Module lead: Dr Colin Millard
This is a compulsory module for the MSc global public health and policy. This is a compulsory module for the MSc health systems and global policy, MSc, global health, law and governance, and MSc international primary health care.
This module aims to give students an understanding of the key socio-environmental determinants of health and health inequality. It will cover concepts fundamental to the study of population health from geographical, sociological, and epidemiological literatures and will allow you to engage with the recent emphasis on understanding group-level contextual (ecological) social and physical determinants of health (e.g. built environment, community social capital, racism and discrimination) . In addition, the section will examine key theoretical concepts such as deprivation amplification, explore the relative merits of psycho-social and neo-materialist approaches, and introduce recent debates relating to the eco-social perspective.
This module explores the socio-ecological determinants of poor health, death, and disease in the nations that constitute the global North. The section begins by introducing you to the broad topic of the social determinants of health and to the importance of population level (ecological) explanations. Additionally, you will be introduced to debates relating to ‘context’ and ‘composition’ and the development of eco-social theory. Once in place, the section moves on to explore specific determinants of health inequalities: income, social capital and community cohesion, discrimination, and the built environment. Each of these sessions will draw on specific examples to help illustrate the key themes being explored. This part of the module is then brought to a conclusion in two ways: firstly, you are encouraged to engage with dominant explanations for the inequalities that we observe and, secondly, to consider public health interventions designed to overcome them.
• Critically analyse key theoretical concepts and debates relating to population health, such as health inequality, context and composition, and psycho-social, neo-materialist and eco-social perspectives
• Develop an understanding of the contribution of population-level socio-environmental factors to the distribution and determinants of health behaviours and disease.
• Define and analyse a population-level problem related to health behaviour and disease.
• Apply geographical and social scientific approaches to the analysis of health and disease in contemporary societies
• Apply population-level theories to the analysis and understanding of contemporary problems of public health
• Apply a critical social science perspective in an interdisciplinary context
• Interpret complex data and ideas, present and discuss key concepts, and work independently and within small groups in the classroom setting
• Interpret and evaluate scholarship from a range of different disciplinary perspectives
• Gain written communication skills
• Curtis, S. (2004) Health and Inequality: Geographical Perspectives. London: Sage.
• Macintyre, S., Ellaway, A., Cummins S (2002) Place effects on health: how can we conceptualise, operationalise and measure them? Social Science & Medicine 55, 125-139.
• Marmot, M. (2005) The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier. London: Bloomsbury.
• Krieger, N (2011) Epidemiology and the People’s Health: Theory and Context, Oxford University Press.
• Rose, G. (2001) Sick individuals and sick populations. International Journal of Epidemiology 30, 427-32.
• Szreter, S., Woolcock, M. (2004) Health by association? Social capital, social theory, and the political economy of public health. International Journal of Epidemiology 33, 650-67.
• Wilkinson, R.G. (1996) Unhealthy Societies: The Afflictions of Inequality. London: Routledge
• Wilkinson, R.G. (2005) The Impact of Inequality: How to Make Sick Societies Healthier. London: New Press.
(i) presentation (20%); (ii) 2,500 word assignment (80%)