Carnegie Mellon University

Grand Challenge First-Year Seminar: Health in Unhealthy Times: Preventing, Managing, and Living with Health Risks

Course Number: 66-132

We live in times when health is a major global concern, whether we worry about the increase in Covid-19 cases, await our immunization, strive to understand the disproportionate impact of the disease on BIPOC populations, or debate mitigation measures—not to mention ongoing concerns with common chronic illnesses such as diabetes, cancer, autoimmune disease, depression, anxiety, etc.. Health, or lack thereof, has always been a critical part of the human experience, and it is fundamentally impacted by different human experiences. This seminar will introduce students to the scientific aspects of health, its political and social determinants, ethical constraints, historical roots, as well as to the cultural and communicative skills required to dialogue about health, make decisions, and engage empathically with others in their health stories. We will read and discuss a broad variety of materials from medical science articles to social psychological experimental reports and personal or literary narratives about health. The course is divided into three components: health and preventative behaviors, managing chronic health challenges, and coping with disruptive health experiences. We believe these components can represent a broad array of interest and engage students on a personal level.

Semester(s): Fall