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1
THE UNIVERSITY OF VERMONT
SOCIAL AND BEHAVIORAL FOUNDATIONS OF PUBLIC HEALTHFall, 2013PH 306 OL1CRN: 94652SyllabusCOURSE: PH 306 OL1:
Social and Behavioral Foundations of Public Health
 CREDITS:
3
SEMESTER:
Fall Session, 2013 (Monday, August 26-Wednesday, December 4, 2013)
PREREQUISITES:
None
 FACULTY:
Professor William Wargo: wwargo@uvm.edu
BRIEF COURSE DESCRIPTION:
The social and behavioral sciences in public health addressthe behavioral, social, and cultural factors related to individual and population health, healthbehaviors and health disparities over the life course. This course emphasizes the importance of social context and cultural construction, and examines current issues in health from a social andbehavioral sciences perspective. Special topics include childhood obesity, mental health andillness, violence, unintentional injury and occupational health.
INTRODUCTION:
This course is designed to:
 
encourage students to think about the multiple and complex roots of behavior (“whatpeople do”), and introduce students to the relationship between behavior and a selectionof major health issues;
 
provide an introductory background to the kinds of social and behavioral theories thatguide our understanding of health related behavior, and that form the background forhealth promotion and prevention efforts; and
 
explore some of the ways in which these theories and approaches are used in appliedhealth promotion efforts.
LEARNING OBJECTIVES:
At the completion of this course, the student should be able to:1.
 
Identify basic theories, concepts, and models from a range of social and behavioral
disciplines that are used in public health research and practice.2.
 
Identify the causes of social and behavioral factors that affect health of individuals andpopulations.3.
 
Identify individual, organizational and community concerns, assets, resources and deficits
 
2for social and behavioral science interventions.4.
 
Identify critical stakeholders for the planning, implementation and evaluation of publichealth programs, policies and interventions.5.
 
Describe steps and procedures for the planning, implementation and evaluation of publichealth programs, policies and interventions.6.
 
Describe the role of social and community factors in both the onset and solution of publichealth problems.7.
 
Describe the merits of social and behavioral science interventions and policies.8.
 
Apply evidence-based approaches in the development and evaluation of social andbehavioral science interventions.9.
 
Apply ethical principles to public health program planning, implementation andevaluation.10.
 
Specify multiple targets and levels of intervention for social and behavioral scienceprograms and/or policies.These learning objectives are also intimately related to certain core competencies identified bythe Association of Schools of Public Health (ASPH) for the Master of Public Health (MPH)degree in graduate schools and programs of public health. The primary vision for the ASPHinitiative is the graduation of professionals who are more fully prepared for the many challengesand opportunities in public health in the forthcoming decade. See: Calhoun et al., 2008.Development of a core competency model for the Master of Public Health Degree.
 American Journal of Public Health,
98(9), pp. 1598-1607. See, also:http://www.asph.org/document.cfm?page=851.
DETAILED COURSE DESCRIPTION:
The course is divided into four
Sections
consisting of fourteen
Chapters
(
Modules
).
Section I. On Health and Behavior An Introduction (Chapters 1-2)
In the first section, we will look at the relationship of behavior to health, review a sample of current and ongoing health problems (domestic and international), and, in a broad sense, discussthe relationship of behavior to those health problems.
Section II. On the Roots of Behavior A Multidisciplinary Survey (Chapters 3-7)
In the second section, we will examine a context from which to understand theory, andsurvey theoretical perspectives from psychology, social psychology, sociology, andanthropology that offer explanations of human behavior, keeping in mind that health
 
3behavior is one domain of human behavior in general – thus linking the field of healthpromotion/prevention to the broader context of social/behavioral theory.
Section III. Putting Theory Into Practice (Chapters 8-13)
The third section will introduce theory-based program planning and application, providingreal-world examples across a range of settings – including community, school, and workplaceprograms, global health, mass media/communications, and programs targeting specialpopulations. This section will also show how theory links program design, implementation, andevaluation.
Section IV. Current Trends (Chapter 14)
In the final section, current issues in the applied field of health behavior/health promotionwill be reviewed.
COURSE ASSIGNMENTS AND GRADING:
The course will be taught online and utilizeonline discussions guided by questions specific to the issues and learning objectives covered.Some of those questions appear below. Course grading will be based on the following:50%
Discussion
. See below for details about Discussion Board postings.50%
Short Written Assignments
. There will be four short written papers assigned in thecourse. Each will require you to write 3-4 pages about a specific topic.
These assignments arebest submitted to me as e-mail attachments
. If some problem develops regarding transmission,please let me know right away. You can contact me at wwargo@uvm.edu or through the Emailsection of the upper left hand menu of the course website. Again, do not hesitate to contact meregarding any difficulty.
Discussion Board Postings
Questions will be posted on the Discussion Board. Try to incorporate relevant backgroundmaterial from the chapters into your responses.You are required to participate in the online discussion by answering questions posed in theassignments and responding to at least one other student's post for each module (there is no"back of the classroom" in online discussion).Here are the ground rules for discussion postings:
 
Answers to assignment questions should be 200-250 words long
 
 
Responses to others can be shorter, 1-2 paragraphs
 
 
All posts must be written in complete, grammatically correct sentences
 
 
A civil, respectful tone must be maintained in all posts,
especially
when you disagree
 

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