Description: Public health has a public relations problem: it is under appreciated, underfunded, and - when working well - its contributions to population health are often invisible. Yet, public health issues engage political, economic, philosophical, moral, and religious questions that are universally - and sometimes personally -- relevant. Using the lens of popular culture, we will critically examine public health history, concepts, and contemporary challenges. In doing so, we will explore diverse perspectives and experiences, make connections between the past and present, and develop greater empathy for the factors shaping people's lives and influencing their health.
Learning Objectives: By the end of this course students should be able to:
1. Identify public health concepts, themes, and challenges in popular culture texts.
2. Analyze the roles of setting (time and place), characters, narrative structure, and medium in portraying public health issues.
3. 3. Critique the ways assigned texts represent race, ethnicity, class, gender, sexual orientation, nativity status, and other social identities, and, when relevant the intersections between these representations and key public health issues.
4. Differentiate the contributions of academic versus popular culture texts in understanding public health issues.
5. Facilitate an effective, inclusive group discussion.
6. Reflect on how your own understanding of a public health issue (or those affected by it) changes based on viewing it through a popular culture text.