Program Director Kelly Austin
Assistant Professor of Sociology and Director for Health, Medicine, and Society
610-758-2103 or
An interdisciplinary Health, Medicine, and Society program is offered in the College of Arts and Sciences. An interdepartmental committee composed of faculty from several departments across the college developed and participate in the program. Students interested in declaring a major or a minor in Health, Medicine, and Society should contact Professor Kelly Austin.
The challenge of meeting the increasingly complex health needs of growing and aging populations is moving to the forefront of national and international concerns in the 21st century. The Health, Medicine, and Society field focuses on the social scientific and humanistic dimensions of health and medical care to develop an understanding of the impact of health, illness, and medical care on individuals, families, and societies. This program is intended to serve students who wish to be involved in some aspect of the health care industry or health policy and also students who are interested in communications, the pharmaceutical industry, law, business, agency work, and other careers where understanding health care is essential.
To declare an HMS major or minor contact Dr. Kelly Austin, Director of HMS, 31 Williams Hall, Room 204, or 610-758-2103. 

Coming Fall 2017 -  Major in Health, Medicine and Society. For more information, click here...
Lehigh University Course Catalog
HMS Course Catalog

Required Core Courses: (Take one of the following three courses as your core course. If you take more than one of these three courses, it will count as an elective.
HMS/SSP 160 Medicine and Society 
HMS 170 Medical Humanities
HMS 180 Introduction to Public Health
Course Requirements (At least three additional courses from the list below or other courses designated HMS)
HMS/SSP 090 Drugging of America
HMS/ENGL 115 Topics in Literature, Medicine, and Health 
HMS/PHIL/REL 116 Bioethics 
HMS/JOUR/ES 117 Environmental Health Risks and the Media
HMS/STS/HIST 118 History of Modern Medicine
HMS/PSYC 138 Abnormal Psychology 
HMS/SSP 152 Alcohol, Science, and Society
HMS/ANTH 155 Health, Illness and Healing
HMS/SSP 162 AIDS and Society
HMS/REL 226 From Black Death to AIDS: Plague, Pandemic, Ethics and Religion
HMS 291 Independent Study 
HMS/ENGL 315 Topics in Literature, Medicine, and Health
HMS/SSP/GS 322 Global Health Issues
HMS/JOUR/ES/STS 323 Health and Environmental Controversies
HMS/PSYC 327 Health Psychology
HMS/PSYC/WGSS 334 The Psychology of Body Image and Eating Disorders
HMS/SSP/WS 341 Women and Health
HMS/PSYC 344 Health Care Reasoning and Decision-Making
HMS/PSYC 348 Drugs and Behavior
HMS 354/POLS 354 U.S. Health Care Politics
HMS/PSYC 386 Child and Adolescent Health Psychology
BIOS 010/090 Bioscience in 21st Century
ECO 368 Health Economics
POL 307 The Politics of Mental Health Policy

Undergraduate Courses in Health, Medicine, and Society

HMS 115 Topics in Literature, Medicine, and Health 4 Credits
Largely focused on narratives about health, illness and disability, this course will examine individual experiences with attention to social context. Topics may include the physician/patient relationship, illness and deviance, plague literature, gender and medicine, autism, AIDS, mental illness, aging.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 116 Bioethics 4 Credits
Moral issues that arise in the context of health care and related biomedical fields in the United States today, examined in the light of the nature and foundation of moral rights and obligations. Topics include: confidentiality, informed consent, euthanasia, medical research and experimentation, genetics, and the distribution of health care.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 117 Environmental Health Risks and the Media 4 Credits
This course explores the risks and effects of environmental contamination on human health and behavior as well as the role of the mass media in alerting citizens to potential environmental health risks. Environmental topics vary but usually include air and water pollution, endocrine disrupters and radioactive waste.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 118 History of Modern Medicine 4 Credits
Introduction to Western medical history from the 18th century to the present day. Students will explore patient/practitioner relationships; examine changing ideas concerning health, sickness, and disease; chart changes in hospital care and medical education; and tackle topics such as eugenics, medical experimentation and health insurance.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 138 Abnormal Psychology 4 Credits
Examines research and theory on the patterns, causes, and treatment of various forms of abnormal behavior. Prerequisites as noted below.
Prerequisites: PSYC 001
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 152 Alcohol, Science, and Society 4 Credits
Alcohol use and abuse, its historical function in society, moral entrepreneurship, status struggles and conflict over alcohol. Current problems with attention to special population groups and strategies for prevention of alcohol abuse.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 155 Health, Illness & Healing 4 Credits
Introduction to medical anthropology, a field of study that examines how conceptions of illness and health and methods of healing vary over time and across cultures. Introduces a number of culturally specific approaches to health and illness, including Western biomedicine, and aims to provide a broad understanding of the relationship between culture, illness, and healing.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 160 Medicine and Society 4 Credits
Health, illness, and the health professions from the sociological perspective. Social epidemiology, social psychology of illness, socialization of health professionals, organization of health care, patient-professional relationships and ethical issues in medical care.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 162 AIDS and Society 4 Credits
Impact of the AIDS epidemic on individuals and on social institutions (medicine, religion, education, politics, etc.); social and health policy responses; international experience; effect on public attitudes and policy on people affected directly by AIDS.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 170 Medical Humanities 4 Credits
The focus on individual voices and particular historical moments in the humanities disciplines has much to add to our understanding of health and illness. This course will take up ethical, historical, and literary approaches to health. The course can count as the core course for the minor (instead of HMS/SSP160), or it can be taken as one of the three electives.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 180 Introduction to Public Health 4 Credits
This course provides historical perspective on the contributions and roles of public health; introduces health status indicators of morbidity and mortality, concepts of rate, causation, and public health surveillance and vital statistics; and addresses determinants of health from an environmental, social, behavioral perspective. Aspects of health care delivery will be addressed from a population perspective and organizational structure. Course can count as the core course for the minor (instead of HMS/SSP160), or taken as an elective.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 226 From Black Death to AIDS:Plague,Pandemic,Ethics and Religion 4 Credits
An investigation of the role of religion and ethical analysis in constructing meaning around the idea of plague and pandemic. The role of religion in the European bubonic plague epidemic, the influenza pandemic of 1918, and the AIDS crisis will be examined, with attention give to ethical analysis of the institutional response to pandemic disease as distortions have occurred for political, social, and religious reasons.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 291 Independent Study 1-4 Credit
Independent research and reading with a faculty member. After receiving initial approval from the HMS director, the student must prepare an independent study proposal, with readings and assignments, in consultation with a professor who agrees to direct the independent study. Open only to declared HMS minors who have complete HMS/SSP 160 in a previous term.
Attribute/Distribution: HU, SS
HMS 315 Topics in Literature, Medicine, and Health 3,4 Credits
Analyzing the stories people tell about health, illness and disability, this course engages cultural studies approaches in order to explore the way those stories are told. Topics may include: illness and the graphic novel, the changing image of the healer in literature, collaborative storytelling with Alzheimer's patients, end of life narratives, tales from the ER, narrative ethics.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 322 Global Health Issues 4 Credits
Examines the sociological dimensions of health, illness, and healing as they appear in different parts of the world. Focuses on patterns of disease and mortality around the world, with special emphasis on major epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, and malaria; the relative importance of ‘traditional' and ‘modern' beliefs and practices with regard to disease and treatment in different societies; the organization of national health care systems in different countries; and the role of international organizations and social movements in promoting health.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 323 Health and Environmental Controversies 4 Credits
Exploration of health and environmental controversies from the perspectives of scientific uncertainty and mass media coverage. Examines genetic engineering, biotechnology, environmental health risks, and nanotechnology. Includes discussion of ethical and social responsibilities and interactions with the public.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 327 Health Psychology 4 Credits
An overview of the topic of health psychology. The course presupposes a preventative intervention approach to the problem of assisting healthy individuals to understand the relationship between behavior and health, and to engage those behaviors that promote health. This course will be underpinned with basic science and research on health psychology, but will include an application focus. Consent of department required. Prerequisites as noted below.
Prerequisites: PSYC 001