PUAD 494/LWS 494 examines the critical connection between government and health. Drawing on public administration, legal scholarship, and population health sciences, this course applies the concept of social equity—the active attention to fairness, justice, and equality in all things the government does—to the domain of health in the United States. Specifically, this course centers health equity as the ultimate goal of public policy: a state in which everyone can reach their full health potential, and no one is disadvantaged because of socially defined circumstances.
How can public policy advance health equity? This class explores the ways in which public institutions and policy contribute to health, health disparities, and health equity in the United States. Specifically, we will explore a range of factors that influence the nation’s health—for better or worse—at the federal, state, local, and neighborhood level. Through this course, students will gain substantive knowledge of the multiple determinants of health and the skills to critically analyze how public policy promotes and inhibits health equity.