence leading a discussion on a course topic of their choice.

COURSE MATERIALS

Course materials include various articles and book chapters and video links, most of which are available on Canvas. Please note that I reserve the right to remove, add or substitute assigned materials. There are also two required books for the course.

  • Mukherjee, Siddhartha. 2010. The Emperor of all Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. New York: Simon and Schuster.
  • Kalanithi, Paul. 2016. When Breath Becomes Air. New York: Random House.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND EVALUATION

To successfully complete this course, you must read all assigned texts before each class, attend and participate regularly, co-facilitate a discussion once during the term, complete and submit assignments on time, and present on your research topic at the end of the semester.

Attendance (5%)

Attendance is mandatory in a discussion-based, writing intensive class. You can miss two classes without penalty during the term. Absences #3, #4 will result in a 10-point deduction from this portion of your grade and a loss of participation points for the day. For absences #5 and beyond, I will deduct 10 points from your final course grade for each additional absence.

Participation (20%)

Students are expected to have read all assigned readings before each class period and participate actively and respectfully in class. Students are also required to regularly respond to blog-post prompts on our discussion board. There will be a total of 16 prompts posted, and you will need to 3 thoughtfully respond to at least 12 prompts during the semester. It is also a good idea to write your own questions on the readings. Come to class willing to share your questions and actively participate in our discussions.

Leading Discussion (10%)

Students will be asked to co-facilitate a discussion once during the semester. I will pass around a sign-up sheet on 1/28 so you have plenty of time to plan with your co-discussant. I will also discuss my evaluation guidelines in advance so that you are aware of my expectations. Your attendance on the date you are leading discussion is MANDATORY.

Paper #1 (10%)

Students will write a 2-3 page (double-spaced) short paper. 

Paper #2 First draft (15%)

Students will write a 5-page paper (double-spaced) that applies course concepts and theories to an analysis of a specific social or cultural issue relating to cancer research or treatment.

Peer Review Reports (5%) Students will provide peer-review feedback for Paper #2. This will entail providing marginal comments and also writing a one-page peer review report for two or three of your studentcolleagues. I will distribute detailed guidelines about this process.

Paper #2 Revised Draft (20%)

After receiving my feedback, you will revise Paper #2 and resubmit it.

Paper # 3 (15%)

Students will write a 5-page paper (double-spaced) that applies course concepts and theories to a social or cultural issue relating to the experience of cancer.

Overall semester averages will earn the following letter grades:

  • 93-100: A
  • 90-92.9: A
  • 87-89.9: B+
  • 83-86.9: B
  • 80-82.9: B
  • 77-79.9: C+
  • 73-76.9: C
  • 70-72.9: C
  • 67-69.9: D+
  • 63-66.9: D
  • 60-62.9: D-
  • 0-59.9: F

H S 340 • Economic Sociology Of Hlth

30395 • Palmo, Nina
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM PAR 101
(also listed as SOC 322J)
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Description  

This course provides a look at the economics of health and health care through a sociological lens. In neoclassical economics, rational behavior and market transactions provide an efficient allocation of goods and services. From a sociological perspective, markets are social institutions that are shaped by the cultural, political, and historical environments in which they operate.   This course will examine how the multidimensional nature and distribution of health and health care are shaped by a variety of social and economic factors. Throughout the course, students will gain an understanding of the power of incentives, markets, and cost-benefit analysis, as well as the limits of these tools, in creating effective health care policy.     The first part of the course will examine how social environment shapes health and health behaviors and how health disparities are viewed from sociological and economic standpoints. The second part of the course will focus on the institutions that regulate access to health care and the historical developments that led to these arrangements.   Topics include:   - Gender, race, and class differences in health - The creation and reproduction of health disparities - Health behavior and externalities - The demand and supply of health care - Moral hazard, adverse selection, and health care insurance - Health insurance and the labor market - Problems of uninsurance - History of health care reform - Comparative health policies.


H S 341C • Comparative US Hlth Systems

30400 • Palmo, Nina
Meets TTH 3:30PM-5:00PM PAR 101
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In this course you will learn more about the U.S. health care system as it compares to health
care systems in other countries around the world. We will start with a look at what the other
rich countries in the world are doing, including a few countries that are particularly innovative
in their approach to health care. Next, we will spend some time on the Nordic model and the
cultural values that underlie the health care system. The final project in this course is to
design your own health care innovation.

Health care is one of the largest and fastest-growing industries nationally and internationally
and health care reform continues to be a pressing political topic. Health care also something
that affects every person’s future, whether as a future health care provider, other health
expert, or patient.

The first book we will read this semester is The Healing of America: A
Global Quest for Better, Cheaper, and Fairer Health Care by T.R. Reid.
The author, a journalist, details his visits to several industrialized
democracies around the world for a tour of their health care systems.

The second book we will read is The Price We Pay: What Broke
American Health Care – And How to Fix It by Marty Makary, M.D. The
author is a surgeon and health policy expert. He proposes grass-roots
movements and physician-led solutions for solving health care
problems.

The third book we will read is called The Nordic Theory of Everything: In
Search of a Better Life. The author is a Finnish journalist and now
naturalized American citizen. The book describes her entry into
American life and the way life in the U.S. differs from the Nordic model
when it comes to health care, business, education, and more.

The final book we will read is The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down:
A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two
Cultures by Anne Fadiman. The book has become a classic for
understanding the need for cultural competency in medical and social
service fields.


H S 350E • Foundations Of Epidemiology

30405 • Latimer, Lara
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM MEZ 1.306
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Please check back for updates.


H S 378 • Seminar In Health & Society

30410 • Palmo, Nina
Meets TTH 11:00AM-12:30PM GDC 2.502
IIWr
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What is this course about?
In this course you will write your own independent, quantitative research paper. This means
you’ll learn to formulate a research question, describe how this question fits with published
research, work with data and statistical software to answer that question, write up the results,
and present your research to the class. We will all work with the same dataset – the National
College Health Assessment (NCHA) data, which surveys college students about topics like
general health and safety, substance use, sexual behavior, nutrition, exercise, mental health,
physical health, and academic performance.

Why is this course important?
This course will help you refine your academic writing skills as you develop an independent
research paper during the term. This process will enhance your ability to interpret and
communicate findings examining the role of social forces on health and illness. It will also
help you become a critical reader of existing scholarly research. The course also serves as an
opportunity to network with other future leaders in health and healthcare as you develop a
sense of teamwork and camaraderie with your classmates.

What is the format of this course?
This course will take place entirely over Zoom. We have two meeting times each week
reserved for synchronous participation. On Tuesdays we will generally have a large group
discussion related to the book we are reading, or information will be presented about how to
write a section of the research paper. On Thursdays we will generally have small group
projects and workdays that will help you as you write your research paper.

Books you will need.
American Hookup: The New Culture of Sex on Campusby sociologist Lisa Wade.
Sex Matters: How Male-Centric Medicine Endangers Women’s Health and What We Can Do About It. The Beauty in Breaking by Michele Harper.


H S 378 • Seminar In Health & Society

30420 • Swearingen, William
Meets M 3:00PM-6:00PM WAG 112
IIWr
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Description

This course focuses on a key topic or debate within the Health and Society area of study and develops students' abilities to use data and write a research or policy paper that informs that topic or debate. Each student will write a 15-20 page research report on a topic of their interest. The paper will be written in stages, with peer and instructor review of each stage to help you with feedback as you go. Prerequisite: Upper-division standing and Health and Society 301. May be counted toward the writing flag requirement. May be counted toward the independent inquiry flag requirement.

 

Grading Policy

First and foremost, understand that this course meets only once per week. It is designed to be a semi-self paced course, meaning that students meet once per week for seminar, then conduct independent research and write their assignments on their own time. Your grade is based on several written assignments, all of which will have either students or faculty feedback.


Assignments

Peer Reviews (Short Grade) 20 (possible)

3 res questions/annotated bib (Full Grade). 10

Intro Section to your paper (Short Grade). 5

Intro Section to your paper (Full Grade). 10

First half of Lit Review (Short Grade). 5

Second half of Lit Review (Full Grade). 10

Bring your data to class to use (Short Grade) 5

Revised data section (Full Grade) 10

Discussion Section due (Short Grade) 5

Revised Discussion Section (Full Grade) 10

Complete Research Paper 10


H S 378 • Seminar In Health & Society

30415 • Osbakken, Stephanie
Meets TTH 2:00PM-3:30PM BUR 214 • Hybrid/Blended
IIWr
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This upper-level capstone seminar fulfills part of the requirement for the Health and Society major. Students will develop their own research interests through many writing projects throughout the term including an Op-Ed, an essay exploring the COVID-19 pandemic, a focused literature review, and a policy memo with team members. We will begin the semester working together to explore various topics in health and healthcare, exploring social, cultural, and economic factors that shape health problems in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world. Thematic areas we will cover include: health as a human right, the effects of social inequality on health, how market forces shape health and wellbeing, and the future of healthcare policy in the 21st century.

This class holds central the process of inquiry. We will work as a group in our synchronous sessions to develop our analytical skills and ask tough questions as we think critically about the world around us. We will rigorously incorporate discovery, teaching, and assessment in our projects throughout the term, individually and in teams, as we turn our own research interests into answerable research questions, hone our presentation skills, and work as a team to generate solutions to important health-related challenges. By the end of the semester, students will have gained confidence in their writing abilities, learned how to work collaboratively and constructively on shared projects with their peers, and ultimately produce several significant pieces of original writing they will be proud of.

Learning Objectives

By the end of the class students will be able to:

  • Explore questions of interest in various independent research and writing projects during the term.
  • Become a critical reader of social scientific scholarly research examining the role of social forces on health and illness.
  • Develop and refine academic writing skills.
  • Cultivate a sense of teamwork and camaraderie with classmates as you work to develop individual and shared projects.
  • Critically evaluate health research and communicate findings in a variety of written assignments, discussions, and presentations during the term.

What will I need for this class?

Course materials include various articles and book chapters available on Canvas. There are no specific required books to purchase for the course, however students will need to access library materials for a variety of assignments. You may find that you wish to purchase a book or two during the term for your own work, especially if you are unable to access it online through the library.

How can I best succeed in this class?

To succeed in this course, I recommend that you read all assigned texts before our shared class meetings, regularly post thoughtful responses to the discussion blog prompt before each class, attend every (or almost every) Zoom class, and participate regularly in our synchronous online discussions. In addition, constructively working with class group members is important for your success in this class. Participation and active engagement in the class let me know that you take your work seriously. Another way to be successful is to devote time to the writing process and submit all of your assignments on time. Perhaps most importantly, be willing to take risks and have fun!

Assignments and Grading

 

Description

Percent of Final Grade

Introductory Survey

1%

Attendance (attendance is required: 3 free absences)

5%

Participation in class discussions

20%

Canvas discussion blog posts (6 of 8)

5%

Leading discussion

5%

Expressive writing essays on COVID-19 (6 of 8)

5%

COVID-19: social analysis writing assignment

5%

Op-Ed assignment

 

o   Op-Ed

10%

o   Peer review Reports/Letters to the Editor

5%

Health Policy Memo – Group assignment

 

o   Proposal – What is the problem?

5%

o   Relevant Statutes and Codes

5%

o   Research Support- Literature review

5%

o   Group Policy Memo

10%

o   Group Presentation

5%

o   Reflection memo- What did your team learn?

5%

o   Evaluation of team members

4%

Total

100%

 

 

 

 

Assignment and Grading Details

Introductory Survey (1%)

Filling out a beginning of the term survey will help me get to know you, and will count 1% toward your final grade.

Attendance (5%)

Attendance is mandatory in a discussion-based, writing intensive class. You can miss three classes without penalty during the term. Please attend class every day, it facilitates your learning and engagement in our class, but it’s essential for our learning community. I recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has created difficult circumstances for many of us. If at any point in the semester you are unable to attend regularly due to COVID-related reasons, please be in touch with me immediately.

Participation (20%)

Students are expected to have read all assigned readings before each class period and participate actively and respectfully in class.  Though we are online, creating a learning community is important.  Since this is a discussion-based seminar, you should keep your video on during our Zoom calls. I know that we all struggle from Zoom fatigue, but we have to show up to have an effective class. Let me be clear: If your Zoom camera is off, you are not counted as present or participating. If you need a personal day, please take it and stay home.It is also a good idea to write your own questions on the readings. Come to class willing to share your questions and actively participate in our discussions so we can have an exciting semester!

Leading Discussion (5%)

Students will be asked to co-facilitate a discussion once during the semester. I will post a sign-up sheet soon after the semester starts, so you have plenty of time to plan with your co-discussant. I will also discuss my evaluation guidelines in advance so that you are aware of my expectations. Your attendance on the date you are leading discussion is MANDATORY.

Discussion blog posts (5%)

On our student-led discussion days, students should arrive to class prepared to discuss the course material, having already submitted an entry to our online discussion board (indicated on the course calendar below). For each day, you will craft a short (two to three paragraphs at most) response to the day’s prompt and post it to Canvas’s discussion forum before class begins. Your blog posts will be assessed on the extent to which you thoughtfully and completely answer the prompt and submit it on time. There will be a total of 8 prompts posted, and you will need to thoughtfully respond to at least 6 prompts during the semester.

Expressive writing assignments about COVID-19 pandemic (5%)

There are 8 expressive writing assignments offered during the term, and 6 are required for full credit. These assignments are designed to enhance your ability to process the challenges of the pandemic by giving you an opportunity to explore your thoughts and feelings. These assignments are based on Professor Jamie Pennebaker’s research on the value of expressive writing, which we will discuss in class.

COVID-19 social analysis writing assignment (5%)

Students will write a short paper analyzing some dimension of the COVID-19 pandemic.      

Op-Ed Assignment (15% total)

Students will write a persuasive/argumentative Op-Ed on a topic of their choice, review their peers’ work and respond in a “letters to the editor” assignment. A detailed assignment will be distributed in class.     

Op-Ed: 10%

Letters to the Editor/peer reviews: 5%

           

Health Policy Memo Group Assignment (39% total)

Students will work in teams to write a health policy memo. Detailed assignments will be posted later in the semester. Components include:

Proposal: 5%

Statutes and codes research: 5%

Research support- literature review: 5%

Group policy memo: 10%

Group presentation: 5%

Reflection memo: 5%

Evaluation of team members: 4%

 

Overall semester averages will earn the following letter grades:

93-100:    A               90-92.9:  A-

87-89.9:   B+             83-86.9:  B                80-82.9:  B-

77-79.9:   C+            73-76.9:  C                70-72.9:  C-

67-69.9:   D+            63-66.9:  D                60-62.9:  D-               0-59.9:  F

 

Course grades will be assigned according to this scale, with no rounding guaranteed (so 92.7 earns an A-, not an A; 89.9 earns a B+, not an A-).

Preparation, participation, and professional development

This seminar is a capstone seminar for the Health and Society major and you should consider it a professional development seminar as well. I advise you to take this class as seriously you would your first job out of college. Consider our online discussion table like a meeting in your dream job. Your classmates are your division or team at work. In every way you can, force yourself NOT be a student, but a professional who is being evaluated and paid for your contribution. In the spirit of this environment, I hope you choose to network with other students, bring interesting news articles or tidbits from social media to the group by posting it on our discussion board, or broaching new ideas in class. Share what you know and help each other succeed! This approach will not only serve you well in terms of your grade, but more importantly, in terms of preparing you for your next step: either graduate/professional school or collaborative work out in the paid labor force.

COVID-19 considerations

We are all going through an incredibly challenging time right now, but some of us are more adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic than others. If you are struggling and have circumstances that are negatively impacting your ability to perform in this class in any way, PLEASE contact me immediately so I am aware of the barriers to your academic success. I am eager to help you and are determined to be flexible.

Late work

Please try to avoid late work. I recognize that the COVID-19 pandemic has created incredibly difficult circumstances for many of you, so if you find that you cannot submit papers on time, please let me know as soon as possible so I can make accommodations for you.

Academic accommodations

The University of Texas provides, upon request, appropriate academic accommodations for qualified students with disabilities. For more information, contact the Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) office in the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement at 471-6259 (voice) or 232-2937 (video phone). Additional information can be found at https://diversity.utexas.edu/disability/.

Students requiring special accommodations should bring this issue to my attention as soon as possible so I can make the appropriate accommodations for the term. 

Independent inquiry designation

This course carries the Independent Inquiry flag. Independent Inquiry courses are designed to engage you in the process of inquiry over the course of a semester, providing you with the opportunity for independent investigation of a question, problem, or project related to your major. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from the independent investigation and presentation of your own work.

Writing flag designation

This course carries a writing flag. Writing flag courses are designed to give students experience with writing in an academic discipline. In this class, you can expect to write regularly during the semester, complete substantial writing projects, and receive feedback from your instructor to help you improve your writing. You will also have the opportunity to revise one or more assignments, and you may be asked to read and discuss your peers’ work. You should therefore expect a substantial portion of your grade to come from your written work. Writing Flag classes meet the Core Communications objectives of Critical Thinking, Communication, Teamwork, and Personal Responsibility, established by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.