Certificate in Health Equity and Health Disparities

This certificate is designed as an interdisciplinary certificate that provides a background in disciplines that relate to the social and behavioral determinants of health. Determinants of health are social, cultural, political, and economic factors coupled with individual factors that impact population as well as individual health outcomes. Socio-economic (upstream) factors are shaped by the distribution of money, power and resources at global, national and local levels, which are themselves influenced by policy choices (e.g. policies to promote economic development and reduce poverty; policies to promote healthier homes, neighborhoods, schools, and workplaces; housing policy; policies affecting access to health care; education policy; social policy; community empowerment; social capital; social inclusion/ exclusion; transportation policy; job training programs; food policy; health system policy and more). Individual (downstream) factors are those of behavior/lifestyle; gender; genes/family history, stress, income, education, food insecurity, access to health care, and housing.

Certificates may be earned by regularly matriculated or extended learning students and denote successful completion of a prescribed program of study designed to:

  1. impart specified professional/vocational/career competencies; or
  2. produce mastery of the content of a sub-field of an academic major (discipline); or
  3. provide exposure to the range of materials in a traditional or emerging interdisciplinary field.

Certain certificate programs contain 600-level courses as requirements and/or electives. These 600-level courses may not be taken by undergraduate students. Candidates must receive two-thirds of their certificate-applicable credit from the university. The transferring of credit or the substitution of courses may occur only after application to the appropriate campus authority.

Courses in this program are designed to:

  • prepare graduates to participate in community planning and action that will improve the health of an;
  • teach students to understand community social, political, and economic factors that affect the
  • way people live, their consequent chance of illness, and their risk of premature death.
  • educate students about strategies to advance the capacity of local organizations and agencies to tackle the root causes of health inequities through action, their organizational
  • structure, and policy and law
  • help students become better prepared to engage in research that will enhance the understanding of the causes, processes, consequences and prevention of health disparities.

In this statement the key element is to make the students better consumers and users of research.

At least eight units must be outside one’s major.  NOTE: The Certificate Coordinator position will be a rotating position (every 2 years) to promote the interdisciplinary nature of the certificate).

Certificate requirements (30-33 units)

Core Courses
Eight units chosen from: 8
Anthropology of Health, Illness and Healing
Introduction to Public Health
Health Psychology
Medical Sociology
Select the required number of courses from each of the following four areas of concentration (total 20 units)
Measuring Health Outcomes (4 units required):4
Introduction to Geographic Information Systems and Cartography
Principles of Epidemiology
Research Methodology in Health Science
Applied Research Methods
Social Research I
Socio-Economic, Behavioral, and Environmental Factor (8 units required):8
Anthropology of Health, Illness and Healing (if not taken in Core Courses)
Urban Anthropology
Intercultural Communication
Gender, Race and Media
Health Communication
Geography of Social Issues
Introduction to Public Health (if not used as a Core course)
Global Health
Medical Care Organizations
Drug and Alcohol Use and Abuse
Health Psychology (if not used as a Core course)
Community Psychology
Medical Sociology (if not used as a Core course)
Community Action & Policy (4 units required):4
Applied Anthropology and Social Policy
Health Program Planning and Implementation
Organizations in Multicultural and Diverse Societies
Administrative Law
Public and Non-Profit Project Management
The Legislative Process
Political Sociology
Community Organization
Specific Populations (4 units required):4
Asian American Cultures
Latina/os, Media and Culture
United States and Mexico Border Issues
Social Class
Sociology of Race and Ethnicity
Race and Racism
Cultural Adaptation: The Quest for Survival
Capstone Experience2-5
Total Units30-33

Students will complete a “capstone experience” that will integrate and synthesize the health disparities knowledge they gained by completing the certificate coursework. Capstone experience would be supervised and approved by the Certificate Coordinator and Faculty Coordinating Committee. Students will be required to earn 2-5 course credits (minimum of 2 units required) by selecting and completing one of the capstone experiences noted below.

  1. Complete a portfolio that includes the course syllabus and course papers from each of the classes taken for credit and a 10-15 page paper that describes what was learned from these courses and integrates the knowledge into an expertise in health equity and health disparities. Guidelines for the portfolio and more details about the paper are available through the Certificate Coordinator. Students can register for 2 units of independent study credit through an approved instructor to complete the portfolio.
  2. Complete a one-quarter internship (through an already existing internship program in the student’s major) in a setting relevant to health disparities (approved by the Certificate Coordinator). The internship can be completed for 2-5 units of credit (2 units required as a minimum). In most cases, the internship credit can be counted (with approval) for credit within the student’s major as well as for the Certificate. In addition to completing the requirements of the specific department internship, this option also requires a 10-15 page paper describing what was gained from the internship experience and what was learned about health equity and health disparities. Internships must be approved by the Certificate Coordinator prior to beginning the internship.
  3. Complete an approved independent study (between 2-5 units of credit) that results in a paper submitted to a professional or undergraduate journal for publication. Some department’s honors papers might be used to satisfy this option. Students must get approval from the Certificate Coordinator for their plans to complete this option.