Course Overview - Health and Society

The academic year consists of 6 periods. Period 1, 2, 5 and 6 comprise six weeks of classes, one week of self-study and the exam week. In these periods students often follow two courses worth 6 credits each. Period 3 and 4 entail of four weeks in which both the lectures and the exams take place. In these periods students follow one course worth 6 credits. The expected workload is 40 hours per week. Your individual study programme depends on your educational background and research interests.

Visit the Study Handbook website for more detailed information on the courses offered by the Health and Society Group.

Academic Year Wageningen University 2018-2019

Course Overview

Period 1: August-October

HSO-10806 Introduction to Health and Society

Dr. ir. Sabina Super (HSO), Annemarie Wagemakers (HSO) & Franshelis Garcia (HSO)

In this introductory course relevant principles of health and society will be addressed. The course starts with historical developments in thinking about disease, health and health promotion. Next, we elaborate on causes and consequences of demographic, social, and economic health differences, using an interdisciplinary perspective (psychology, sociology, epidemiology). Specific attention is paid to the interaction between societal developments and health and ethical considerations. We also discuss global health, infectious diseases and environmental health. Furthermore we address health systems in the Netherlands, including health policies regarding care, cure and prevention, and the organisation of formal and informal health care.

CPT-31006 Integral Approaches in Communication, Health and Life Sciences

Annemarie van Paassen, Maria Koelen, Cees Leeuwis, Julissa Galarza Villamar, Lenneke Vaandrager, Roald Pijpker, Marleen Bekker & Tim Stevens

The general introduction course addresses the central issues in the Master programme Communication, Health and Life Sciences Sciences and it's two specializations Communication and Innovation and Health & Society.

Current societal challenges include  environmental degradation, climate change, antimicrobial resistance, health inequalities and ageing societies. These challenges are inherently complex and many different scientific and professional disciplines are trying to understand and solve them from their own perspective. These different perspectives can lead to heated debates about “the right way” to solve things. How can we move forward with research and action on these issues, while taking into account different disciplines and stakeholder perspectives?​

Working on transdisciplinary societal issues is core to the MSc program Communication, Health and Life Sciences. Students learn in this course about existing paradigms and strategies for change that have significance for these type of issues. By using Integral Theory to analyse complex societal issues, they learn about different starting points and how to take into account the perspectives of different disciplines and stakeholders. Students will apply Integral Theory to analyse and assess existing interventions. In order to navigate within this inter- and transdisciplinary landscape, students need to become aware of their own knowledge and attitudes by means of an Integral research design and reflection papers.

HSO-31806 Advances in Health and Society

Dr. Kirsten Verkooijen (HSO), Dr. Sabina Super (HSO), Franshelis Garcia (HSO), Prof. dr. Emely de Vet (COM), Jorinde Spook (COM), Dr. Hester Moerbeek (SCH) & Prof. dr. Bettina Bock (RSO)

Contents: The field of health promotion has facilitated the development of new approaches towards improving the health of individuals and communities that go beyond approaches such as disease prevention and public health. Some of the distinguishing features include: a holistic view on health and the determinants of health, the use of interdisciplinary and participatory research approaches, and a focus on unjustifiable disparities in health. As central theme, this course focuses on the aetiological pathways that may explain how inequalities in health arise and sustain. Understanding these pathways is essential for developing (communication) strategies to reduce inequalities. Each week of the course introduces a new aetiological approach to health inequality, which will be discussed during the lectures. Besides the lectures, students work in small groups on case studies in which they are challenged to apply the different approaches to address various health inequality issues and to come up with solutions.

Period 2: October-November

HSO-20306 Environmental Assets for Health

Dr. Marleen Bekker (HSO) & Lenneke Vaandrager (HSO) & guest lectures

This course starts from the basic principles of Health Promotion and elaborates on different perspectives that underlie research in health and society. The perspectives addressed include Health Promotion Principles, Salutogenesis, Ecological Health approach and Life Course perspective. The perspective that you take as a starting point affects the issues you identify, the way you set up research and the solutions that you find. In this course we will look at environmental determinants of health in different levels of the built environment. We will discuss home-, neighbourhood-, city- and regional environments and the role they play regarding people' s health. Students will conduct their own local-level research to assess how social and physical determinants affect health in a neighbourhood environment. The central questions in this course are: what environmental determinants for health are present at different environmental levels, how do these determinants influence health, and what are possibilities from the perspective of a health promotor to take health into account when designing an environment.

LUP-36306 Foodscapes, Urban Lifestyles and Transition

Arnold van der Valk, Esther Veen, Laura Bouwman (HSO), Gerrit-Jan Carsjens & guest speakers

Today, landscape architects and planners are confronted with new challenges. One of these challenges is the shaping of foodscapes. Foodscapes are places and spaces where food is produced, processed, acquired, distributed, consumed and the waste processed. The notion of foodscape is increasingly being used within landscape design, spatial planning, health promotion and food studies as a tool to describe our food environments and to assess the potential impact on food choice and food behaviour. Foodscape is a concept of growing importance on the path towards more sustainable and healthy lifestyles.

This course focuses on advanced theories and concepts in the domain of sustainable food planning, planning for healthier lifestyles and management of healthier and more sustainable social practices. Theories and concepts are presented through a reading list and in lectures and elaborated upon and applied in a practical assignment.

Period 3: January

HSO-20806 Health Psychology

Dr. Kirsten Verkooijen (HSO) & Franshelis Garcia (HSO)

Students will get acquainted with theories and research methods common in the field of health psychology. Topics that are addressed centre around three themes:
1) predicting and changing health behaviour;
2) coping with stress and illness.
3) mental health.
During the course, students work in small groups on a research assignment including quantitative data collection, statistical analysis with SPSS, and scientific writing.

Period 4: February-March

HSO-30306 Health Policy and Action Annemarie Wagemakers (HSO), Katrien Termeer (PAP)

Two themes are central during this course. Firstly, the interaction between health policies and the organization of health systems and secondly, the process of coordinated action through which health policies are implemented.  
- Ad.1. We view upon the influence of global, national and local health policies on the organisation of public health systems. For instance, policies of the World Health Organization (WHO) and European Union (EU) influence the organization of health systems on the national level. Likewise, national health policies determine local health policy and thereby local health systems. Decision making during the development of health policies, depends on the involved actors who set priorities and on the context in which the policy-making takes place.  
- Ad 2. The functioning of organisations and actors within the health field is strongly related to health policies. Public health and society professionals have an important role in order to promote and protect health. They collaborate with policy-makers and with professionals within the health care sector, professionals of other sectors and communities.

Period 5: March-April

HSO-10306 Global Health

Caro-Lynn Verbaan (HSO) & Dr. Meghann Ormond (GEO)

This introductory course uses a health promotion perspective to critically examine global health concerns, underlying causes and potential actions to address these concerns. The scientific domain of health promotion values health as a human right and a major source for social, economic and personal development and focuses on achieving equity in health. Global health concerns those problems and challenges that cross national borders and require national and international interdisciplinary action for priority setting and intervention. Emerging concerns range from infectious disease e.g. malaria, to women- and child health, 'second epidemic' problems such as smoking and food-related issues. The course provides a critical view upon health measurement and health priority setting, the determinants underlying global health concerns and the ways these issues are addressed by the health system and through interdisciplinary, international collaborations.

HSO-30806 Settings for Health Promotion Lenneke Vaandrager (HSO) & Dr. Laurens Klerkx (KTI)

Much of what makes people healthy or sick - income, social position, where people live, level of literacy, culture, political system - lies outside the health sector. Health promotion practices require a shift in emphasis from disease focused messages about risk, to a more ecological approach taking into account social, environmental, and cultural contexts in which people live, work, recreate and play (families, schools, workplaces, recreation and communities). A setting is defined as a place or social context in which people engage in daily activities, in which environmental, organisational and personal factors interact with health and well-being. Settings offer an opportunity to effectively and cost-effectively promote health and well-being, but may also constrain it. In this course we focus settings such as: family/household, educational settings, workplaces, recreation, prisons, hospitals and communities. By means of an in-depth case study, students will explore a certain health promotion issue from a settings perspective, to get concrete experience with the settings approach.

HSO-31306 Systematic Reviews in Health and Society

Prof. dr Maria Koelen (HSO), Franshelis Garcia (HSO), & Dr. Sabina Super (HSO)

Questions related to issues in health and society are often complex questions. Studying the available literature can help to answer these complex questions. A literature review is a critical and in depth evaluation of previous research, and is part of almost any scientific process. This course will teach students knowledge and skills necessary to conduct a systematic literature review, and will prepare students for writing a thesis in the bachelor program health and society. Among other things, students will learn how to select a topic and theoretical perspective, to formulate relevant research questions, and to conduct a systematic literature search. Students are further taught how to critique the literature and how to develop their argument. Finally student will learn to critically appraise each-others work and formulate constructive feedback.