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Spring Course Highlight

Our health is essential now more than ever. Discover these Spring 2021 courses that revolve around several facets of our living health.


HLTH 385-5: 21st Century HLTH & Well-being: Ancient Practices Meet Modern Science

All the opportunities of the modern world are ours for the taking. Yet many of us fail to benefit fully from these opportunities because we struggle with depression and anxiety. And we are not alone. More people are taking antidepressants than ever before, and yet rates of depression and anxiety continue to rise, especially in young adults. This course is designed to help us understand why this is the case and what we can do about it. We will explore why depression evolved in humans, why conditions in the modern world tend to promote distress rather than satisfaction, and why medications alone are not likely to solve our problems. Following this, we will explore how more ancient and holistic healing practices can be harnessed to enhance our emotional well-being. Among the ancient practices to be discussed will be hyperthermia, fasting, long-distance running, orgasm, compassion meditation, building purpose, and psychedelic plant-based medicines.

Taught by: Charles Raison


HLTH 485-1: Epidemiology in Action

HLTH 485-1: Epidemiology in Action

Health problems have many complex causes. After mapping the causes of a problem from a specific context (with research, theory & epidemiology), learners will create a proposal with real-world solutions. The proposal will be converted into a persuasive presentation to request funding for the work.

Taught by: John Cranmer


HLTH 385-4 Global Health: Players, Politics, and Powers

HLTH 385-4: Global Health: Players, Politics, and Powers

This course is a seminar-style course that focuses on the interplay of major global health actors/players, the politics of global health, and the power dynamics that infuse the interplay. The course will concentrate on key global health players over the last 25 years including public, multilateral, private, and philanthropic players. The landscape of global health was framed by the post-World War 2 set of organizations and institutions. Over the last 25 years and particularly since the millennium the landscape has fundamentally changed. This course will explore the dynamics of this change, the influence of respective global health players in crafting the global health agenda, and the relative power of each player over time. A key focus of this course will interrogate the question of whether and how the priorities and politics of the big global health players influence decisions taken at community, sub-national and national levels in low and middle-income countries. The course will require a significant amount of reading, critique, discussion, and analysis.

Taught by: Deb McFarland


HLTH 385-7: Double Burden of Malnutrition

HLTH 385-7: Double Burden of Malnutrition

Malnutrition is 'bad' nutrition, due either to excesses or deficiencies. Historically, obesity was a problem exclusive to high-income countries and undernutrition was a problem exclusive to low- and middle-income countries. With the growing global obesity epidemic, diet-related non-communicable diseases are increasingly important causes of morbidity and mortality in low-and middle-income countries. These countries have a health infrastructure developed to address undernutrition; which remains a public health problem, while simultaneously having to contend with the growing challenge of obesity-related health problems. In this course, we will cover the history and evolution of nutrition problems in high, middle, and low-income countries, as well as the interventions designed to improve them. We will compare the prevalence of the double burden of malnutrition in high, middle, and low-income countries. We will critique interventions that improve one type of malnutrition while inadvertently contributing to another kind of malnutrition. And, we will examine options for reducing both types of malnutrition simultaneously.

Taught by: Helena Pachon


HLTH 330-1 Health Behind Locked Doors

HLTH 330-1: Health Behind Locked Doors

In this course, we will focus on the physical and mental health concerns that are associated with two different types of institutions: disability-related residential institutions and prisons and jails. This consideration includes the health concerns that lead to institutionalization/incarceration and those that emerge because of this experience. Students will learn about how various factors influence these experiences and concerns including Historical factors, Socio-political, Infrastructural, Biological, and Attitudinal factors. We will pay particular attention to how race influences and intersects with these factors and situations. Students will learn about specific diseases and conditions along the way. Further, students will learn to discuss and represent these issues in ways that combine the above factors and translate them into an easily accessible format as well as critically analyze the ways these experiences are represented by others.

Taught by: Jennifer Sarrett


HLTH 331-1: Disability & Bioethics

HLTH 331-1: Disability & Bioethics

This course uses case studies to explore bioethical issues related to disability: including end-of-life decision-making, prenatal diagnoses, bio- and neuro-technologies, right to life, and significant disability. Traditional biomedical and bioethical perspectives of these issues will be presented as well as those from the disability studies literature, an approach that aims to ensure civil and human rights are protected and aims to increase the visibility and tolerance of difference in our communities. Students will first master the foundational theories of bioethics, disability, and disability studies in order to fully understand the perspectives that are brought to course topics. Students will also be considering the role the media and legal precedents have in these issues. Throughout the semester, students will be thinking and writing about current news items that relate to the body, technology, and disability. In this way, students will develop a critical eye for these issues in the media and learn to apply the theoretical and practical backgrounds of bioethics and disability studies to the most contemporary concerns of the fields. In order to ensure the course's topics are relevant to contemporary concerns, the course will have a section on Neuroethics and Neurodiversity, the branch of both fields that focus on the mind, psychiatry, and intellectual disability.

Taught by: Jennifer Saarrett

For more information visit or contact Dr. Amanda Freeman ( / Ms. Shiyra Sadoff (