University Bulletin 2002-03
An interdepartmental program
Health and Society

Courses of Study:

Program website:


The Health and Society Program has two broad objectives: to expand students' understanding of the personal, environmental, and social factors that cause illness or promote health; and to introduce students to the professional, political, legal, and institutional arrangements that comprise our healthcare system. The program offers students an opportunity to consider topics such as the impact of inadequate housing, inequitable educational opportunity, workplace discrimination, and environmental degradation on health and healthcare institutions. Health and society courses also present ways to analyze some of the most challenging personal, ethical, and professional problems that patients and their doctors confront, e.g., whether to proceed with a pregnancy following amniocentesis, how to assure appropriate use of diagnostic tests in a managed care environment, and how to limit conflict of interest by physicians engaged in pharmaceutical research.

The two required core courses provide students with an introduction to the social and legal aspects of health and health care. After completing electives, health and society students serve an internship in a not-for-profit healthcare advocacy, delivery, or public policy organization. Through meaningful work assignments and a related health policy research project and report, these internships enable students to explore more deeply some of the issues they have studied in their academic courses.

How to Become a Program Member (Minor)

Students are encouraged to take the core courses early in their program and to consult with the chair for guidance. Students may enter the program as late as their junior year, but an early start maximizes options available in the program. Students should consult with the chair of the Health and Society Program about fulfilling requirements before the beginning of the senior year.


Lyman Stookey, Chair
(Legal Studies)

Peter Conrad

Margie Lachman

Sarah Lamb

Stefan Timmermans

Requirements for the Program

A. Core courses: LGLS 114a (American Health Care: Law and Policy), and SOC 191A (Health, Community, and Society).

B. Departmental electives: Three electives--no more than two from a single department.

C. Completion of one of the following (approved by the chair of the program): LGLS 92b (Law, Medicine, and Health Policy Internship and Seminar); an honor thesis, in the student's department of concentration, on a topic approved by the chair of the Health and Society Program; or a senior essay supervised by a faculty member of the Health and Society Program, designed HLS 98a or b.

D. A passing letter grade must be obtained in each course taken for program credit. (Pass/Fail courses are not allowed.) Students must achieve a grade point average of at least 2.00 in program courses.

Courses of Instruction

HLS 98a Independent Study
Signature of the instructor required.
Usually offered every year.

HLS 98b Independent Study
Signature of the instructor required.
Usually offered every year.

Cross-Listed Courses

LGLS 92b
Law, Medicine, and Health Policy Internship and Seminar

Core Courses

LGLS 114a American Health Care: Law and Policy
[ ss ]
Not recommended for freshmen.
Highlights issues of access, quality, and cost. Introduces laws and regulations that affect every aspect of American health care from planning and finance to patient treatment. Traces development of Medicare and Medicaid. Discusses malpractice, "birth of the Blues," expansion of HMOs, and influence of employer-purchased insurance on cost and delivery of health care. Portrays the important role courts, Congress, and administrative agencies play in organization and delivery of health services. Usually offered every year. Will be offered in the fall of 2002.
Mr. Stookey

SOC 191a Health, Community, and Society
[ ss ]
An exploration into interrelationships among society, health, and disease, emphasizing the social causes and experience of illness. Usually offered every second year. Last offered in the fall of 2001.
Mr. Conrad


The following courses are approved for the program. Not all are given in any one year. Please consult the Course Schedule each semester.

ANTH 127a
Medicine, Body, and Culture

Biology of Neurological and Mental Illness


Viruses and Human Disease

Immunity and Disease

BIOL 22a (formerly BIBC 22a)
Genetics and Molecular Biology

BIOL 42a
Human Physiology

BIOL 55b
Diet and Health

BIOL 125a

BIOL 128a
Human Genetics

BIOL 172b
Growth Control and Cancer

Chemicals and Toxicity

HS 104b
American Health Care

HS 124a
Dilemmas of Long-Term Care

LGLS 121b
Law and Social Welfare: Citizen Rights and Government Responsibilities

LGLS 129b
Law, Technology, and Innovation

LGLS 131b
Autonomy and Self-Determination in Critical Healthcare Decisions

LGLS 132b
Environmental Law and Policy

LGLS 138b
Science on Trial

LGLS 139b
Medical Error and Quality of Care

LING 130a
Semantics: The Structure of Concepts

NEJS 193b
Judaism and Healing

PHIL 23b
Biomedical Ethics

Technology and the Management of Public Risk

POL 117a
Administrative Law

PSYC 130b
Life Span Development: Adulthood and Old Age

PSYC 131b
Seminar in Health Psychology

PSYC 145b
Aging in a Changing World

PSYC 164b
Social Relations and Health Across the Lifespan

SOC 165a
Sociology of Birth and Death

SOC 176a
Nature, Nurture, and Public Policy

SOC 177b
Aging in Society

SOC 189a
Sociology of Body and Health

SOC 190b
Caring in the Health Care System

SOC 192b
Sociology of Disability

WMNS 106b
Women in the Health Care System