PSY 382 - The Psychology of Health Disparities

Despite the general improvement in national health, racial/ethnic health disparities remain a growing challenge in the United States. The Center for Disease Control reports that racial/ethnic minorities generally suffer higher incidence of most health challenges including infectious diseases, infant mortality, asthma, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, stroke, and earlier mortality compared to non-minorities. These disparities are caused by a combination of individual, genetic, and social/environmental risk factors (Olden & White, 2005). Advances in psychological science are helping to understand how these factors influence risk and contributing to interventions to improve health for all. The aim of this course is to move beyond a discussion of who is affected to a more focused look at the causes of health disparities. This course represents an integration of Psychology, Medicine, Epidemiology, Social Work, and Public Health with the clear emphasis on the contributions of psychological science. Throughout, the biopsychosocial model (BPS: Engel, 1977) will serve as the core model for organizing and guiding the discussion. The course is organized into 4 principle domains: 1) Orientation and the epidemiology of health disparities, 2) the biopsychosocial approach to understanding the determinants of health disparities 3) examination of disparities and processes within specific groups, and 4) psychosocial interventions and future directions. Class Notes: **Course Requisites: PSY 101 or PSY 150A1.
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