CSPH 5111 - Ways of Thinking about Health


Course Description:

"Ways of Thinking About Health" offers you an opportunity to explore different understandings of health through visits to cultural communities. Field-trip "micro-immersion experience" will allow you an opportunity to learn how cultural communities define, understand, experience and strive to achieve health and well-being. The field-trip learning serves as a micro-cultural immersion experience for the purpose of facilitating a glimpse into fundamentally different worldviews and systems of knowledge not commensurate with scientific/professional models. The course is designed to move to the background a common academic approach of thinking about different worldviews and healing systems from a detached observer perspective; in this course we move into the foreground your direct experience and interaction with knowledge holders in a community context. Confronting cultural difference directly offers you a peek into culturally different ways of seeing and constructing knowledge of health. These brief glimpses offer a powerful mirror through which your own perspective and implicit assumptions of health becomes more visible and explicit. You are encouraged to examine and critically reflect upon your suppositions regarding health. Through the semester, you will reflect upon your evolving understandings of health as they become apparent and are considered. This approach is designed to allow you significant opportunity to develop your own personal story, philosophy and understanding as you experience and gain greater appreciation for the diversity in ways of thinking about health.

Course Objectives:

At the completion of this course , students will be able to:

  • Learn to experience the field trip experience. Come to the experience with open awareness in the present moment.
  • Look for and learn from any dissonance, discomfort or reasonance between your own ideas and those encountered in the experiential learning. Allow questions and reflection opportunities to emerge.
  • Surface and examine your own ideas about health. What are your deeply held and preconceived ideas? Where do they come from? How are these ideas influenced by the field trip learning?
  • Develop your capacity to move across divergent worldviews without attaching to judgments or imposing basic ideas of one perspective upon another. Begin to navigate your own ideas and different perspectives of health or different ways of thinking about health while suspending a rush to judgment.

Course Details

Course Format: 
In person
Course ID: 
CSPH 5111
[Jr, Sr, or grad student standing], instr consent
Semesters Course Offered: 
Course Flyer: 
PDF icon Course Flyer (784.1 KB)