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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Deanery of Biomedical Sciences : Medical Sciences (Biomedical Sciences)

Undergraduate Course: Health, Illness and Society 3 (MSBM09003)

Course Outline
SchoolDeanery of Biomedical Sciences CollegeCollege of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 9 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
Summary**This course is only open to students on the BSc Medical Sciences programme**

This course aims to introduce students to social scientific approaches to health, illness, and disease, with a focus on the interrelatedness of medicine, society, ethics, politics and the environment in shaping health experience and outcome. The course draws upon evidence from several disciplines including sociology of health and illness, critical public health, and bioethics.
Course description 'Health, Illness and Society (HIS) introduces students to the social and wider determinants of health experience and outcome; lived experience of illness and disease, understood as shaped by multiple axes of social position and situated within social, cultural, political and environmental contexts, and ethics (public health and ethics relating to medical and social care).
This is a social scientific course, which draws upon both qualitative and quantitative evidence and is structured into three substantive sections: 'Understanding Health Inequalities' comes first, running from weeks 1-4 incl. This is followed by 'Experiences of health and illness', covered in weeks 5-8 incl. Finally, 'Global and Planetary health' will be the focus of the final weeks. Taken as a whole, the course will introduce students to:

- The social and wider determinants of health which shape patterns of health inequalities in the population.

- The many and varied factors that shape experiences of illness.

- Key ethical principles, and how these relate to clinical care, population health and ┬┐human flourishing┬┐.

In the initial weeks of the course, you will be introduced to health inequalities and the various frameworks used for understanding these disparities in health experiences and outcomes. The course goes on to explore experiences of health and illness, covering topics such as chronic illness and disability, the doctor-patient interaction and experiences of diagnosis. Finally, we will turn to consider global and planetary health, focusing on questions of health that concern us all, as interconnected in the global world. Throughout the course, resources will be used that offer examples from both the UK and globally.

Lectures and tutorials will introduce students to different forms of evidence and regular guest speakers will offer first-hand insights into the applicability and relevance of 'structural competency' to their work as frontline health professionals, policymakers, academic researchers, and activists.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements Students must be enrolled on the BSc Medical Sciences degree programme.
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2021/22, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Lecture Hours 15, Seminar/Tutorial Hours 15, Feedback/Feedforward Hours 1, Summative Assessment Hours 2, Revision Session Hours 3, Other Study Hours 1, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 159 )
Additional Information (Learning and Teaching) N/A
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) The course will be assessed through three equally weighted in-course assessments, (ICAs). Each assessment is worth one third of the overall course mark. The assessments will relate to each of the three key sections of the course, with one ICA on health inequalities, one on global and planetary health (both written assignments) and one on lived experience of illness (presentation).
Feedback Support is given to students in tutorials before the submission of ICA and extensive feedback is given on each following submission.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Understand the intersecting social, political, and cultural influences on how illness is experienced and care provided.
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of the intersecting social, cultural, political and environmental influences on inequitable distribution of health and illness within and between societies, and how different and multiple axes of social position are impacted.
  3. Be able to identify key sociological concepts which help us to understand health inequalities and the lived experience of illness; and be able to use apply concepts to illuminate these experiences.
  4. Demonstrate knowledge and critical understanding of public health interventions (upstream and downstream) to improve the health of individuals and populations in the UK and in low to middle income countries.
  5. Understand the basics of key ethical principles as applied to both preventative public health and also clinical practice and social care.
Reading List
Bradby, H., 2008. Medical sociology: An introduction. Sage.

Smith, K.E., Bambra, C. and Hill, S.E. eds., 2016. Health inequalities: Critical perspectives. Oxford University Press.

Scambler, G. ed., 2018. Sociology as applied to health and medicine. Macmillan International Higher Education.

Metzl, J.M. and Hansen, H., 2014. Structural competency: theorizing a new medical engagement with stigma and inequality. Social science & medicine, 103, pp.126-133.

Further readings will be given in the course resource list.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
Course organiserDr Sarah Wright
Course secretaryMs Lisa Ketchion
Tel: (0131 6)51 1629
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