Fall 2019 - HSCI 481 D200

Senior Seminar in Social Health Science (3)

Class Number: 2640

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    90 units, including at least 15 upper division HSCI units. Other prerequisites may vary according to topic.



An in-depth overview of the sociocultural, epidemiological, and policy aspects of population and public health. May be repeated for credit.


We often hear stories of people in terrible and seemingly intractable situations that are preyed upon by individuals offering empty promises of help. Frequently these cases are condemned in terms of ‘exploiting the hope’ of another. These accusations are made in a range of contexts, including where unproven medical treatments such as stem cell therapies are sold to desperate and ill customers. This concept is meant to do heavy lifting in public discourse, identifying a specific form of unethical conduct. However, it is poorly understood what is intended to be wrong by exploiting hope, the range of activities that can accurately be captured under this concept, and what should be done to protect against this form of wrongdoing. Thus, it is an ethical concept that is ripe for extended analysis and discussion. In this seminar, we will pursue a close study of the concept of exploiting hope. First, we will examine the concepts of exploitation and hope in the abstract. We will then apply these concepts to a range of activities in the context of unproven medical treatments. This includes exploitation by companies selling these treatments, exploitation through promoting access to clinical trials through ‘right to try’ legislation, exploitation from using sick minors and cognitively impaired adults to generate hope, and exploitation resulting from seeking financial aid for unproven treatments through crowdfunding.


  • Editorial 15%
  • First Paper 30%
  • Second Paper, first draft 5%
  • Second Paper, final draft 40%
  • Participation 10%

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