Medical Care and Health: Comparative Perspectives
This course introduces undergraduates to the complex interplay of social factors that affect population health in any society. It focuses on the social determinants and distribution of health and disease, the organization and financing of the health care system, and the relationship of one to the other. The first part of the class presents an international perspective on the U.S. health care system and examines divergent perspectives for thinking about medical care and health systems. We begin by comparing clinical and epidemiological perspectives, sociological and cultural perspectives, and introduce students to health services research and health economics. The second part of the class focuses on big issues in American health care: the role of government, cost containment strategies and managed care, the Affordable Care Act, health care disparities and public health. Finally, we consider the future of health systems in the U.S., Europe, Brazil, China and India and students will have an opportunity to conduct their own research on past and future trends likely to shape medical care and health systems over the next few decades.