The Law and Social Science of Health Equity

Section 1, Fall 17

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 6/15
Credits: 3

Course Description

This seminar will be conducted as a graduate-level course, introducing an interdisciplinary approach to health equity law and policy in the United States. This class will explore health and health care inequities that can occur across multiple dimensions, including, race and ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, disability, geographic location, sexual orientation, age, and disability. Focus in this seminar will be placed on social science literature related to the social determinants of health, and its application to law and policy aimed at eliminating avoidable health and health care inequity. The readings will consider qualitative and quantitative evidence to explain the association between social factors, and health outcomes. You do not need a social science, statistics, or math background for this course because I will explain all the basic concepts you need as we go along. However, if you have absolutely no idea what a regression or p-value is, you may find it helpful to look at one of the brief introductions to understanding sociological research literature found easily online before tackling our readings. We will explore social scientists’ contributions to empirical and policy debates on difficult issues such as why “zip code matters more than genetic code” to determine one’s health status in the United States. The core competencies you will develop in this seminar include an understanding of population-level health and health care disparities, and the contribution to those disparities made by the social determinants of health. You will have a basic understanding of the major theoretical explanations for those disparities. And you will have an introduction to the currently debated policy levers available to achieve health equity. See, e.g. ,Caroline Hodges Persll and Jennifer Gerdes, “An Introduction to Sociology,” (American Sociological Association) available at see also, Margarete Sandelowski and Julie Barraso, (2002). “Reading Qualitative Studies,” International Journal of Qualitative Methods 1(1):74-108

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Midterm Type (if any): None
Description: None

Final Type (if any): None

Written Work Product
Written Work Product: Students will be required to make an oral presentation and submit a research paper via EXPO no later than noon on the last day of the exam period. Students intending to augment the research paper to meet the Upper-Level Writing Requirement must submit the Intent Form to SRO by the deadline identified on LawWeb. Retroactive exceptions will not be granted.

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: Health Law Survey (Law 7080) stronly recommended, but not required. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: None
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*Yes means professor requires everyone in the course to submit a substantial research paper (which is the requirement standard in Academic Policies), so no paperwork required to be submitted to SRO. No means student must timely submit paperwork to SRO if intending to use a paper in this course to satisfy the Writing Requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

General Information

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Concentrations: Health Law
Public Syllabus Link: Click Here
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens:
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: