Upon satisfactory completion of the Social Epidemiology Program, students will be able to describe or apply the following concepts and skills:
Theories relevant to social epidemiology
- Social ecology framework
- Determinism (e.g., geographical, genetic) and agency (individual and aggregate)
- Socio-political theories (e.g., Engels, Weber)
- Key debates in social epidemiology
- Direct and indirect effects
- Social measures
- Social cohesion, social capital, collective efficacy, social control
- Measures of social location (e.g., SES)
- Measures of inequality (e.g., income inequality, segregation)
- Race and racism; sex/gender and sexism
- Physical measures
- Social disorder and "broken windows"
- Other measures of the built environment
- Measures of the natural environment
- Sources of data
- National surveys
- Public access data (e.g., disease surveillance, corrections)
- Others' studies (e.g., Add Health, PHDCN)
- Empirical data collection
- Compositional and contextual variables
Patterns of disease
- DAGS (strengths and limitations when applied to social epidemiology)
- Constructing conceptual models
- Differentiating between proximal and distal factors
- Study designs (design, analysis, and interpretation)
- Ecological studies
- Life course studies
- Natural experiments
- Randomized community trials
- Multi-level studies
- Mixed methods (integration of quantitative and qualitative)
- Community-based participatory research
- Spatial analytic techniques
- Geographical units of analysis (assets and liabilities of each)
- Special techniques
- Instrumental variables
- Propensity scores
- Geographical distribution of common health outcomes
- Social distribution of common health outcomes
- The ethical nature of patterns of health and disease in populations (including health disparities)
- Concepts of justice (e.g., human rights, utilitarianism, preference for the poor)
- How public health ethics differs from medical ethics
- Research ethics in social epidemiology studies
Public health and interventions
- Geoffrey Rose and structural interventions
- Rudolf Virchow: diseases and the political economy
- Edwin Chadwick: environmental reform
- UNC Social epidemiology alumni (e.g., Kark, Cassel, James)
- The effects of social policy on health
- Translation of epidemiologic research into policy
- Structural interventions
- Measurement and evaluation of programs, policies, and interventions
670: Demographic Techniques I (Suchindran and Bilsborrow)
Source and interpretation of demographic data; rates and ratios,
standardization, complete and abridged life tables; estimation and
projection of fertility, mortality, migration, and population
BIOS 771: Demographic
Life table techniques; methods of analysis when data are deficient;
population projection methods; interrelations among demographic
variables; migration analysis; uses of population models.
Prerequisites, BIOS 670 and integral calculus.
EPID 783: Injury and Violence as Public Health Problems
This course considers the causes and consequences of traumatic injury
within developmental, social, and economic contexts, and dilemmas in
injury prevention. Injuries associated with transportation, violence,
and the home and occupational environments are included.
EPID 785: Environmental
Epidemiologic ideas and methods applied to evaluation and control of
human health consequences of environmental hazards. Pollution of
environmental media and global change are considered from a
human-ecological perspective, with local and international examples.
Three lecture hours per week. Prerequisites, EPID 710 and BIOS 600. (On
EPID 826: Social
Epidemiology: Concepts and Measures (J. Thomas)
Social forces affecting community health and how to measure them for
epidemiologic analysis. Topics range from social networks to racism and
ethics. Prerequisite: EPID 160. (Offered in alternate
[odd-numbered years] spring semesters.
EPID 827: Social
Epidemiology: Analysis and Interpretation (W. Robinson)
This course will introduce selected analytic methods for investigating
the influences of upstream social processes on health.
Students will learn to evaluate strengths and limitations of social
epidemiologic research. (Offered in alternate [even-numbered
years] spring semesters.)
EPID 892/MHCH 892:
Seminar in Health Disparities (V. Hogan, A. Vines)
This seminar will provide an opportunity for students to synthesize
knowledge across disciplines and to develop an interdisciplinary
approach to addressing their identified health disparities research
topic. Prerequisite, MHCH 756. One seminar hour per week.
Health Education and
HBHE 753: Qualitative
Evaluation and Research Methods (S. Maman)
This is an introduction to qualitative research methodology. The course
is intended to develop students' skills in designing qualitative
research studies, developing qualitative research questions,
collecting, managing and analyzing qualitative data, and presenting
findings from a qualitative study. Students will collect their own
qualitative data that they will analyze in groups. Prerequisite, HBHE
750 or equivalent. Spring.
HBHE 803: Social
Relationships and Health
Introduces students to epidemiological evidence that links social
relationship with health outcomes and introduces students to
theoretical and empirical work that attempts to establish the link
between social relationships and physical health.
Maternal and Child Health
MHCH 664 (140):
Globalization and Health (cross listed with HPAA 664) (B. Fried and L.
The course examines multiple dimensions of globalization and explores
their direct and indirect effects on determinants of health through
presentations, case studies, class discussions, small group seminars,
readings, weekly short written assignments, a critical book review, and
a final paper and poster session. An expected outcome of the course is
that students will gain a deeper understanding of how the changes and
transformations of globalization and development affect health, and
will have examined responses and approaches to current global patterns
that contribute to positive and adverse health effects and health
inequalities. This course is an alternative core course to
Interdisciplinary Perspectives in Global Health, taught in the Fall
semester, for students enrolled in the Global Health Certificate
MHCH 740: Introduction
to Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities (Rowley)
Eliminating health disparities is a broad national goal for improving
the health of Americans, and part of the mission of the Gillings School
of Global Public Health. However, little to no progress has been made
on eliminating disparities in morbidity and mortality experienced by
some racial/ethnic subpopulations. This course provides students with
the basic concepts about the origins of and contributing factors to
racial/ethnic health disparities. Approaches to eliminating disparities
will be examined. Weekly online lectures/materials will alternate with
class discussions. Fall.
MHCH 756: Understanding
and Addressing Health Inequalities in the US (V. Hogan)
This course is being taught to provide the knowledge, skills and
abilities to conduct needs assessment, critical appraisal and
measurement of the distribution, causes and consequences of health
inequalities, to evaluate or design intervention with respect to
clinical practice, allocation of resources, health, medical care and/or
social policy, and to design appropriate etiologic, health services or
clinical research, targeted toward understanding, reducing and
ultimately eliminating health disparities of various types and across
varying vulnerable populations. This course will focus on chronic
diseases and perinatal outcomes.
EDUC 888 Introduction to
Structural Equation Modeling (W. Ware)
Introduces structural equation modeling with both observed and latent
variables. Applications include confirmatory factor analysis, multiple
group analyses, longitudinal analyses and multitrait-multimethod
EDUC 982: Advanced
Qualitative Analysis and Interpretation (G. Noblit)
This advanced seminar focuses on the needs of doctoral students
immersed in qualitative research, with an emphasis on data analysis.
ANTH 750: Seminar in
Medical Anthropology (W. Lachicotte)
Specially designed for, but not restricted to, students who are
specializing in medical anthropology. Medicine as part of culture;
medicine and social structure viewed cross-culturally; medicine in the
perspective of anthropological theory; research methods. A special
purpose is to help students plan their own research projects, theses,
SOCI 250: Sociological
A study of theoretical perspectives in sociology, their relation to
contemporary social issues, and their roots in classical social thought.
Analysis of major theories of and approaches to the study of social
inequality, with attention to how the various theories and approaches
are operationalized. Focus on recent research in labor markets and
SOCI 851: Sociology of
Reviews theory on variation in men's and women's gender roles, with
emphasis on industrialized societies and women's roles.
SOCI 821: The
Provides an intense introduction to the life course as a theoretical
orientation and methodology (logic of inquiry).
SOCI 830: Demography:
Theory, Substance, Techniques, Part I
A basic introduction to the discipline of demography. Materials covered
include population history, data sources, mortality and fertility
trends, and differentials and techniques of analysis.
SOCI 831: Demography:
Theory, Substance, Techniques, Part II
A continuation of SOCI 830. Materials covered include population growth
and stable population theory, migration and distribution, population
policy, and population estimates and projections.
SOCI 833: Socioeconomic
Factors In Fertility
Fertility differentials by social and economic factors, changes therein
over time, the manner in which these factors affect fertility, and the
implications thereof for fertility-control programs are studied. (On
SOCI 855: Poverty in
This graduate seminar will study trends, causes, and consequences of
poverty in America, covering the topics of single-mother families,
child poverty, low-wage work, immigrant families, and welfare reform
and social policy.
SOCI 863: Medical
Sociology: Health, Illness, and Healing
This graduate seminar presents a conceptual and substantive overview of
some of the most fundamental and salient issues in the field of medical
sociology. The focus of the course is on continuity and change in
health and health care. The following topics will be examined: social
causation of disease; medicalization of social problems; medicine as a
profession; treatment systems and organization of care; politics and
the changing face of the medical care system.
The following geography
courses are of potential interest to students of social epidemiology,
but because they are not graduate-level courses, they can only count as
electives, not as substantive epidemiology courses.
Geography 423: Social
A study of spatial components of current social problems such as
poverty, race relations, environmental deterioration and pollution, and
crime. Cravey, staff.
Geography 428: Urban
A geographical study of the spatial structure and function or urban
settlements. Emphasis is on the regional relations of cities and
central place theory. Staff.
Geography 434: The
Cultural Ecology of Urbanization, Agriculture, and Disease (3).
Examines the role of interactions of cultures, environments, and human
diseases in the quest for sustainable agriculture by examining the
cultural ecology of systems and their human diseases. Meade.
This course brings geographical perspectives on place, space, scale,
and environmental change to the study of environmental politics. In
lectures, texts, and student research, we examine topics including
environmental health risks, globalization and urban environments, and
the role of science in environmental politics. Kirsch.
Geography 445: Medical
The human ecology of health is studied by analyzing the
cultural/environmental interactions that lie behind world patterns of
disease distribution, diffusion and treatment, and the ways these are
being altered by development. Meade.
Geography 446: Geography
of Health Care Delivery
This course covers basics, including personnel and facility
distributions, accessibility, regionalization, and location/allocation
modeling; spatial analysis and GIS; and the cultural geography of
health care, including humanist and political economic perspectives.
Geography 447: Gender,
Space, and Place in the Middle East)
Examines gender, space and place relationships in the modern Middle
East. Investigates shifting gender geographies of colonialism,
nationalism, modernization and globalization in this region. Gökariksel.
Transnational Geographies of Muslim Societies (INTS 448)
Examines new modern Muslim geographies that are created by
transnational flows, connections, and imaginaries that cross national
and regional boundaries across the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and
A study of the spatial dimensions of population growth, density and
movement, and of the shifts in these patterns as they relate to changes
in selected socioeconomic environmental and cultural phenomena. Florin,
Geography 452: Mobile
Geographies: the Political Economy of Migration
This course explores the contemporary experience of migrants. Various
theoretical approaches are introduced, with the emphasis on a political
economy approach. Cravey.
Geography 453: Political
Geography (PWAD 453)
The geography of politics is explored at the global, the nation-state,
and the local scale in separate units, but the interconnections between
these geographical scales are emphasized throughout. Cravey, Kirsch.
Historical Geography of the United States (FOLK 454)
A study of selected past geographies of the United States with emphasis
on the significant geographic changes in population, cultural, and
economic conditions through time. Florin.
Geography 457: Rural
Latin America: Agriculture, Environment, and Natural Resources
Explores a systems and cultural-ecological view of agriculture,
environment, natural resource, and rural development issues in Latin
America. Whitmore. Prerequisite, GEOG 259 or permission of instructor.
Geography 458: Urban
Latin America: Politics, Economy, and Society
Examines contemporary issues in urban Latin America, including
geographical concepts, political trajectories of individual countries,
and urban-based activist social movements. Cravey. Prerequisite, GEOG
259 or permission of instructor.
Geographies of Economic Change
This course is designed to explore changing geographies of production
and consumption in theory and practice. Wolford.
Geography 464: Europe
Today: Transnationalism, Globalisms, and the Geographies of Pan-Europe
A survey by topic and country of Europe west of Russia. Those
features that made Europe a distinct and important region today are
Introduction to Remote Sensing and Digital Image Processing
Prerequisite, GEOG 370 or equivalent. Emphasizes methods of data
analysis that offer an automated approach to spatial and non-spatial
data synthesis which combines a system of data capture, storage,
management, retrieval, analysis, and display. Fall. Moody, Song, Walsh.
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems
Prerequisite, GEOG 370 or equivalent. Stresses the spatial analysis and
modeling capabilities of organizing data within a geographic
information system. Moody, Song, Walsh.