Summer 2024 - HSCI 130 D100

Foundations of Health Science (4)

Class Number: 2844

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Tue, 8:30–10:20 a.m.

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Thu, 8:30–9:20 a.m.



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 5 units.
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.
In the fourth unit, 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, research strategies and solutions to problems involving health, illness and disease.


  • tutorial preparation and participation 10%
  • 3 homework assignments 30%
  • 2 mid-term examinations 25%
  • engagement project 10%
  • final examination 25%
  • in class participation / Top Hat 0%


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

Students that are unable to complete an engagement project will have their final weighted by an additional 10%.

Varsity athletes should send me your detailed travel schedule at the start of the semester and I will attempt to provide resources in advance of missed absences due to participation in Varsity sports.





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 website 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.