Harvard School of Public Health

Embodying Gender: Public Health, Biology and the Body Politic

Semester: 

Winter

Offered: 

2020

This course will focus on the social and biological processes and relationships from interpersonal to institutional involved in embodying gender, as part of shaping and changing societal distributions of, including inequities in, health, disease, and well-being. It will consider how different frameworks of conceptualizing and addressing gender, biological sex, and sexuality (that is, the lived experience of being sexual beings, in relation to self, other people, and institutions) shape questions people ask about and explanations and interventions they offer for a variety of health outcomes. Examples span the lifecourse and historical generations and include chronic non-communicable diseases, HIV/AIDS, occupational injuries, reproductive health, mental health, and mortality, each analyzed in relation to societal and ecological context, global health policy and human rights, work, and the behaviors of people and institutions. In all these cases, issues of gender and sexuality will be related to other societal determinants of health, including social class, racism, and other forms of inequality. The objective is to improve praxis for research, teaching, policy, and action, so as to advance knowledge and action needed for producing sound public health policy and health equity, including in relation to gender and sexuality.
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Women, Gender and Health: Critical Issues in Mental Health

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

This course explores issues relevant to mental illness, mental health from a gender perspective. Course themes include illness constructs, life cycle and transitions, collective and individual trauma, role and relationship and embodiment. Topics include eating disorders, pain, hormonally mediated mood disorders, and PTSD. Examples highlight US and international experience. Readings are multidisciplinary, including public health and medicine, social sciences, history and literature.
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Sexual and Reproductive Health: A Global Perspective

Semester: 

Spring

Offered: 

2020

This course is designed to provide an overview of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) from a global perspective with a focus on the most disadvantaged populations. The course will cover the most critical topics and dimensions in this field, i.e. historic, conceptual, research, methodological, policy, programmatic, rights, and advocacy. The themes will include the role of the global community in shaping the SRH agenda, sexual and reproductive rights, maternal health measurement and quality of care, unsafe abortion, contraception, adolescents’ SRH, women’s health along the life course and integration of reproductive healthcare. Gender, social inequalities and rights will be underpinning dimensions along the entire course. Students will be introduced to the core SRH literature and learn about the outstanding debates, acute knowledge gaps, effective evidence-based interventions, progress, current challenges and the most promising public health approaches to overcome them. This course will be fully participatory. Students are expected to reflect on readings, lead discussions, prepare group or individual case studies and prepare assigned homework.
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Gender and Health: Introductory Perspectives

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2019

This course will introduce students to gender as a theoretical concept and a category of analysis in public health—specifically, the ways in which gender contributes to differentially structuring women and men's experiences of health. The course proposes to answer such questions as: How can understanding gender structures help us interpret public health research? How has gender influenced the construction of public health in diverse societies? How do our social frameworks and structures, such as gender, affect people's experiences and expectations of health? How is the success of behavioral change interventions and the validity of basic behavioral and evaluation research affected by gender? This course emphasizes the epidemiological aspects of gender analysis and the interactions among gender, class, race/ethnicity, and sexuality. The course will cover a broad range of health issues for which gender has been of special importance. Topics covered include: biology, chronic disease, mortality and morbidity, contraceptives, infertility, endometriosis, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, body image, masculinity, weight and shape control behaviors, abortion, and global reproductive health. Additionally, sessions will include global, U.S. domestic, and historical perspectives, with attention primarily paid to the epidemiologic investigation as well as the social and behavioral sciences and health policy dimensions.... Read more about Gender and Health: Introductory Perspectives

Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Semester: 

Fall

Offered: 

2019

This interdisciplinary course will explore the politics of reproductive health and health care delivery, both in the US and globally, with a particular focus on how reproduction and related clinical care are shaped by and in turn shape social inequality along axes of race, gender, and social class. The course will intertwine three threads: 1) major conceptual and theoretical issues foundational to understanding the politics and epidemiology of reproduction; 2) contemporary and historical perspectives on specific reproductive phenomena and events (preventing pregnancy, terminating pregnancy, sustaining pregnancy, and giving birth); 3) social movements organized around reproductive health (e.g. anti-abortion, reproductive justice movements).
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