Program Director Jessecae Marsh
Associate Professor of Psychology and Director for Health, Medicine, and Society
Starting Fall 2017 -  Major in Health, Medicine and Society. 
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 Jessecae Marsh.
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.
Students interested in declaring a HMS major or minor should contact the Office of Interdisciplinary Programs at 610-758-3996 or

Major in Health, Medicine and Society
Lehigh University Course Catalog
HMS Course Catalog
Major Declaration Form
Major Declaration Supplemental Form (must be filled out when declaring a major)
For more information, click here...
The Bachelor of Arts in Health, Medicine and Society requires a minimum of 32 credits and a second major. A maximum of three courses may apply to both BA majors.
Humanities (4 credits)
♦ HMS 170 Medical Humanities or
♦ HMS/PHIL/REL 116 Bioethics
Social Science (4 credits)
♦ HMS/SOC 160 Medicine and Society or
♦ HMS 180 Intro to Public Health
Research Methods (4 credits)
♦ HMS 375 Community Based Participatory Research Methodology or
♦ HMS/PSYC 349 Participatory Action Research or
♦ HMS/SOAN 120 Ethics and Values of Community-Engaged Research or
♦ SOAN 111 Research Methods and Data Analysis or
♦ PSYC 210 Exp. Research Methods
♦ SOC 391 Evaluation Research
Students must take at least 3 courses from one concentration (totaling 12 credits).
♦ Health Humanities (12 HU credits) or
♦ Social Science Approaches to Health (12 SS credits)
♦ Students must also take at least one elective course (4 credits) from outside their concentration (HU or SS).
♦ A minimum of 3 courses overall must be taken at the 300-level (not including the research methods core options).
♦ No more than 2 courses outside of the core courses can come from cross-listed courses within second major.
(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
(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 002 (REL 002) Death and Dying: Religious and Ethical Perspectives 4 Credits
Introduces students to the study of religion, world religious traditions and ethics through an exploration of death and dying. Rituals, practices and texts focused on death provide the basis for comparative study of Asian and Western religious approaches to the meaning and mystery of death as it confronts individuals and communities. Attention will also be given to moral justification for deaths brought about by human actions (i.e., killings). Specific issues include suicide, war deaths, abortion, euthanasia and state-sponsored execution.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 110 (ES 110, POLS 110) Environmental Planning for Healthy Cities 4 Credits
An introduction to the topic of environmental planning, the course will review the roles of citizens, other stakeholders, political interests, and local governments in determining the use of land; unpack the meaning of "sustainability;" and grapple with the challenge of balancing communities' demand for development with the need to protect valuable natural resources. Students will be introduced to examples of successful and unsuccessful instances of environmental planning both at home and abroad.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 115 (ENGL 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.
Repeat Status: Course may be repeated.
Attribute/Distribution: HU
HMS 116 (PHIL 116, REL 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 (ES 117, JOUR 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 (HIST 118, STS 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 120 (SOAN 120) Values and Ethics of Community-Engaged Research 4 Credits
The many dimensions of community-engaged research and learning are explored, with special attention to ethical practices, values, research methods, and critical reflection. Experiential and service aspects of the course provide opportunities for students to build skills for social and community change, as well as build capacity for research and critical inquiry.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 123 (SDEV 123) Oceans and Human Health 4 Credits
The world’s oceans affect human health in many ways: they provide food and water to human populations; they are a point of exposure to pollutants, toxins, and diseases; and they provide pharmaceuticals and animals used in biomedical research. This course explores the interactions between oceans and human health by studying the ways in which they intersect. This summer study abroad course is based at the Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS).
Attribute/Distribution: NS
HMS 138 (PSYC 138) Abnormal Psychology 4 Credits
Examines research and theory on the patterns, causes, and treatment of various forms of abnormal behavior.
Prerequisites: PSYC 001
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 152 (SOC 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 (ANTH 155) Medical Anthropology 4 Credits
Medical Anthropology is the study of how conceptions of health, illness, and healing methods vary over time and across cultures. Students will learn how social and cultural factors shape health outcomes in a variety of human contexts, and will study culturally specific approaches to healing, including Western bio-medicine. The course offers a broad understanding of the relationship between culture, health, and healing.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 160 (SOC 160) Medicine and Society 4 Credits
Sociological perspectives on health, illness, and medical care. Focus on social epidemiology, social psychology of illness, socialization of health professionals, patient-professional relationships, medical care organization and policies.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 162 (SOC 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 211 Peer Health Adviser Training 4 Credits
This applied course explores student health at Lehigh University and focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of prevention strategies designed to make Lehigh a healthy and safe living, learning community by exploring student health-related data, examining campus-wide priority student health issues and developing evidence-based interventions. Peer Health Advisers are trained to provide peer-to-peer support, advice, resources and programming to promote healthy behaviors. Students completing the course are subsequently eligible to serve as Peer Health Advisers.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 221 Peer Health Adviser Training 4 Credits
This applied course explores student health at Lehigh University and focuses on the development, implementation and evaluation of prevention strategies designed to make Lehigh a healthy and safe living, learning community by exploring student health-related data, examining campus-wide priority student health issues and developing evidence-based interventions. Peer Health Advisers are trained to provide peer-to-peer support, advice, resources and programming to promote healthy behaviors. Students completing the course are subsequently eligible to serve as Peer Health Advisers.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 226 (REL 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 Credits
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 292 Supervised Research 1-8 Credits
Research project under the direct supervision of an HMS faculty member. Consent of instructor required.
Repeat Status: Course may be repeated.
Attribute/Distribution: HU, SS
HMS 293 Internship 1-8 Credits
Practical experience in the application of health, medicine and society for both on- and off-campus organizations. Course is designed to provide credit for supervised experiential learning experiences. May be repeated for credit up to eight credits. Prerequisite: consent of the program director.
Repeat Status: Course may be repeated.
Attribute/Distribution: HU, SS
HMS 302 (PSYC 302) Stress and Coping 4 Credits
How does stress affect the psychological system, and what psychological mechanisms are in place to help people overcome environmental stressors? This seminar examines classic and contemporary theories and research on stress, coping, and social support.
Prerequisites: PSYC 121 or PSYC 153 or HMS 160 or HMS 180
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 306 (ES 306) Food Justice in Urban Environments 4 Credits
This course will review how urban agriculture and city greening programs and policies are part of a growing movement working to strengthen neighborhoods, promote healthier living, and create more localized and sustainable food economies. This class will explore research and readings from multiple disciplines on these programs and policies, and will also delve into individual case studies that illustrate how efforts to improve food access, beautify vacant land, and reduce farm-to-table distances get creatively and successfully combined.
HMS 307 (POLS 307) The Politics of Mental Health Policy 4 Credits
What is normal behavior, and how do we come to understand mental illness? How do the resulting policies, to address mental health, impact society? This course is designed to facilitate thoughtful discourse on the various ways in which society regulates access to opportunities, facilitates integration or alienation, and constructs the social world.
HMS 314 (AAS 314, GS 314, SOC 314) Infections and Inequalities: HIV, TB and Malaria in the Global South 4 Credits
This course will explore the social, economic, and environmental causes of HIV, TB, and malaria in developing nations, with a particular focus on the characteristics and causes of these diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa. Students will engage theories and perspectives on development, globalization, and social inequality to explain trends in HIV, TB, and malaria and to understand why certain groups are more vulnerable to infection than others.
Prerequisite: Junior/senior standing with declared major/minor in SOC, ANTH, SOAN, HMS, GS, or AAS.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 315 (ENGL 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 316 (SOC 316) Social Epidemiology 4 Credits
Social epidemiology is the study of the distribution and social determinants of health and disease in human populations. This course introduces the basic principles of epidemiological study design, analysis and interpretation, covering topics such as how a disease spreads across populations and how public health interventions can help control or reduce the spread of disease. This course also reviews epidemiology as a social science by reviewing the social causes and consequences of health.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 319 (PSYC 319) The Psychology of Trauma 4 Credits
This course explores the nature of psychological trauma, including the physiological, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, interpersonal, and developmental impact of exposure to extreme stress and traumatic events. Historical and current perspectives on the individual and cultural effects of trauma will be examined, including consequences of relational trauma, traumatic loss, injury/illness, crime, combat exposure, terrorism, natural disasters, and vicarious traumatization. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and related conditions will be explored, as will the nature of effective intervention techniques, recovery, adaptive coping, and resilience.
Prerequisites: PSYC 138 or HMS 138
Attribute/Distribution: NS
HMS 322 (GS 322, SOC 322) Global Health Issues 4 Credits
Sociological dimensions of health, illness, and healing as they appear in different parts of the world. Focus on patterns of disease and mortality around the world; 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 (ES 323, JOUR 323, STS 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 (PSYC 327) Health Psychology 4 Credits
This course provides an overview of the psychological study of health. The course explores psychological theories that aim to explain health behavior (e.g., why do people smoke?) and the role of psychology in understanding the experience of illness. This course also examines how psychological research and theory can be applied to promote health behavior (e.g., how can we design interventions to promote physical activity).
Prerequisites: PSYC 001
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 334 (PSYC 334, WGSS 334) The Psychology of Body Image and Eating Disorders 4 Credits
The course addresses the psychosocial aspects of the development of healthy and unhealthy body image and eating disorders. The roles of personality traits/individual factors, family and interpersonal functioning, and cultural factors will be examined, as will the impact of representations of body image in mass media. Public health and psychological interventions for prevention and treatment will be explored. Personal accounts/memoirs, clinical case presentations, and documentary and dramatic films will be incorporated in the presentation of topics.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 341 (SOC 341, WGSS 341) Gender and Health 4 Credits
Relationships of sex differences and gender norms to disease and longevity in the U.S. and around the world. Influence of medical systems on men's and women's lives and the impact of gender-based consumer health movements on health and medical care. Focus on specific topics, e.g. medicalization and commercialization of women's bodies, the politics of reproductive choices, masculinity and health, and gender and mental health.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 343 (SOC 343) Race, Ethnicity, and Health 4 Credits
People who belong to racial and ethnic minority groups are exposed to more health risks, have disproportionately high levels of sickness and excess deaths, and have limited access to good quality healthcare. This course provides students with theoretical and empirical insights into the intersection of race, ethnicity, and health in the U.S. Historical and contemporary patterns in U.S. demography, race relations, residential segregation, environmental justice, and social stratification will be explored in the context of health and health care.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 344 (PSYC 344) Health Care Reasoning and Decision Making 4 Credits
Health care professionals diagnose physical and mental illnesses and create treatment plans to improve their patients’ health. How do these professionals make decisions related to these important issues? We will explore the literature on how medical and mental health professionals reason and make decisions about health care issues. Topics to be covered include diagnosis, treatment decisions, access to care, and how these reasoning processes are swayed. Consideration will be given to patient decision-making as well.
Prerequisites: PSYC 117 or COGS 117 or COGS 007 or HMS 160 or HMS 180
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 348 (PSYC 348) Drugs and Behavior 4 Credits
Why are some people more vulnerable to substance use problems than others? How can we effectively address substance abuse in our society? This course explores theories and research on the complex psychological, social, and biological factors that contribute to substance use and disorders. Topics include theories of addiction, characteristics of illegal and legal drugs, risk and protective factors, and research on substance abuse prevention.
Prerequisites: PSYC 001 or HMS 160 or HMS 180
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 349 (PSYC 349) Participatory and Action Research in Psychology 4 Credits
Action research is used to understand important real-world social problems and promote social action. Participatory research engages community members as equals to help identify areas of focus and to design studies and interventions. This course provides an overview of the rich history of these approaches in psychology, an in-depth look at how they can be used effectively, and an opportunity to gain hands-on experience.
Prerequisites: PSYC 121 or PSYC 153 or HMS 160 or HMS 180
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 354 (POLS 354) U.S. Health Care Politics 4 Credits
Explores a range of health care programs and policies and their impacts on American society. Topics include the development of the U.S. approach to health care; public sector plans (Medicare and Medicaid); the role of managed care; the employer-sponsored system; the situation of the medically uninsured; the health care vested interests and lobbyists; movements for national health care; and options for change.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 375 (EDUC 375) Community Based Participatory Research Methodology 3-4 Credits
The course provides an introduction to the core concepts of community based participatory research (CBPR) methodology applied to social science research to address public health issues. The course will equip students with strategies for developing community academic partnerships as well as to strengthen skills in research methods.
Attribute/Distribution: SS
HMS 386 (PSYC 386) Child and Adolescent Health Psychology 4 Credits
Focuses on developmental research and theory related to health and wellness issues in children and adolescents. Topics include children's understanding of biology and disease, disease management, medical consent, education and policy efforts to promote children's health.
Prerequisites: PSYC 107
Attribute/Distribution: SS