Fall 2020 - HSCI 835 G100

Social Determinants of Health (3)

Class Number: 6344

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 12:30 PM – 3:20 PM



Examination of the major social determinants of health: income and social status, social support networks, education, employment/working conditions, social environments, physical environments, healthy child development, disabilities, gender, racialization, colonization, and culture. Evaluation of empirical research linking social determinants of health to health outcomes. Theoretical frameworks are introduced to operationalize social factors and their intersections for the purposes of application in public health research.


Upon completion of this course, students will be able to: 1. Describe the importance of taking a critical theoretical perspective on social determinants of health and health inequities; 2. Describe and interpret different types of evidence as they apply to social determinants of health and health inequities; 3. Discuss and compare theoretical frameworks used to describe the impact of social and behavioural factors on population patterns of health and disease; 4. Demonstrate how theoretical frameworks can be applied to address public health problems – identifying (i) practical issues associated with the application; (ii) outstanding issues related to construct measurement, (iii) ideas for future research, and (iv) critical strategies for action/change in particular social contexts/populations.

Modifications may be made to the course given the COVID-19 pandemic. Students will be advised of any changes at the beginning of the course.


  • Scholar Practitioner Journals (3 throughout the term) 10%
  • Assignment 1: Building and Sharing Knowledge: Equity, COVID-19, and Public Health* 40%
  • Assignment 2: Briefing Note 30%
  • Assignment 3: Knowledge Translation Assignment 20%


*Assignment 1 will be comprised of: 

Part A: Sharing Knowledge (using a class Wiki) - 15%
Part B: Reflection - 15%
Part C: Peer Editing - 10%



All readings will be available via CANVAS or SFU Library.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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).