We're All Breathing the Same Air: The Impact of Power and Privilege on Public Health

« Return to Course Catalog

This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

Systems of power and privilege impact us all. Join us in taking a social scientist’s lens to the ever-woven threads of racism, sexism, ableism, heterosexism, and classism to understand their massive impact on global health and individual implicit biases. The foundation of this course will prepare students with skills to become a critical consumer of social science research. Beyond just learning the science behind these topics, we will promote and explore the concept of cultural humility while facilitating self-awareness.

Cultural humility is an attitude and way of being in and responding to the world that encourages individuals to not elevate their own world view over others. Discussions will help students apply the concept of cultural humility in order to grapple with these uncomfortable concepts to facilitate a deeper understanding of health disparities. Cultural humility is recognized as an essential tool for anyone interested in a career that involves human subjects research (e.g., sociologist, epidemiologist, political scientist, psychologist, anthropologist, economist) or direct patient health care (e.g., physician, audiologist, physical therapist).

This course is ideally suited for those who are interested in the social sciences, care about social justice, and are ready to deepen their understanding of how systems of privilege and oppression impact global health. We will arm students with a strong foundational knowledge of relevant terminology, theory, and scientific findings. A public health perspective will be applied to lessons about implicit bias, discrimination, microaggressions, minority stress, cultural humility, and much more.

Lessons will complement all learning styles through a mixture of interactive classroom activities, readings, lectures, and group discussions. Classroom activities and assignments will promote both an understanding of relevant science and critical self-reflection. Instructors will facilitate a safe space where ground rules will be established at the start of the course to ensure that all perspectives can be heard.

The course will culminate in a final research project during which small groups will apply what they have learned to develop a plan to address a specific problem related to disparities in public health.

As a result of participating in this course, students will:
- develop a fundamental skills to make sense of and evaluate social science research
-acquire critical knowledge about how vulnerable and marginalized populations are negatively impacted by both systemic oppression and unconscious bias.
-gain an understanding of the scientific literature to date delineating the devastating consequences of course topics to public health.
-have had an opportunity to engage in thoughtful self-reflection and open discussion about the systems of power and privilege that contribute to oppression.
-learn about cultural humility, it’s utility for social scientists, and how to use it to better understand the world and foster more authentic and meaningful relationships.

Prerequisites: This course has no prerequisites--all are welcome!

Course Information

  • Course Code: CEPC0908
  • Length: 2 weeks

Program Information

STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders

Two-week, non-credit residential program focused on STEM subjects and taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 8-9 by June 2021; minimum age of 14 and maximum age of 15 by the start of the program.

Visit Program Page Information Sessions Learn How to Apply
Back to Top