PH201x: Health and Society


The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables that affect population health.

About this Course

*Note - This is an Archived course*

This is a past/archived course. At this time, you can only explore this course in a self-paced fashion. Certain features of this course may not be active, but many people enjoy watching the videos and working with the materials. Make sure to check for reruns of this course.

The purpose of this course is to introduce students to the major social variables—social class, race, gender, poverty, income distribution, social networks/support, community cohesion, the work and neighborhood environment—that affect population health.

The course covers the theoretical underpinnings of each construct (e.g. "race" as a social category), and surveys the empirical research linking each to population health status. Methods are introduced to operationalize each construct for the purposes of empirical application in epidemiologic research.

Before your course starts, try the new edX Demo where you can explore the fun, interactive learning environment and virtual labs. Learn more.

Course Staff

  • Ichiro Kawachi

    Ichiro Kawachi, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Social Epidemiology, and Chair of the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. Kawachi received both his medical degree and Ph.D. (in epidemiology) from the University of Otago, New Zealand. He has taught at the Harvard School of Public Health since 1992. Kawachi has published over 400 articles on the social and economic determinants of population health. He was the co-editor (with Lisa Berkman) of the first textbook on Social Epidemiology, published by Oxford University Press in 2000. His other books include The Health of Nations with Bruce Kennedy (The New Press, 2002); Neighborhoods and Health with Lisa Berkman (Oxford University Press, 2003); Globalization and Health with Sarah Wamala of the Swedish National Institute of Public Health (Oxford University Press, 2006), and Social Capital and Health (Springer, 2008) co-edited with S.V. Subramanian and Daniel Kim. Kawachi is the Senior Editor (Social Epidemiology) of the international journal Social Science & Medicine since 2000. He is an elected member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences.

  • Monica Wang

    Monica L. Wang, Sc.D., M.S. is a research fellow in the Division of Preventive and Behavioral Medicine at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and an instructor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Wang received both her doctoral and master’s degree in social and behavioral sciences with a concentration in maternal and child health from the Harvard School of Public Health. Since 2009, she has taught courses on the social and behavioral determinants of health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Wang served as an evaluation consultant for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the National Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning. In 2011, she was awarded the Albert Schweitzer Fellowship to support her work to reduce the sugar-sweetened beverage consumption through youth-led advocacy among high school youth in Boston. Her research includes addressing racial/ethnic and socioeconomic disparities in obesity and obesity-related conditions through community-engaged research, as well as the design, implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of culturally-appropriate and sustainable behavioral interventions that promote healthy eating and physical activity among underserved children and families.

  • 15 November 2013, 12 weeks
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  • Language: English Gb


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