The Health and Society minor explores the social, political, and economic processes that shape individual and population health. Disability, experiences of illness, categories of disorder, ideals of well-being, and models of medical intervention can all vary between cultural settings and across history. Rapid changes in medicine and biotechnology create new understandings and expectations about illness, health, and well-being. At the same time, inequalities in access to care and in health outcomes across populations, in the United States and globally, have become important to conversations in policy and practice alike. At the individual level, how and where one lives may influence a range of conditions and outcomes including mental health, the onset of diabetes, and the length of life. Health is also influenced—in both positive and negative ways—by our relationships and social networks. Finally, people's life chances and health trajectories form within frameworks of health care policy and systems of provision and exposure to environments that reflect historical legacies, economic activity, and political choices. To understand health in its broader contexts, this minor encompasses a range of disciplines and methods in the social sciences, and differential emphases on theory, practice, and policy implications.
A minor in Health and Society will provide a background for medical school, the allied health professions, public health, health policy, health advocacy, the study of law with an emphasis on health, and doctoral work in a range of social science disciplines.