Fall 2020 - HSCI 130 D100

Foundations of Health Science (4)

Class Number: 5836

Delivery Method: Distance Education


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

    Fr 2:30 PM – 3:20 PM



How health, illness and disease are defined and measured for individuals and populations. Research strategies used to identify how health, illness and disease are distributed across human populations and how environmental, socio-economic, demographic, biological, behavioural and political factors influence individual and population health. Breadth-Social Sci/Science.


This course is divided into 4 modules:

In the first unit we will be exploring the concepts of health, illness and disease, examining how constructions of health and disease have varied across cultures and historical periods. We will consider how science and technology shapes these concepts and creates disciplines of health science.

In the second unit, you will learn the terminology used in health science to describe and measure patterns of health illness and disease in public health and put your new skills in epidemiology to work trying to determine factors causing disease in a "mock" outbreak that will occur among members of your class.

In the third unit, we will focus our attention on the social determinants of health and imagine how we might build health public policy and promote the health of the population. We will examine specific health issues (e.g. tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, stress, air pollution, obesity & eating disorders) and hear from guest researchers from some of these areas.

In the last unit of the course you will receive an overview of the Canadian health care system and consider its role in addressing health, illness and disease today.


Upon completion of the course, students will be able to:

  • describe the concepts of health, illness and disease from a range of perspectives;
  • understand the core terminology and strategies used to measure health, illness and disease in public and population health;
  • explain how a range of factors may act as potential health determinants (e.g. environmental, socio-economic, demographic, biological, behavioural and political factors) for individual and population health; and
  • critically reflect on the way in which socio-cultural contexts influence the definition, theoretical understanding and solutions to problems involving health, illness and disease.
  • engage in teams to improve their individual health and wellbeing through social support and networking with their teammates.


  • 2 individual assignments (5% + 15%) 20%
  • 4 homework assignments (4 X 10% group) 40%
  • 1 midterm quiz 10%
  • 4 short individual exercises (4 X 1.25%) 5%
  • final examination 25%


Students that miss the mid-term examination will have their final weighted by an additional 10% for the missed midterm. There are no make-up midterms for absences.

Tutorials will be held synchrously and will not be recorded. A proportion of the group work for your homework assignment will take place during tutorial. Groups will also be expected to use technology to work collaboratively outside of tutorial time.

Lectures will be pre-recorded and all additional live sessions with the instructor will be recorded.



Segall, A. and C. Fries. (2017). Pursuing Health and Wellness: Healthy Societies, Healthy People 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.

Additional readings will be assigned.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2020 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).