Syllabus: Promise of Health
Summer, First Session 2005

Tuesday/Thursdays 6:00–10:00 p.m. TESC
  Seminar 2 Room E1107

Joan Bantz, Office: Lab I, 3011
Office Hours:     T/TH 3:00-5:30 p.m., And By Appointment
Voice mail: 360-867-5095
Home Page:

CRN: 40162 (GR) 40161 (UG)

Course Description:

    This course is designed to enhance understanding of how socio-political frameworks influence health care delivery and public policies. Emphasis will be given to the tension between health and health care.This course is recommended for students who wish to enhance skills and gain practical mechanisms to intervene on behalf of community, programs or institutions.

    Current debates about health care reforms rarely address social, multicultural, and political-economic assumptions that frame what it means to be “healthy.” In order to understand how our collective understanding of health (healing, illness and wellness) shape our mental constructs, our reaction to disease and ultimately our organized forms of health care delivery; this course explores the cultural dimensions of human systems, including worldviews, kinship/social organization, inequities and healthcare beliefs. (Particular attention will focus on how these constructs impact specific communities (of color, ethnicity, women, and gays/lesbians.). We will examine American health care visions and values and how key actors are often at odds with one another.

    People live longer and healthier lives if they eat well, are well housed, are secure from war, crime, and domestic violence, are not deranged by drugs or alcohol, if they have plenty of clean water for drinking and washing, if they breathe clean air, if they have access to basic vaccines and antibiotics, if they can exercise some sense of choice in their lives, and if they have friends and family to give life meaning. The health can depend upon how many children people have, at what age and in what kind of families, what dynamics exist inside their homes, how much money and education they have, with whom they have sex and how, and what they do with their sewage. Medicine and public health are rarely at the top of the list. Skilled medical professionals, the right drugs and the right machines all help, but they are not enough. What builds health, it turns out, also builds community, public safety, wealth, and families. These are systemic tasks that require all the energy and creative thought a community can muster, from everyone who can make a difference, from business, the media and government to the poor and un/underrepresented.

Without a broader discussion and collaboration concerning these underlying determinates, our desire for universal access to a fiscally sustainable, quality focused system of care may never be realized in the United States.

Course Objectives:

Overall, we will seek to integrate theory and practice. Specifically, this course will enhance students' abilities to evaluate the effectiveness, efficiency, and equity of health policies and programs. Upon successful completion of the course the student will have:

Required Text:  (order of reading)

Random House, 2005.
ISBN: 0375708219

Shipler, David K

The Working Poor: Invisible in America

ME Sharpe, 2005.
ISBN 0765611368

Patel, Kant and Mark Rushefsky

The Politics of Public Health in the United States

Oxford University Press, 2005.  ISBN: 0195160398

Quadagno, Jill S

One Nation, Uninsured: Why the U.S. Has No National Health Insurance

APC Books, 2005.
ISBN 0972002847

Church, Dawson and Geralyn Gendreau (Editors).

Healing Our Planet, Healing Our Selves: The Power of Change Within to Change the World

Self-Selected text and several articles


A. Current “Promise of Health” Text Selections                20 percent
B. Journals                                                                      10 percent
C. Policy Briefing, Abstract and Bibliography                   30 percent
D. Class Participation                                                       40 percent

Description of Performance Measures and Expectations:
The course will be conducted as an intensive seminar with workshops and lectures. Guest participants will be invited to provide personal insight into the topic under discussion. Student comprehension of the course material will be demonstrated by class and Seminar participation, written assignments and shared intellectual journals. A final project presentation with detailed abstract and bibliography will be required from selected current health policy areas.

A successful learning community requires that students attend classes regularly, arrive prepared to critically discuss readings and complete timely all assignments. Please contact faculty in advance if you must be absent from class by e-mail or phone. More than one (1) absence may result in loss of credit. Work submitted late will be read only under extraordinary circumstances


A. Reflective Assignments Various dates
The assignments will consist of several different types of writing:

B. Intellectual Journey Reflection Papers     Self or Peer are due: each class
Your reflective journal papers are to be completed by the beginning of class and must be exchanged and discussed in person or by email with a fellow co-learner prior to the next Seminar. These personal intellectual journals/reflections or cognitive maps should summarize the major message and concepts of the readings in a format that is useful to you and fellow co-learners. Journals are not a book report, but rather a representation of what is important in understanding the context of the readings. The intent of the journal/reflection papers is to capture your thoughts about several particular ideas, facts, or issues presented that warrant seminar discussion, and summarize these concepts and theories in a format that will be useful in your intellectual journey. The papers should demonstrate your mastery of the course material and its application in your work life in a thoughtful, clear and well-written narrative. Proper citations must be used. One Page written peer reviews will be incorporated into your journal before the following class. Submissions of journals, with peer reviews to faculty are required twice during the session.

Learning Objective: Critical thinking and expression, reflective thinking and shared responsibility for co-learning community opportunity.


C.  Your Text Selection: The Promise of Health     Due: July 21   
To better address the myriad of information that exists on the subject of health care “frames” you will self select a current academic text.  You will as well determine the relevance of text material through use of the internet, interviews of key informants on the subject area or by observing an area where similar practices are taking place.  If the area you have selected does not appear to have moved into practice in your region, you will determine why this is so. You will be presenting your findings in 5 minutes segments in seminar.

D. Briefing Paper and Presentation            Due: July 19 and July 21
Most public agency deliberation is done within groups, and this course will mirror that reality. You will self-select groups of 2-3 members from interests discovered during discussions the first week.  Students will research, critically examine and draft a joint briefing paper and "brief" the class.   The briefings on current health care challenges will grapple with key political, cultural, political, funding and trade-off issues, while exploring creative solutions.  Good source for policy area ideas:    or the index, for those of you without much background in health policy this is a great  source:
and for those of you without an introduction to the movement of mind/body/spirit this is but one introduction of currents authors:

Due at the time of the presentation:

1) Briefing handouts will have points/bullets formatted in a strong visual manner, easily reviewed by busy individuals as per in class workshop (should be no longer than two pages.) 
2) A 3-page executive summary, and detailed bibliography signed by all
members of the team and;
3) A half page assessment of each individual team member and self.

Learning Objective: General knowledge, critical analysis, writing skills, analysis and synthesis, practice brevity with persuasion, constructive feedback,
 oral presentation skills, assessment and collaboration

Course Calendar with speakers

E.  Portfolio    Due: July 21st
Last Self-Assessment, Journals, Self and Faculty Evaluation

Templates for evaluations are available ON-LINE at


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Last modified: 5/5/2005