The Public Health Pathway
Public Health is the practice of preventing disease and promoting good health within and between communities, countries, and the world at large. The Public Health Pathway at Soka is a multidisciplinary set of courses across the academic concentrations. It includes foundational courses in public and global health that provide direct knowledge of the skills and knowledge of the field as well as other courses that inform the practice of public health. The pathway allows students to gain skills in the five major domains of discipline: epidemiology, environmental health, health policy and administration, biostatistics, and health promotion and education and helps students engage in research opportunities that connect laboratory and clinical science, social sciences, and the humanities. It prepares our students for careers in public health and clinical medicine and serves to inform our future citizen-scientists and students interested in caregiving and wellness.
Public Health Pathway courses are offered at the 200, 300 and 400 level. They occur within the concentrations and may be applied to both concentration and graduation requirements. Some Pathway courses are also W-coded and fulfill the upper level writing requirement.
Public Health Pathway Courses
The Public Health Pathway incorporates courses from all five concentrations, which are offered at the 200, 300 and 400 level.
INTS 290 Introduction to Global Health
This course provides a robust introduction to the history, ethics, and practice of global health. Using a multidisciplinary framework, drawing on clinical, ethical, socioeconomic, political, and geographical knowledge, the course identifies how key stakeholders, including Intergovernmental organizations, governments, non-governmental organizations, other humanitarian organizations, academic institutions, donor agencies, clinical groups, and consulting firms, shape global health agendas, policies, programs, and outcomes. We discuss global burden of disease, the sustainable development goals related to health, social determinants of health, global research prioritization and clinical trials, disease surveillance networks, and the adoption and spread of global health technologies. The course also covers a basic introduction to epidemiology.
EMP 325W Public and Environmental Health Policy
This interdisciplinary policy course examines the prevention and management of threats to human health caused by interacting environmental conditions and social forces. Major topics covered include air and water pollution control, toxic substances control, climate change and environmental health, disease control, pandemics, public health emergency management, and public health leadership. This course covers public and environmental health policies at the community, national, and international levels.
BIO 312W / PYSCH 312W Behavioral Neuroscience
The objectives of this course are to introduce students to the theories and empirical research currently addressing the neuronal basis of human behavior. This combination lecture/ seminar-based course, including bioinformatics research projects, will provide introductions to the basic concepts of brain neuroanatomy and biochemistry, molecular neurogenetics, evolutionary psychology, and human genomics, with readings and discussions from selected books, reviews and research articles. Emphasis will be placed on how disruptions of typical brain function, resulting in disorders such as autism, Alzheimer’s, schizophrenia, and depression, can reveal how the brain mediates our most fundamental experiences.
INTS 410 Plagues and Peoples
Through lectures, discussion, student presentations, and other pedagogies, this class aims to achieve four primary objectives: 1) To explore the role that disease and medicine played in important historical events; 2) to study the social, institutional, and cultural dimensions of disease, ailments, and medicine in today’s global societies; 3) to become familiar with some of the basic mechanics of epidemic diseases, such as smallpox, influenza, yellow fever, cholera, bubonic plague, syphilis, and AIDS; 4) and to understand how some of the most important policy debates in international studies take (or should take) infectious diseases into consideration. Western medicine is emphasized, but Eastern traditions and alternative medicine are not excluded. Students interested in careers in medicine, public health, and global health policy may consider this class.
SOC 410 Health Disparities
This course introduces students to the interdisciplinary field of social disparities in health, with a particular focus on sociological contributions to the area. Students will examine the social determinants of health and health inequities in various country contexts. Links between health outcomes and social factors, such as the social institutions and cultural systems we participate in, the social statuses we occupy (social class, gender, race, and more), the relationships we have, and the social contexts where we live, work, and play, will be identified and examined. Theoretical explanations for the relationships between social factors and health disparities will be critically explored, along with possible policy solutions. This course emphasizes the importance of examining multiple levels of social life, from individual behaviors to social interactions to public policy, for understanding the causes and consequences of health disparities.
Life Science Courses
Many life sciences courses, especially those related to human health (e.g., BIO 303 Human Physiology, BIO 308 Clinical Human Anatomy) and biostatistics help to provide a strong foundation for future careers in public health.