Spring 2021 - HSCI 340 D100

Social Determinants of Health (3)

Class Number: 2836

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM

  • 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.


COURSE DESCRIPTION: In this class, we will explore social determinants of health and health inequities. Utilizing a social model of health, we will examine 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. Key social determinants of health to be covered include: social class and income inequality, early childhood development & education, ethnicity, culture, and racialization, Canada’s Aboriginal peoples and health, disabilities, gender and sexuality. Students will be challenged to critically evaluate evidence and develop better understandings regarding social determinants of health, health inequities, and policy solutions.

TEACHING FORMAT: One weekly three-hour online class that will include lecture, discussion, remote breakout room group work, exercises, and electronic media presentations. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: The instructor may change the syllabus if necessary, within Faculty/University regulations.


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

  1. Evaluate several major social determinants of health in human populations;
  2. Evaluate theoretical frameworks that explain how social advantages and disadvantages influence health and illness;
  3. Describe and interpret different types of evidence on social determinants of health and health inequities;
  4. Define and explain key theoretical concepts for understanding social determinants of health;
  5. Explain salient mechanisms and pathways through which social determinants influence the health of populations and result in health inequities;
  6. Describe local, provincial, and national policy solutions aimed at improving the social determinants of health and reducing health inequities.


  • Pecha Kucha Assignment 20%
  • Building and Sharing Knowledge Assignment 30%
  • COVID Myth-Busting Infographic 25%
  • Discussion Evaluations (x3) 25%



Reliable access to the internet, including if possible a camera and microphone will be needed. There will also be some free softeware requirments that will be shared with students via online links. All learning teaching materials will be made available online via Canvas.


All required readings will be provided on Canvas. There are no textbooks for this course.

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 spring 2021 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).