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Behavioral, Psychosocial and Ecological Aspects of Health, Mental Health and Disease

SW600

Credits: 3
Prerequisites: Foundation Essentials Required

Course Description

This course will survey the distribution, determinants, and biomedical, psychological and behavioral aspects of health inclusive of physical, mental and behavioral health and disease across the life span from pre-birth to death. Social, economic, environmental, structural and cultural variations in and determinants of health, disease, and quality of life will be addressed, including the influence of factors such as race, gender, sexual orientation, geography, ability, biological, genetic and epigenetic factors. Barriers to access and utilization, geopolitical influences, environmental justice, social injustice, oppression and racism, historical trends, and future directions will be reviewed. Health beliefs and models of health behavior (e.g. Health Belief Model,Theory of Planned Behavior,) and structural determinants of health (e.g. Minority Stress Theory) will be presented, including help-seeking and utilization of health services. Stress, allostatic load, coping and social support, adaptation to chronic illness, the influences of privilege, stigma and discrimination, quality of life, and death and dying will also be covered.

Objectives

● Analyze the major causes of mortality and morbidity in the United States, and how they differ among various population groups (EPAS 2, 3, 5).
● Evaluate the impact of diversity dimensions, for example, ability, age, class, color, culture, ethnicity, family structure, gender (including gender identity and gender expression), marital status, national origin, race, geography religion or spirituality, sex, and sexual orientation, etc., and in particular the impact of discrimination and privilege on health across the lifespan (EPAS 2, 3).
● Explain the influence of social, economic, geopolitical, and environmental factors on mortality and morbidity, and the ethical and social justice implications across the lifespan (EPAS 1, 2, 3, 5).
● Compare concepts and definitions of health and disease, including their evolution, strengths, and limitations, as well as the implications for health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and social work practice (EPAS 2, 3).
● Examine biological, socioeconomic, cultural, and behavioral risk and protective factors for health, disease, and quality of life across the lifespan (EPAS 2, 3) .
● Apply current theories and models of health behavior (e.g. substance use, smoking, exercise, and nutrition) and their implications for health promotion, disease prevention, treatment, rehabilitation, and social work practice across the lifespan (EPAS 4).
● Distinguish how cultural and religious differences in health beliefs and practices may impact utilization of health services, and barriers to care (EPAS 3, 5).
● Determine how stress, strain, and chronic illness impact health, coping, and adaptation among individuals in relation to health and disease across the lifespan (EPAS 3, 4).

Design

In-person
The course format will include brief lectures, discussion, individual and group projects, in-class application activities, written assignments, and guest speakers.

Intensive Focus on Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS)

This course integrates PODS content and skills with a special emphasis on the identification of theories, practice and/or policies that promote social justice, illuminate injustices and are consistent with scientific and professional knowledge. Through the use of a variety of instructional methods, this course will support students developing a vision of social justice, learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice, work toward social justice processes, apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks and strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning.

Multiculturalism and Diversity will be addressed throughout this course and will be highlighted in content related to cultural differences in health beliefs and health behavior and the role of protective factors and social support in health status and disease outcomes. Key diversity dimensions will be examined as they relate to health beliefs and health behavior.

Social Justice and Social Change will be addressed in content on differences in mortality and morbidity in population subgroups and access and barriers to care as well as diversity in health outcomes based on health disparities.

Promotion, Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation will be addressed through content on concepts and definitions of health and disease, theories and models of health behavior, and stress, coping, and adaptation as they relate to health and disease across the lifespan.

Students will be encouraged to actively contribute from their experiences, field placement practice, current news and knowledge of readings to considerations of health and health care to:
● help support and develop a vision of social justice,
● learn to recognize and reduce mechanisms that support oppression and injustice,
● work toward social justice processes,
● apply intersectionality and intercultural frameworks
● strengthen critical consciousness, self-knowledge and self-awareness to facilitate PODS learning

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