The Science of Social Justice: A Public Health Approach

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Course DatesMeeting TimesStatusInstructor(s)CRNRegistration
July 08, 2019 - July 19, 20197/08 - 7/19M-F 9A-11:30A and TWTh 1P-2:30POpenEulalia Santamaria

Course Description

This course is designed specifically for English Language Learners interested in further developing their English skills in a challenging college-level academic setting.

This course is designed to introduce students to information and skills necessary to develop (or adapt) and ultimately test or implement a behavioral change intervention that promotes social justice. Course instruction will draw from public health principles to identify a health problem in a specific population or place, identify social determinants of health and scientific basis for understanding and changing health behaviors. Students will critique intervention studies and gain experience in developing a behavior change intervention. Students will learn to conduct needs assessments and to set goals and objectives for developing an intervention and designing an evaluation plan, all while taking into account factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, poverty, culture, social support or social capital, etc. These main objectives will be achieved through course instruction, readings, critical reflections, and group discussions culminating into a public health intervention.

The course will focus on identification and conceptualization of an addressable public health problem (i.e., selection of health outcome requiring change in order to achieve social justice or health equity) and the risk factors or behaviors leading to the problem. Through reading and critiquing the scientific literature on a public health topic of their choice, students will design a plan (i.e., an intervention plan) to address the public health problem either by building off of what has been successfully done or proposing new and innovative aspects of their proposed intervention plans (i.e., being creative and uncovering new ideas that may address the public health problem more effectively). The Intervention Mapping Approach for planning health promotion programs will be used as the overarching framework for the intervention development (Planning Health Promotion Programs: An Intervention Mapping Approach 3rd Edition by L. Kay Bartholomew, Guy S. Parcel, Gerjo Kok, Nell H. Gottlieb, and Maria E. Fernandez. Jossey-Bass. 2011). The Intervention Mapping Approach includes several elements, but for this class we will focus only the following 3: (a) conducting a needs assessment (brief literature review and CDC website visit) of the health problem to identify environmental or personal determinants contributing to the public health problem and drawing a logic model of the problem; (b) describing methods or strategies to promote changes in the health outcome; and (c) design an evaluation plan for the intervention.

This course serves as an introduction to behavioral or intervention research and to the field of public health in general. It will provide opportunities for students to develop skills required for this field (e.g., reviewing and appraising the literature, scientific writing, etc.). Students will also acquire practical skills in understanding how to go about designing and implementing behavioral interventions and further their knowledge of the opportunities and constraints of implementing interventions with various populations or risk groups and in different geographical and cultural settings (urban, rural, resource limited settings).

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to: (a) identify personal, social, cultural, and environmental factors that affect particular public health problems; (b) demonstrate an understanding of needs assessment and how to use these methods to design interventions for diverse target audiences including different cultural groups; (c) create an intervention logic model of the health problem; (d) develop and present plans for a hypothetical intervention; and (e) describe strategies to evaluate interventions.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course. However, the course is designed for students interested in promoting population level health equity/outcomes or interested in achieving social justice from a public health lens.


Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPC0801
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

Summer@Brown for English Language Learners

A select group of non-credit courses in the liberal arts and sciences supplemented with English language learning, two weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For University-bound English language learners completing grades 9-12 by June 2019.

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