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TM5506 - Social Science in Public Health

Credit points: 3
Year: 2012
Student Contribution Band: Band 2
Administered by: Sch Public Health,Trop Medicine&Rehabilitation Sc

The subject seeks to provide students with a conceptual and theoretical foundation for studying the ways in which social and cultural factors influence the incidence and understanding of, and societies' responses to, health and illness. Topics covered include: social analysis, an introductory conceptual toolkit; health and illness as culturally-shaped constructs; the social environment, social capital and health; medical encounters as socially-structured events; health systems, health services and health, and macro-social determinants of health and disease. Approaches to integrating social and biomedical explanations for health and illness will be examined. In addition, the subject will provide an introduction to the use of social science research methods in public health research, and to health program evaluation and policy analysis. Throughout the course, key theoretical and empirical issues will be explored with reference to selected public health issues, including HIV/AIDS and obesity.

Learning Outcomes

  • Be able to utilise sociological and other social science concepts to examine social aspects of public health problems;
  • Be familiar with the main perspectives offered by medical sociology and medical anthropology in addressing public health issues, as well as with the contribution of other social sciences, such as geography;
  • Understand the relationships between cultural patterns and health-related behaviour;
  • Be familiar with key concepts and approaches used in exploring the relationship between social environments and health, in particular the concept of social capital;
  • Be familiar with main approaches to understanding relationships between health policies, health systems and health outcomes.

Graduate Qualities

  • The ability to read complex and demanding texts accurately, critically and insightfully;
  • The ability to appraise information critically;
  • The ability to conceptualise and evaluate a range of potential solutions to relevant problems.


Study Period 2, External
Census Date 23-Aug-2012
Coordinator: Ms Julie Parison
Lecturers: Ms Julie Parison, <Person not found>.
Method of Delivery: andWWW - LearnJCUPrinted materials
Assessment: assignments.

Note: Minor variations might occur due to the continuous Subject quality improvement process, and in case of minor variation(s) in assessment details, the Subject Outline represents the latest official information.