Food, Lifestyle and Health

June 1-July 24, 2015

Professors Elaine Lai and Lindsay Rosenfeld | 8 Weeks, 12 Credits | June 1-July 24, 2015

What’s the link between food and health? Poverty and diabetes? Diabetes and other chronic health conditions? These are some of the issues you’ll explore during an eight-week program that considers America’s complex social, biological, behavioral and environmental challenges through the lens of our national diabetes epidemic. You’ll plan menus and cook in weekly food labs. You’ll decode the physiology of diet and exercise. You’ll learn from top minds driving effective community programs. You’ll gain a deep understanding of diabetes, identify its social determinants and formulate strategies to address it — gaining valuable knowledge and skills for future leadership in health policy and other fields.

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Ideal for

This JBS is for a wide variety of students and majors that want to learn more about a current public health issue that spans biological, social, historical, economic, nutritional, health and policy domains.


BISC 4bj - Food, Nutrition and Health
Description: Nutrition is the science of food and its role in health and disease. This course will introduce the biological background to help students better understand everything from how we choose food to how our diet influences our wellbeing.

BISC 10aj - Diabetes
Description: The rising prevalence of diabetes has taken an alarming human and societal toll. Diabetes is becoming a national and global concern. This course explores the science behind Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T1DM and T2DM) plus gestational diabetes, the contribution of modern western lifestyle to disease development, the increasing rates of obesity and diabetes, current diabetes treatments including insulin and non-insulin drugs, artificial pancreas and bariatric surgery, future treatment such as stem cell therapy, the rising diabetes treatment cost and impact on current healthcare policy. Emphasis will be placed on discussion of molecular genetic research that has illuminated our understanding of the underlying pathophysiological mechanisms. A food lab is included to provide hands-on experience and to further inform about the importance of food and nutrition (together with exercise) in the management and prevention of T2DM.

In the Food, Lifestyle and Health JBS, diabetes is the focal example by which we investigate the biological, behavioral, environmental, social and policy factors that influence our health and health care. This course is integrated with BISC 4bj which explores the link between diet and health, and HSSP 120bj which focuses on the importance of healthcare landscapes.

HSSP 120bj - Health Care Landscapes
Description: Through the lens of diabetes and obesity, students will explore the health landscape and gain insight into current "healthy environments", including how we are - or are not - addressing population health needs. Students will use a social determinants of health lens to critically analyze how our systems and environments (e.g. health care, food, schools, built environment/neighborhoods, community organizations and more) are situated within a context of local, national, and global inequities and struggles for justice. In using this lens, students will learn how to critically explore what impact race, gender, socioeconomic status, neighborhoods, and more have on health. Guest lectures, site visits, participatory discussion, hands-on experiences/assignments.

Course Syllabi

Links to course syllabi appear below:

BISC 4bj - Food, Nutrition and Health

BISC 10aj - Diabetes

HSSP 120bj - Health Care Landscapes

Please note that course syllabi are subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.