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Health Promotion and Population Health


Academic year: 2021

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McMaster University

Department of Health, Aging & Society


Term: Fall 2011 Instructor: Dr. Elena Neiterman

Time: Wed. 07:00-10:00 pm Office: KTH-231

Office Hours: Mon/Wed 9:45am-11am

Phone: (905) 525-9140 Ext. 27414

Email Address: neitee@mcmaster.ca

Health Promotion and Population Health


In this course we will learn about population health from a variety of theoretical perspectives. We will examine the role of society in shaping the health of individuals. We will analyze different models of health promotion and compare them with lay epidemiology. We will critically examine health disparities in Canada and link them to political, economic, and social conditions. Moving to the social determinants of health, we will learn how social and

environmental factors shape health and illness in Canada. We will pay special attention to employment and working conditions, gender, income, and social exclusion as determining factors in health inequalities. Finally, we will learn to critically evaluate health policy in Canada and discuss how the health of our population can be improved.


By the end of the course the students will be able to:

 Identify and assess different theoretical perspectives related to population health  Define and explain the major patterns of health inequalities in Canada

 Critically evaluate health promotion campaigns

 Define and explain the role of social determinants of health in shaping the health of Canadian


 Bryant, T., Raphael, D. & Rioux M. (Eds). (2010). Staying Alive. Critical Perspectives on Health, Illness, and Health Care. 2nd edition. Toronto: CSPI.


Summary: Class participation – 10% Midterm Exam – 30% Written Assignment – 30% Final Exam – 30%



Lectures and readings:

You are required to read the assigned readings prior to attending the lectures. In the lectures we will use the readings to develop our critical thinking skills. For the assigned readings, please consult the weekly schedule. The assigned readings can be found in the textbook or accessed online through McMaster library.

Avenue to Learn (http://avenue.mcmaster.ca/):

The information for the course will be available through Avenue to Learn. Class announcements, marks and power point slides used in lectures will be posted there.

Class Participation (10%)

In addition to attending lectures and participating in class discussions, you will be required to submit some material that will help to stimulate the discussions. For each week we will appoint a group of students who would be responsible for submitting relevant to the weekly topics’ videos, clips, articles, images, movies, personal reflections, questions, opinions, or news headlines. Your class participation grade will reflect the quality of your submitted material and its relevance to the weekly topic. You should submit your contributions one day (24 hours) before the lecture via email on Avenue or on the discussion forum.

Midterm Exam (in class Oct. 26) (30%):

The exam will consist of 60 multiple choice questions. It will be based on the material covered in lectures and in weekly readings.

Written Assignment (30%):

The goal of the written assignment is to evaluate your ability to apply the learned material to the study of health and illness in Canada. You are required to submit only one written assignment. There are two different assignments with two different due dates and you can choose which one you will write. You may submit both assignments for evaluation but your grade for the written assignment will be based on your second submission.

Health Practices Assignment (Due Nov. 02) (30%)

This assignment requires you to reflect on your personal attempt to modify your everyday behaviour in order to lead a healthier life style. Critically analyzing your successful or

unsuccessful attempt to modify your behaviour, you will be required to describe the process and the barriers that you faced in implementing this change. See more about the assignment below.

Critical Analysis Paper (Due Nov. 30) (30%):

The goal of the written assignment is to evaluate your ability to apply the learned material to the study of population health in Canada. Choosing a topic relevant to health promotion or

population health, you will be required to conduct a critical analysis. See more about the assignment below.

Final Exam (December, scheduled by the Registrar) (30%):

The final exam will be based on the material covered in lectures and weekly readings. It will consist of 60 multiple choice questions.




All excuses for illness, injury and family emergency must be addressed through the office of the Associate Dean of Social Sciences who will notify the instructor of your absence.

We are committed to accommodate the students observing religious holidays. Please make sure to discuss the arrangements individually with your instructor as soon as possible.


We are committed to working with students with disabilities to make individualized

accommodations according to your specific needs. Such arrangements must be made through the Centre for Student Development. Please feel free to discuss your needs with your instructor.


The instructor has weekly office hours. You can also contact your instructor via email. Please make sure to include into the subject line the name of the course you are attending and to

indicate your name and your student ID. Generally, you can expect the response to your message from the instructor within 24 hours excluding weekends.


Effective September 1, 2010, it is the policy of the Faculty of Social Sciences that all e-mail communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from the student’s own McMaster University e-mail account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student. It is the student’s responsibility to ensure that communication is sent to the university from a McMaster account. If an instructor becomes aware that a communication has come from an alternate address, the instructor may not reply at his or her discretion.

Email Forwarding in MUGSI:


*Forwarding will take effect 24-hours after students complete the process at the above link


Academic dishonesty consists of misrepresentation by deception or by other fraudulent means and can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various kinds of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy,

specifically Appendix 3, located at http://www.mcmaster.ca/policy/Students-AcademicStudies/AcademicIntegrity.pdf

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one's own or for which other credit has been obtained.

2. Improper collaboration in group work.



In this course we will be using a web-based service (Turnitin.com) to reveal plagiarism. Students will be expected to submit their work electronically to Turnitin.com and in hard copy so that it can be checked for academic dishonesty. Students who do not wish to submit their work to Turnitin.com must still submit a copy to the instructor. No penalty will be assigned to a student who does not submit work to Turnitin.com. All submitted work is subject to normal verification that standards of academic integrity have been upheld (e.g., on-line search, etc.). To see the Turnitin.com Policy, please go to www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity


Date Topic Readings

Week 1, Sep. 14 Introduction to the course No readings required Week 2, Sep. 21 Theoretical approaches to the

study of population health

Staying Alive: Chapters 1, 2 Week 3, Sep. 28 No class

Week 4, Oct. 05 Theoretical approaches Staying Alive: Chapters 3, 4 Week 5, Oct. 12 Researching Health Staying Alive: Chapter 5

Week 6, Oct. 19 Models of health behavior Redding, C. A., Rossi, J. S., Rossi, S. R., Velicer, W. F., & Prochaska, J. O. (2000). Health Behavior Models. The

International Electronic Journal of Health Education, 3(Special Issue), 180-193.

http://www.ithaca.edu/HPHMComputer/HealthBehaviorMo dels.pdf

Week 7, Oct. 26 Midterm Exam Paper Due November 02 in class

Week 8, Nov. 02 Lay Epidemiology Bury, M. (1994). Health Promotion and Lay Epidemiology: A Sociological View. Health Care Analysis 2:23-30

Calnan, M., & Williams, S. (1991). Style of Life and the Salience of Health: An Exploratory Study of Health Related Practices in Households from Differing Socio-Economic Circumstances. Sociology of Health and Illness, 13(4), 506-529

Week 9, Nov. 09 Social Determinants of Health Staying Alive: Chapter 6

Wilkinson, R., G. (1994). The epidemiological transition: From material scarcity to social disadvantage. Daedalus, 123 (4): 61-77

Week 10, Nov. 16 Social Class and Politics Staying Alive: Chapters 7, 9 Week 11, Nov. 23 Gender and Ethnicity Staying Alive: Chapters 8, 13 Paper Due November 30 in class

Week 12, Nov. 30 Public Health Concerns Staying Alive: Chapters 15, 16

The instructor and university reserve the right to modify elements of the course during the term. The university may change the dates and deadlines for any or all courses in extreme circumstances. If either type of modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. It is the responsibility of the student to check his/her McMaster email and course websites weekly during the term and to note any changes.




 Submit one hard copy of the assignment to your instructor in the beginning of the class on the due date and an electronic copy to the www.turnitin.com.

 Make sure to keep the copy of the assignment for your records.  Late submissions will be penalized 5% per day.

 Use 2 or 1.5 line spacing and font Times New Roman 12 or Arial 10-11.  The assignment should have a title page with your name and student number.  Use headings and subheadings.

 Your assignment must include the readings assigned for the course and at least 5 academic sources that were not discussed in class.

 Use APA or ASA style referencing.

 If you have any questions, please direct them to your instructor before completing your assignment.

Steps for completing Health Practices Assignment (Due Nov. 02) (30%):

1. Reflect on your successful or unsuccessful attempt to implement a change in your life that would lead to a healthier lifestyle. This can include quitting smoking or drinking, decision to exercise, eating healthier, or implementing any other change which you identify as healthy.

2. Using one of the models on health practices discussed in class, critically analyze your attempt and examine (1) why did you decide to make a change, (2) what made this change (im)possible, and (3) what social factors played a role in this process.

3. Making the link to the material studied in class, think how your personal experience can better explain the role of social and structural factors in health practices modification. 4. Write up your report. Your assignment should be between 5-7 pages long. Do not exceed

the page limit. It must include the following components:

 Introduction – summarize the goal of your paper and the research question that you will be addressing. Include a brief summary of your paper and your major arguments.

 Description of Personal Experience – describe your personal experience. Identify why did you want to make a change, whether the change was successful or not, how long it took you to make a change, who or what helped you, and include any other relevant


 Analysis – briefly summarize one of the health behaviour models studied in class and explain how your experience can be analyzed using this model. Explain why did you choose this model and identify this model’s disadvantages. The second part of the analysis should address the larger structural factors that impacted your attempt and placed barriers or helped you to modify your behaviour.

 Summary and Conclusion – summarize your paper. Explain how would you further research this topic and what contribution it would make to the study of health and illness.  References – You have to use at least 5 sources in addition to the material studied in class.



Steps for completing Critical Analysis Assignment (Due Nov. 30) (30%):

1. Identify the topic of your interest. You can choose one of the topics covered in class or find another topic that is relevant to the course material. In choosing the topic of your interest, you can consult newspapers, government reports, published studies in health promotion or any other relevant material. Formulate research question.

2. Look up academic literature that is relevant to your topic. You must use the material studied in class but you also need to find at least 5 additional academic sources. Summarize the literature and identify how it fits with your research question.

3. Provide your standpoint on the topic. Using one of the theoretical perspectives that we studied, critically examine the literature. Identify the points that are missing in the reviewed literature and propose some alternative explanations or solutions to the problem.

4. Write up your report. Your paper has to be 10-12 pages long not including title page, references and appendix. Do not exceed the page limit. You must include the following components:

 Introduction – summarize the goal of your paper and the research question that you will be addressing. Include a brief summary of your paper and your major arguments.

 Literature Review – summarize the existing academic standpoint on the issue you are investigating and explain how your research fits within the literature.

 Analysis – using one of the theoretical perspectives that we covered in class, explain how your research problem can be viewed differently or addressed differently. Critically examine the approach taken by the literature in addressing your topic and identify the problems and possible solutions.

 Summary and Conclusion – summarize your paper. Explain how would you further research this topic and what contribution it would make to the study of health and illness.  References – You have to use at least 5 sources in addition to the material studied in class.

Do not cite lectures. Use APA/ASA referencing format.

 Appendix – if you decide to use news reports or any other published material, submit the copy of it in an Appendix.


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