What you will study
This module comprises four study blocks.
Block 1 introduces the notion that health is everybody’s business, while recognising that there is great diversity in what people mean when they talk of health and the ways of researching, measuring and evaluating health. Underpinning the different ways of thinking about health are differing – and at times conflicting – values.
You’ll explore the influence of biomedicine on healthcare policy and practice, along with the challenges to that model that have arisen in response to debates about the role of social determinants of health and ill health. The block concludes with a study of childbirth that contextualises and debates the visions and values of health already discussed.
Block 2 develops the discussions relating to the social determinants of health. The concept of lifestyle is examined in terms of its focus on individual behaviours, the limiting effects of structural factors, and in particular structural inequalities. The health consequences of stress and the ways in which relationships determine health and wellbeing are critically considered, and the block concludes by contextualising the determinants of health already discussed through an examination of the diverse experiences of health and illness. Throughout the block, people’s experiences of long-term conditions are used to illustrate key concepts.
Block 3 moves on from examining the wider determinants of health and illness to consider the implications for practice. Issues such as self-care, caring, prevention of disease and ill health, and curing are explored, with health service provision being critically discussed. The final chapter of the block draws together key themes with a discussion of prevention, curing and care in relation to mental health and mental healthcare.
Block 4 considers health inequalities, their link to social and economic factors and the strategies that have been developed to tackle them. This includes a close examination of health policies over time. The role of public health in improving the health of the population is examined and the block concludes with an exploration of some of the ways in which local health action takes place. This is illustrated by an evaluation of case studies from each of the four nations of the UK.
You will learn
This module provides you with an insight into contemporary and emerging debates about health and illness. Specifically, the module encourages you to:
- develop knowledge and understanding of medical, psychological, sociological, political and cultural perspectives on health
- explore and evaluate the utility of different models of health for understanding health and healthcare and the experience of illness
- review your own and alternative standpoints and values in health work
- analyse current health policy and practice
- review and evaluate local initiatives to improve health
- interpret and evaluate health-related data and literature.
Your learning will take place through a series of online learning guides via the module website and through four study books. The learning guides provide a structured environment where you engage with academic readings, websites, journal articles, audio clips and a range of other learning elements that constitute the combined teaching material for the module.