Week 1

Week 1: Deconstructing Biomedicine and Introducing Five Theoretical Perspectives

  • Reminder: Some of this week’s readings are hosted on MSU Google Drive. These are only accessible using your MSU Google Apps account. When you open the link, you’ll be prompted to select which google account you want to open them with – use your MSU Google Apps account (which requires your regular MSU Net ID and password). If you choose your non-MSU google account, you won’t be able to open the file. Do not request access to the files with your non-MSU Google account.


Part I: Introducing Five Theoretical Perspectives

Part II: Deconstructing Biomedicine


  • Activity post (15 points): 250-500 words, Due Friday, July 6 by 11:59 PM

    This week, I want you to select a country that you will research and write about for the duration of this course. Please provide a general description of the country: Demographic Indicators, Economic Indicators, Women, Education, The Rate of Progress, Disparities By Residence, and Disparities By Household Wealth. You can find this information at UNICEF’s Country Statistics page. To understand the statistics, read the “Definitions and Data Sources” link at the bottom of each block of statistics.

    Please present your data in a narrative form. In other words, please don’t just copy and paste the table or a numbers list, but make us “see” the country through a “story” about the statistics. Point out statistics that surprised you or contradicted what you have heard or read about the country in other places.

    Select a country that interests you and about which you can find information regarding the health issue you are interested in studying this semester. You will be researching and writing about your chosen country and health topic for the next seven weeks, culminating in your final project.  Do a little research before selecting your country and, although you do not need to post about your health issue until next week, make sure there is enough information on it from other sources to fulfill the requirements for the final blog post.

    I will accept information from news media sources, but you must triangulate the information from three separate news sources, one of which is foreign or a foundational source (i.e. a UN program report or an academic journal article). So, for example, if I am doing my final post on educating girls in Senegal and I want some current information on it, I might look at Voice of America, CNN, and, in this case, because I could not find a foreign news source, I used the United Nations Girls Education Initiative.

  • Blog post (15 points): 500-700 words, Due Friday, July 6 by 11:59 PM

    Write about a first-hand medical event in which you can comment about the positive and negative aspects you have encountered in dominant American biomedicine or in another medical system you have encountered. “First-hand” can mean something that has happened to you or to a family member or close friend that has had an impact on you. Remember that your classmates might read these, so if you are choosing between a few stories, choose the story you don’t mind being public.

  • Blog comment (15 points): 150-200 words, Due Sunday, July 8  by 11:59 PM

    Please comment on another class member’s blog post.  Pick a person who had a different kind of medical experience from you. Rather than criticize, think of questions you might ask and evidence you might share that is relevant to their personal story. Are there insights you can apply from this week’s readings and video?

  • Profile Display Name

    **Please change your profile to display your name so we can have a better idea of who we’re talking to! Go to the right hand upper corner and hover over your name -> edit my profile -> fill in your name and make sure “display name publicly as” has your name in the box. (You can also add a profile photo by following the link to the Gravatar site.)

  • OPTIONAL Introductory Post (15 points of extra credit!): 150-200 words, Due  Monday, July 9 by 11:59 PM

    Introduce yourself to me and your classmates in 150-200 words. Include your year in school, major, where you’re from, what you like to do outside of school, a fun fact about yourself, and one thing you hope to learn about in this class.


Blog Grading

All three types of weekly posts are are worth 15 points. A satisfactory post meets all the criteria listed below, and will receive 15 points. You can assume you have full points for the post UNLESS:

1. You did not do the post/comment before the deadline (- 15 points)
2. You did not “publish” the post and only saved it as a draft. Since I and your classmates will not be able to see your post if you fail to publish it, this counts as if you did not turn it in.  (-15 points)
3. Your post/comment did not adequately address the questions in the prompt (-5 to -15 points)
4. Your post/comment was under the required word length (-5 points)
5. You did not title and/or categorize the post with the name of the assignment, e.g. Week 1 Blog Post (-5 points)