Course Syllabus

Public Health 690F
Public Health and Social Justice
W 9:30am-12:00pm
DuBois Library, Room 767

Professor: Aline Gubrium, Ph.D.
Office location: 304 Arnold House
Office phone: 413.545.2244
Office hours: By appointment
Email: agubrium@schoolph.umass.edu
Course blog: http://blogs.umass.edu/pubhlth690f-agubrium

PDF of Course Syllabus

“Technology…is not simply an adjunct to business-as-usual; it becomes a defining quality of our culture as researchers. As such, we might do well to devote more of our energies to studying ourselves as we study others (Tedlock, 2005). In other words, we need to turn our observational skills on the encounters we ourselves create; we must observe not only what happens when ‘we’ encounter ‘them,’ but also what happens to us when we mediate those encounters via a particular kind of technology that has the capacity to transform both our way of seeing and our way of understanding the world” (Michael V. Angrosino, 2007, Naturalistic Observation, Walnut Creek: Left Coast Press, Inc., p. 119).

Course Description
This course provides an introduction to the topic of public health and social justice through an in-depth examination and discussion of the social determinants of health, by learning emergent community-based participatory research narrative methods that may be used to address social injustice and public health issues from a lived experience perspective, and by participating in an engaged scholarship project that incorporates one of these narrative methods to address social inequity. The course is designed to provide students with theoretical principles, methods, and skills essential to plan, implement, and evaluate community development activities. For this semester’s engaged scholarship project we will focus on the Photovoice focused group method. To accomplish our learning objectives, you will collaborate with each other and with the Amherst and Northampton and Amherst Health Departments to support the planning and implementation of a Photovoice-based project focused on public health and the built environment. At the end of the course session you will have a chance to participate in a three-day digital storytelling workshop in which you will be asked to produce a digital story about your experience with the Photovoice project and/or on your perspective on the built environment.

Course Objectives

  1. Identify, analyze, and interpret factors influencing people’s health status through an understanding of the social determinants of health and theories of social change;
  2. Identify and work with community-based participatory research methods that may be used in health promotion, research, and education programs;
  3. Understand community developmental theoretical frameworks associated with social change, such as empowerment, community participation, and capacity building;
  4. Identify roles and responsibilities of the public health educator, other practitioners, and community members as agents of change;
  5. Learn to apply participatory education methods to a community-based engaged scholarship project; and
  6. Construct a complex understanding of community, social justice, and health by integrating theoretical and experiential learning.

Public Health Outcome Competencies
After completing PUBHLTH690F “Public Health and Social Justice,” you should be able to:

  1. Identify, analyze and interpret factors influencing people’s health status through a strong foundation in the social determinants of health and the community developmental theoretical frameworks associated with social change;
  2. Demonstrate sensitivity to diversity in communities; and
  3. Communicate the mission of public health as associated with social justice strategies.

Course Format
Over the course of the semester we will discuss course readings and you will have the opportunity to learn two community-based participatory narrative research methods that may be incorporated into community health outreach programs and work with these methods by essentially studying yourselves. Class format will include seminar discussions, method trainings, and individual and small group work activities to provide you with both a theoretical framework and practical skills. You will also contribute to a course-based blog as a way to reflect upon the course readings and to provide a starting point for class discussions of the readings.

As part of the course expectations you will plan, organize, and implement a Photovoice-based project with the Amherst and Northampton Health Departments, in which you will be responsible (in groups of threes or fours) for leading focused group discussion sessions with still to-be-determined social groups around the issue of public health and the built environment. You may have to be more flexible with your time—i.e. some course activities, such as implementation of the focused group discussions, will take place at times other than our assigned class period. Toward the end of the semester (April 17th, 24th and 25th) you will also have a chance to participate in a three-day digital storytelling workshop in which you can produce a digital story of your experience with the Photovoice project and/or your perspective on public health and the built environment. Finally, at the end of the semester (some time in May, TBD), you will take part in a public exhibition of the Photovoice project photos (possibly including the digital stories you have produced), in which community members, healthcare providers, and key community stakeholders will be invited to view the exhibit and to hold a conversation with you and participating community members about issues of concern regarding the built environment.

Requirements and Responsibilities
Equipment
2.0    GB USB flash drive

Readings
The following required book for the course is available through the UMass Textbook Annex, www.amazon.com or www.half.com:
Social Injustice and Public Health (2005), Edited by Barry S. Levy and Victor W. Sidel, Oxford University Press (SIaPH)

*Social Injustice and Public Health may also be found for free through the UMass library. Go to http://www.library.umass.edu/ and choose library catalog. Then enter Social Injustice and Public Health into the search box and choose “title begins with” to the left. Choose Social Injustice and Public Health from the list of options and then choose the UM Dubois Library e-book option (click on the UM Dubois Library link). Then click on Online: UMass: An electronic book accessible through the World Wide Web; click to view. You will need to enter your UMass OIT username and password if you are accessing the book from an off-campus location. And you may have to download a plugin for the ebrary Reader (so you can print pages of the book for easier reading).

Articles for this course will be available either online through the course blog or will be distributed during the class period prior to the assigned due date.

Grading Rubric
Evaluation of class performance will be based on performance in three areas: active class engagement, blog responses, and engaged scholarship project participation.  An “A” or evaluation of excellence in the course will be based on an exemplary performance in all of the following course components. Students are expected to read all assignments prior to the class for which they are assigned.  This class will be primarily discussion based/seminar format and hands-on in nature. Course discussions are intended to supplement, not replace, the readings.  That is, assigned readings are expected to be read, and at times responded to, despite the possibility that time will not permit us to discuss all of them.

Assignments: All students are required to fulfill the following responsibilities.  Your final grade will be based on the following percentages as indicated below:
1.    Active in-class engagement 20%
2.    Weekly blog posts 20%
3.    First in-class presentation of reading 20%
4.    Second in-class presentation of reading 20%
5.    Engaged scholarship project participation 20%

1. Active in-class engagement: This includes contributions to the class discussions based on required readings and engaged scholarship project activities. This component will account for 20% of your final course grade. Your presence in the classroom is key to your active participation. Your conscientious efforts to keep up with course activities will determine the quality of your contributions. As such, you will be required to do some extracurricular work in order to complete expected course outcomes. The course uses the notion of students as a “community of learners” as its foundation.  As such, each class member is expected to participate in learning, teaching, and project planning as the semester unfolds.  This not only assumes pre-preparation, but also active engagement. Attendance will be taken during each in-class session and will contribute to the grade you receive for this component.

2. Course blog posts: Using our course blog, you will describe your learning experiences with the readings, class discussions, and engaged scholarship project. This component will account for 20% of your final course grade. Over the course of the semester you will each be responsible for blog posts (comments) to the course blog (http://blogs.umass.edu/pubh690f). Blog posts on the course blog will essentially serve as reaction papers to readings, discussions, and course activities. We will all be able to read and comment upon each other’s blog posts as a classroom of co-learners and colleagues.

Blog posts are due online by the day and time of class (Wednesday at 9:30am). You will be responsible for posting a blog comment each week, except for the following weeks:
1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, and 15.
This means that over the course of the semester you will post eight blog comments to the course blog.

Each of you will choose a blog nickname (pseudonym), which will allow for you to virtually anonymously post on assigned topics. Please make sure to email me your blog pseudonym so that I am able to identify who is writing which blog. You are encouraged to respond to others’ blog posts—the blog is a forum for conversing about course activities.

Blog posts will be graded using a “check-minus,” “check,” or “check-plus” format. Blog posts receiving a “check-minus” are those that appear to be written hastily, without much thought given to the course readings beyond a brief summary and without linking course readings or activities to your daily lives or the ways you have learned about course materials/activities in other settings. Blog posts receiving a “check” are those that review course readings, discussions and activities in a summary fashion, but do not expand much beyond a summary format. Blog posts receiving a “check-plus” are those that review course materials, link course materials to outside experiences and alternative ways of learning about course materials, and critically consider what is learned from course readings, discussions and activities.

3/4. In-class presentations: Two individual in-class presentations will count for 40% of your final grade (each presentation is worth 20% of your final grade).  Over the course of the semester each of you will plan and facilitate a class presentation and discussion on a chosen topic. You will be responsible for presenting for approximately 45-60 minutes on the chosen topic to guide class discussion. Your presentation will be evaluated on the quality and accuracy of its substantive content and the organization and creativity embodied in the form of the presentation.  Your presentations should be public health and social justice knowledge-based, creative, and interactive (presentations will be assigned after the semester has begun, and you will be allowed to chose from among a select number of topics). Presentations should be preliminarily guided by the assigned reading to go along with your topic. However, I also expect you to do additional reading on the topic to develop your presentation. Please see the In-Class Presentation Guidelines on another the corresponding blog page.

5. Engaged scholarship project participation: This project, discussed more elaborately in the course format section of this syllabus, will involve in-class and extracurricular meetings over the course of an approximately eight-week period. This component will account for 20% of your final grade.

Academic Honesty Policy: Our reading, evaluation and grading of your reflective blog entries will follow the policy of academic honesty established by the University of Massachusetts. This policy is described in the student handbook and found at:
http://www.umass.edu/dean_students/code_conduct/acad_honest.htm

It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with professional ethical standards used to acknowledge and credit the ideas of others included in class assignments and other writings. I will report plagiarism either word-for-word or non-cited paraphrasing of published and non-published materials, including other students’ works, or works that have been previously submitted for other courses to the department chair and faculty for appropriate action. Student work that contains recognizable plagiarized ideas or already submitted for credit in other courses will be graded “F” automatically. Information obtained from the Internet must include who said what, when and where in order to be appropriately credited. Please remember, though, that a large proportion of Internet material is not peer-reviewed, and thus is not deemed as acceptable as an academic resource (this does not include articles that you find through database searches on the library website). I urge you to review the mechanics of documentation, especially the distinction between direct citing, paraphrasing, summarizing and synthesizing, and the general rules for presenting references. Our library has a collection of academic writing books available to students. In addition, the Writing Center provides tutorials on a walk-in basis and by appointment.

Accommodation policy: I follow the University of Massachusetts Amherst policy on special accommodations. If you have a documented disability that requires an accommodation, please notify me within the first two weeks of the semester so that I can make appropriate arrangements. Please bring with you the form for instructors given by the Disability Services (DS), Learning Disabilities Support Services (LDSS), or Psychological Disability Services (PDS).

Cell phone policy: Please turn your cell phones off during class. Ringing/vibrating cell phone disturb the flow of the class.

Course content and outline
A description of class meetings, assigned readings (due to be read on the date they are noted on the syllabus), and class activities are included in the schedule below. Please note that my syllabus change policy is that, except for changes that substantially affect implementation of the evaluation/grading statement, I treat this document as a guide for the course that can change according to your needs, interests, and requests.

Week 1
January 28th: Introduction to course content and requirements

  • Review course syllabus
  • Film: Unnatural Causes: Episode 1 “In Sickness and in Wealth” (56 mins)

Week 2
February 4th: Public health ethics and equity

  • Class activity: Unnatural Causes Health Equity activities
  • Reading (handout): “Health Disparities: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know? What Should We Do?” H. Jack Geiger in Gender, Race, Class, & Health: Intersectional Approaches
  • Reading (handout): “Why Health Equity?” Amartya Sen in Public Health, Ethics, and Equity
  • Reading (handout): “Ethics and Experience: An Anthropological Approach to Health Equity,” Arthur Kleinman in Public Health, Ethics, and Equity

Week 3
February 11th: Social determinants of health

  • Film: “The Edge of America: Struggling for Health and Justice” (60 mins)
  • Reading (SIaPH): “The Nature of Social Injustice and Its Impact on Public Health,” Sidel and Levy
  • Reading (handout): “Social Causes of Social Inequalities in Health,” Michael Marmot in Public Health, Ethics, and Equity
  • Reading (handout): “Health and Inequality, or Why Justice is Good for Our Health,” Daniels, Kennedy, and Kawachi in Public Health, Ethics, and Equity

Week 4
February 18th: How does social injustice affect health? (Student presentations)

Students choose a chapter from SIaPH Part III to present. You are responsible for reading the chapter corresponding with the chosen health issue and to do extra reading on the health issue for your presentation.

Week 5
February 25th: How does social injustice affect health? (Student presentations continued)

Students choose a chapter from SIaPH Part III to present. You are responsible for reading the chapter corresponding with the chosen health issue and to do extra reading on the health issue for your presentation.

Week 6
March 4th: Community development theoretical frameworks associated with social change

  • Class activity: Community mapping and community mapping websites
  • Reading (SIaPH): “Strengthening Communities and the Roles of Individuals in Community Life,” Aronson et al.
  • Reading (handout): “Improving Health through Community Organization and Community Building: A Health Education Perspective,” Minkler and Wallerstein in Community Organizing and Community Building for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Mapping Community Capacity,” McKnight and Kretzmann in Community Organizing and Community Building for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Mapping Social and Environmental Influences on Health: A Community Perspective,” Ayala et al. in Methods in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health

Week 7
March 11th: Community-based participatory research (CBPR)

  • Class activity: Engaged scholarship project planning
  • Reading (handout): “The Conceptual, Historical, and Practice Roots of Community Based Participatory Research and Related Participatory Traditions,” Wallerstein and Duran in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Critical Issues in Developing and Following Community Based Participatory Research Principles,” Israel et al. in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Guidelines for Participatory Research in Health Promotion,” Green et al. in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Community Based Participatory Research with a Hidden Population: The Transgender Community Health Project,” in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health

Week 8
March 18th:  Spring Break—No class today

Week 9
March 25th: Photovoice and Photo Elicitation Strategies

  • Class activity: Photovoice training
  • Distribute and discuss Border Film Project: Photos by Migrants & Minutemen on the U.S.-Mexico Border and Love Makes a Family: Portraits of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Parents and Their Families books
  • Reading (handout): “Using Photovoice as a Participatory Assessment and Issue Selection Tool: A Case Study with the Homeless in Ann Arbor,” Caroline C. Wang in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Photovoice as a Community-Based Participatory Research Method: A Case Study with African American Breast Cancer Survivors in Rural Eastern North Carolina,” “Inspirational Images Project: Fact Sheet and Informed Consent Form for Study Participants,” and “Inspirational Images Project: Consent for Adults Who May Appear in Photographs,” Lopez et al. in Methods in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Photographing the Overview: Mapping and Surveying,” John Collier, Jr. and Malcolm Collier in Visual Anthropology: Photography as a Research Method

Week 10
April 1st: The Built Environment and Social Injustice

  • In-class presentation: Dr. Krista Harper, Department of Anthropology, UMass-Amherst (TBD)
  • Class activity: Unnatural Causes Why Place Matters activity
  • Unnatural Causes film: “Place Matters” (29 mins)
  • Reading (handout): “Creating Healthy Communities, Healthy Homes, Healthy People: Initiating a Research Agenda on the Built Environment and Public Health,” Srinivasan, O’Fallon & Dearry in AJPH
  • Reading (handout): “Practicing Active Learning: Introducing Urban Geography and Engaging Community in Pilsen, Chicago,” Curran, Hague, & Gill in Pedagogies of Praxis: Course-Based Action Research in the Social Sciences
  • Reading (handout): “Introduction” and “‘Where crowded humanity suffers and sickens’: The Banes Family and Their Neighborhood,” Laurie Kaye Abraham in Mama Might Be Better Off Dead: The Failure of Health Care in Urban America
  • Reading (handout): “Neighborhoods and Obesity in Later Life,” Grafova et al. in AJPH

Week 11
April 8th: How is the health of specific social groups affected by social injustice? (Student presentations)

Students choose a chapter from SIaPH Part II to present. You are responsible for reading the chapter corresponding with the chosen social group and to do extra reading on this social group for your presentation.

Week 12
April 15th: How is the health of specific social groups affected by social injustice? (Student presentations continued)

Students choose a chapter from SIaPH Part II to present. You are responsible for reading the chapter corresponding with the chosen social group and to do extra reading on this social group for your presentation.

Week 13
April 22nd: What needs to be done? Action research!

  • Class activity: Unnatural Causes Advocacy and Media Advocacy activities
  • Reading (handout): “Research in Professional and Public Life” and “Theory and Principles of Action Research,” Ernest T. Stringer in Action Research
  • Reading (handout): “Issues and Choice Points for Improving the Quality of Action Research,” Bradbury and Reason in Community-Based Participatory Research for Health
  • Reading (handout): “Theorizing Inequalities in Health: The Place of Lay Knowledge,” Popay et al. in Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology, and Inequity in the Distribution of Disease
  • Reading (handout): “My Journey Through the Whirlwind,” “Developing a Methodology: Narratives and Stories,” and “Story-telling in the Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Context,” Dan Bar-On in Tell Your Life Story: Creating Dialogue among Jews and Germans, Israelis and Palestinians

Week 14
April 29th: Public Health Policy and Social Justice

  • Class activity: Unnatural Causes Policy Guide activity
  • Reading (SIaPH): “Promoting Social Justice Through Public Health Policies, Programs, and Services,” Alonzo Plough
  • Reading (handout): “From Science to Policy: Options for Reducing Health Inequalities,” Hilary Graham in Health and Social Justice: Politics, Ideology, and Inequity in the Distribution of Disease
  • Reading (handout): “Ethics in American Health 1: Ethical Approaches to Health Policy,” Jennifer Prah Ruger in AJPH
  • Reading (handout): “Bringing Everyday Life to Policy Analysis,” Nancy A. Naples in Feminism and Method: Ethnography, Discourse Analysis, and Activist Research

Week 15
May 6th: Photovoice Project Exhibition planning

Week of May 13th: Unnatural Causes Photovoice Project Exhibition!!