Sociology 341

SOCY 341

Catalog Entry

SOCY 341. Sociology of Health and Medicine
Three hours lecture (3).

Prerequisite: SOCY 110 or SOCY/ANTH 121

This course covers the health professional-patient relationship, relationships between health professionals, the nature of care in different health facilities, social and environmental causes of illness, death and dying, and the general quality of health care and delivery in American society.


Detailed Description of Content of Course

1. Sociological Perspectives on the Patient Status

a. The sick role
b. The career perspective

2. The Professional-Patient Relationship

a. The social control perspective
b. The compliance perspective

3. The Socialization of Health Professionals

a. The "training for uncertainty" theme
b. The "loss of idealism" theme

4. The Relationship Between Health Professionals

a. Relationships between physicians
b. Relationships between physicians and other health professionals

5. The Process of Professionalization

a. An analysis of the professionalization process
b. Turf control and turf battles among health care professions

6. Health-Care Facilities

a. The general hospital
b. Long-term care facilities
c. Ambulatory-care facilities
d. Health-maintenance organizations

7. Health-Care Delivery Systems

a. Description of the health-care system of the United States
b. U.S. health-care system in comparative perspective

8. Health Promotion and Social Epidemiology

a. Health promotion
b. Social epidemiology


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

The course is essentially a reading course centering around a discussion of the selected readings for each day. The readings will come from a contemporary book of readings in the field, class handouts, and the weekly health section of the Washington Post.


Goals and Objectives of Course

By completing the course, students should have acquired:

1. a knowledge of health issues, including how the health-care delivery system works, which will benefit them as consumers;
2. a comparative framework so that they will understand the strengths and weaknesses of the health-care system;
3. a critical understanding of how health-care research is carried out, including the weaknesses of such research as well as the sources where this research can be found.


Assessment Measures

Assessment measures will include pop quizzes in class, two hourly examinations and a final examination, as well as a grade for class preparation and class participation.


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

January, 2004 Reviewed Peggy A. Shifflett

March, 2009