Urban Health Disparities Course

Disparities in Urban Health Course Banner

SOCI177 – Disparities in Urban Health

Course Description  
This course will provide students with a foundation for understanding how history, power, privilege and structural inequality interact to produce urban health disparities. An advanced sociology course, Disparities in Urban Health will introduce students to the impact of city life on health and health care in the U.S. and internationally. We will look at the advantages and disadvantages of urbanization on both physical and mental health and the root causes of racial and ethnic disparities in health. We will trace the interaction between specific aspects (e.g., housing, transportation, food outlets, crime) of the urban environment and their impact on health, discuss quality measurement, evaluate strategies for designing healthy communities, and develop recommendations for systems and policy change.

Week 1 – Introductions, Course Overview and Goals

Week 2 –  Foundations of the Urban Environment and Health: Introduction to Sociology of Health and the Impact of Urban Life on Vulnerable Populations

1/21 – Reading Assignments Due

Recommended Readings:


Week 3: Defining Health Disparities and Health Equity; The Social Determinants and Demography of Urban Health; Locating and Understanding Health Disparities Data

1/28 – Reading Assignments Due:

Recommended Readings:

 **There will be a quiz on key terms (e.g., urbanization, prevalence, incidence) reviewed during our previous class session.

In-Class Research Methods Activity: Links to Data Visualization Tools

Week 4: Housing, Segregation and the Built Environment

2/4 – Reading Assignments Due:

Data Tools:

Week 5: Food Insecurity in Urban Environments

2/11 – Reading Assignments Due:


Guest Speaker: Tambra Raye Stevenson, Nutrition Justice Advocate and Founder, NativSol [please arrive to class on time–we will start promptly with our guest speaker]

Research Methods Activity: Defining and Locating Food Deserts
USDA – Food Deserts and Food Desert Locators

Week 6: Violence and Crime as Urban Public Health Issues

2/18 – Reading Assignments Due:


Week 7: Final Project Planning Session

2/25/15 – We will not meet formally for class. You should use the class time to work on your group projects (e.g., conduct literature searchers, pull data, conduct interviews with community organizations or members, take photos of the neighborhood that you are studying, etc.).

Week 8

3/4/15                   Mid-Term Exam

Week 9: HIV/AIDS and Social Networks

3/11/15 – Reading Assignments Due:


Guest Speaker: TBD or Watch: Yesterday film

Week 10: Spring Break

3/18/15No Class

Week 11: Environmental Justice: Air, Water and Climate Change

3/24/15 – Reading Assignments Due:

Week 12: Health Care Systems and Governance

4/1/15 – Reading Assignments Due:

Recommended Readings:

Week 13:  Research, Planning and Intervention Strategies; Community Development and Public Health Advocacy
4/8/15 – Reading Assignments Due:

Quiz on April 1st Readings and Discussion

Week 14

4/15/15    Final Presentations

Week 15

4/22/15   Last Day of Class

Quiz on Public Health Planning – Readings and Lecture for Week 13

Final Presentations