Fall 2019 - HSCI 340 D100

Social Determinants of Health (3)

Class Number: 2623

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    BLU 9660, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units and two HSCI 200-level courses, one of which may be taken concurrently.



Social determinants of health and health inequities. Explores how and why the social advantages and disadvantages that people experience - based on their social position(s) and social circumstances - determine their health status and overall well-being.


Over the last decades the international community, including Canada, has recognized the primary role social determinants play in fuelling our inequitable population health outcomes. In this course, we will examine how some of the major determinants of health help illustrate and explain the complex linkages between the structural organization of society and population health outcomes. Key social determinants of health to be covered include class & social/health inequality, early childhood development & education, sex/gender, ethnicity, racialization & social exclusion, and colonization & indigeneity.  

This class will challenge students to interrogate traditional viewpoints on health, healing and disease and question the interplay between values, power and politics embedded in discussion of healthy individuals, families and communities. Students will be asked to critically assess the context/causes, evidence, intersections and health effects of social inequities and to develop better understandings regarding the social determinants of health, health inequity and policy solutions.


By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Evaluate several major social determinants of health in human populations; 

  • Evaluate frameworks that explain how social determinants influence population patterns of health and 

  • Describe and interpret different types of evidence on social determinants of health and health inequities; 

  • Define and explain key epidemiological concepts, measures, and study designs for understanding 
evidence on social determinants of health;
  • Explain salient mechanisms and pathways through which social determinants influence the health of 
populations and result in health inequities; 

  • Describe local, provincial, national, and global policies and actions that can improve social determinants 
of health and reduce health inequities. 



Grades will be determined from the following activities:

  • Team Based Work 15%
  • Written Assignments 25%
  • Exam 1 20%
  • Exam 2 20%
  • Exam 3 20%



Readings are available through the SFU library website.

PLEASE NOTE: Students will need to have completed readings before the first class. Please check Canvas for more information.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html