Spring 2022 - HSCI 340 D100

Social Determinants of Health (3)

Class Number: 5792

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 8:30 AM – 11:20 AM
    EDB 7618, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    60 units and two HSCI 200-level courses with a minimum grade of C-, 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.


In this class, we will explore the social determinants of health and health inequities. We do so through understanding and defining what a social model of health is and how social analyses can be used in health practice. The class examines how structural inequities and axes of difference determine health and wellbeing.

Examples of key social determinants of health that will be covered include, gender and sexuality, class and income inequity, ablism, racialization and systemic racism, and the health and wellbeing of Indigenous peoples including colonial structural inequities and asset-based frameworks being used in health practice to promote self-determination.

The education goal of HSCI 340 is that students demonstrate critical understanding of how structural inequalities influence health outcomes and develop avenues to disseminate knowledge to promote social justice through public health systems. Students will be challenged to evaluate evidence and develop understandings of the social determinants of health, health inequity, and policy solutions.  

TEACHING FORMAT: One weekly three-hour in class session that will include lecture, discussion, breakout 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 upstream social determinants of health in human populations;
  2. Evaluate theoretical frameworks that explain how social determinants influence health, wellbeing 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, including asset-based approaches;
  5. Explain key mechanisms and pathways through which social determinants influence the health of populations and result in health inequities;
  6. Describe and disseminate solutions designed to reduce health inequities in your areas of public health interest and public health practice;
  7. Reflect on your social location, biases, and responsibility and how these impact your work promoting health equity.


  • Land Acknowledgement Assignment 10%
  • Building and Sharing Knowledge Assignment 30%
  • Infographic 30%
  • Discussion Evaluation 30%



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 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the spring 2022 term.