Social Determinants of Health
Increasingly, there is evidence that societal factors may be the primary determinants of why people stay healthy or become ill. Much of the medical and epidemiological literatures on health ‘disparities’ have been descriptive in nature and fail to analytically account for increasing inequities in population health outcomes. This course moves beyond traditional ‘lifestyle’ explanations of health and wellness and provides students with a solid understanding of how social factors contribute to inequities in health care access and population health outcomes. We will examine how social exclusion, income, early life experiences, employment and working conditions, unemployment and employment insecurity, housing, food security, Aboriginal status, and social policy determine health. We also explore why the biomedical and lifestyle models of health are the primary ways that Canadians think about health, the policy implications of the current state of knowledge, and what can be done to inform change.