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Why Aren't We Dead Yet? The Role of Public Health in Society


Fall Semester Seminar with Spring Research Project and Symposium, GenEd area 5 lab requirement

Infectious and chronic diseases kill millions of people around the world every year. In this class we will discuss how microbes and lifestyle choices can make you sick, and how the field of public health helps keep communities healthy. We will discuss global and reproductive health issues, as well as the influence of environmental and public policy on health, by examining specific diseases including cholera, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and cancer. 

In this class we will:
• learn how cholera makes people sick and how it is spread through contaminated water, then visit a local water purification plant
• learn how smallpox killed millions of people (and likely Egyptian pharaohs) discuss how the disease was eradicated by the 1970’s, and then survey people in the DC area about vaccination issues
• discuss why it is so difficult to design a vaccine for HIV/AIDS and demonstrate how quickly organisms can mutate by creating an antibiotic resistant strain of bacteria in the lab
• examine why clean water is a gendered health issue
• discuss how public health programs can influence lifestyle choices and impact health
• and many more

Come explore Washington, DC and its populations through a public health lens, and have fun and meet new friends while you’re doing it!


From the Professor- Lynne Arneson

How does your University College section of this course differ from a non-University College section?

This class is a unique course only offered to UC students.

How do your Wednesday labs tie into the academic content of your course?

The Wednesday labs are intimately linked to the material covered in class. We discuss epidemiology in class on Tuesday then have someone from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention come chat about the role of the CDC in pandemics on Wednesday. A class discussion of global health is followed by a visit to the Pan American Health Organization. We visit the National Institutes of Health to examine the role of medicine in public health, and the Red Cross to learn about disaster relief.


Meet the Professor!

Get to know Professor Arneson's teaching style and learn more about her goals for this course!

Learn more