The Health and Society minor has a threefold mission to provide students with: 1) an opportunity to examine contemporary population health patterns and trends in the US and around the world; 2) an understanding of the social construction of health and illness in modern societies; and 3) a grounding in sociological concepts and theories so that they can apply them to the study of population health.

The Health and Society curriculum addresses crucial questions for contemporary societies including:

  • To what extent, and why, is U.S. population health stratified across key subgroups such as age, gen­der, race/ethnicity, immigrant sta­tus, and socioeconomic status?
  • How might population health in the U.S. be amenable to change through effective public policy?
  • Beyond healthcare policy and its controversies, are there alter­native options that policymakers and other institutions should consider for improving overall US population health and reduce/eliminate disparities?

To accomplish this mission, the curriculum for this minor brings together courses focused specifically on linkages between health and society, along with courses focused on sociological concepts and theories. Together, this set of courses will provide students with insights into the ways that societies define health and illness and how social contexts are important in influencing population health patterns and trends.

The minor meets the substantial demand of students for courses related to health from a sociological perspective. In addition, the program builds on substantial departmental strength with expertise in how health is shaped by family, social class, race, culture, and politics.

The Health and Society minor will provide an excellent foundation for students with a wide range of career interests related to health including medicine, public policy, social work, and mental health.