HSO-10806 Introduction to Health and Society


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Individual Paper0
Group work0
Excursion (one day)0
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. MAE Wagemakers
Lecturer(s)C Verbaan
dr. ir. MAE Wagemakers
dr. ir. S Super
Examiner(s)dr. ir. S Super

Language of instruction:



In this introductory course relevant principles of health and society will be addressed. The course starts with historical developments in thinking about disease, health and health promotion. Next, we elaborate on causes and consequences of demographic, social, and economic health differences, using an interdisciplinary perspective (psychology, sociology, epidemiology). Specific attention is paid to the interaction between societal developments and health and ethical considerations. We also discuss global health, infectious diseases and environmental health. Furthermore we address health systems in the Netherlands, including health policies regarding care, cure and prevention, and the organisation of formal and informal health care.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- describe the concept 'health' and different factors that positively or negatively influence health;
- interpret the distribution of health across the world and across different groups;
- critically reflect on the interaction between societal developments and trends in health;
- identify the scientific disciplines and the occupational groups that are important to the field of health and society;
- search and consult scientific information through the Wageningen Desktop Library;
- critically read and assess scientific literature;
- apply the rule for scientific writing in a paper.


- lectures;
- tutorials;
- literature study;
- group assignments

- excursion.


- library assignment (individual) 1: finding literature (pass/fail)

- group assignment 2: analysing health differences (25%);
- groups assignment 3: identify occupational groups (pass/fail)

- written exam with open and closed questions (75%).

Each component needs a minimum mark of 5.5 to pass


Mackenbach, J.P., & Stronks, K. (2016). Volksgezondheid en gezondheidszorg (Achtste, herziene druk). Houten: Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.

Compulsory for: BGMHealth and SocietyBSc1MO