Samples Lesson Plans

Sample Lesson Plan 1

Sociology of Health and Medicine

Lesson 1

What is health and health behavior?

  • Desks in a circle
  • Minute of silence—just a chance to clear your head (2 min)
    • Feet flat on the floor, hands flat on the desk, back straight, close your eyes, and just focus on your breathing. This exercise will help us to calm down and focus.
    •  Pitzer programming at Camp
      • Introduce yourselves.
      • Pitzer students have been running programs at Camp since 1999. The programs change depending on the skills and interests of the students and have included gardening, art, theater, and music programs, among others.
    • What is Pitzer?
      • Pitzer is a private college in Claremont, about 15 minutes from here. We are all studying different things feel free to ask us about Pitzer anytime.
    • What is Sociology of Health and Medicine?
      • Sociology of Health and Medicine is a course offered at Pitzer College from which we will be drawing most of our material. Sociology is the study of society or, more specifically, it is the study of the development, organization, functioning, and classification of human societies. Medical sociology is the study of health care as it is institutionalized in a society, and of health, or illness, and its relationship to social factors.
    • What to expect and when will we be here?
      • Every Friday at this time for the next ten weeks (until December 10th – last day)
      • We will be asking you to join us in discussions, workshops, debates, and writing activities that address various health-related topics.
    • The goal of the program
      • The goal of Sociology of Health and Medicine is for us to become better “health consumers”.  In gaining a better understanding of the causes of health and illness, I hope that we will anticipate and reduce our risks through preventative lifestyle choices, detection screenings, and educational community outreach. Additionally, I hope to open up a safe place for everyone to share his or her fears and concerns. I am not oppose to this class becoming a group therapy session.
      • Additionally, as health can be very personal and uncomfortable to talk about. We will always have an anonymous question box (pass out small pieces of paper for the guys to write on throughout the class session). Feel free to write down a question or comment on a piece of paper and place it in the box. The next time we meet we will discuss the question as a class.
      • Moreover, I want everyone to feel comfortable to share their stories with the class so I’m going to ask that we refrain from interrupting, laughing, and criticizing one another. There are no wrong answers. If you disagree with someone, you can say so, but please do so respectfully.
      • Lastly, I want to remind you guys that this program is for YOU guys. We are always receptive to your ideas. If you have an idea you want to teach about or a topic you want us to bring in, feel free to let us know at any point.
  • ICEBREAKER (10 min): Go around the room, say your name, and tell us one healthy and one unhealthy aspect of your life. How you define “healthy” and “unhealthy” is subjective. We will discuss the variety or similarity in answers afterward.
    • Health is not objectively defined, patients and significant others join physicians in actively treating illnesses, social and psychological well-being are (in addition to biological well-being) important aspects of health, and health should be studied as a positive state (not as the absence of a negative state, i.e. disease).
    • Health behavior includes: prevention, detection, promotion, and protection.
  • GROUP ACTIVITY (30 min):
    • Break into groups of three or four. Each group draws an index card that states the name of a disease or illness. Brainstorming as a group, come up with health behaviors (prevention, detection, promotion, and protection) that can aid in minimizing an individual’s risk for disease.
    • If time permits, introduce the concept of sociodemographic characteristics. How might education level, religion, race/ethnicity, gender, etc. play a role in an individual’s health and health behavior?
    • Come back to the big group. Elect a group spokesman/woman to share your groups’ disease/illness and related health behaviors

Sample Lesson Plan 2

What is health and health behavior and how are they affected by sociodemographic characteristics?

The biomedical definition of health is the absence of disease or physiological malfunction.

Four primary assumptions:

  • The presence of disease, its diagnosis, and its treatment are all completely objective phenomena – that symptoms and signs provide accurate and unbiased information from which valid diagnosis can unfailingly be made. However, studies have found that individuals’ cultural background affects not only reaction to symptoms but also how these symptoms are reported to physicians and that the presentation of symptoms can influence diagnosis.
  • Only medical professionals are capable of defining health and illness. In reality, however, both the patient and her or his significant others are involved in the process. While one must not discount the power that society has granted to physicians for defining health and illness, a great deal of diagnosing and treatment occur outside the physician’s office.
  • Health and illness should be defined solely in terms of physiological malfunction. In fact, people are not merely biological beings; they are also psychological and social creatures, and state of health is affected by all three aspects.
  • Health is defined as merely the absence of disease. This focuses attention on the malfunctioning part of the organism but excludes the rest of the positively functioning being. Thus, much may be learned about disease, but little is known about health.

Hence, the World Health Organization (WHO) has defined health to be a state of complete physical, social, and mental well-being.

Originally health behavior was defined as an activity undertaken by an individual believing himself or herself to be healthy for the purpose of preventing health problems. However, there are now four dimensions:

  • Prevention. The goal of preventive health behavior (prevention) is to minimize the risk of disease, injury, and disability. These “health-protective behaviors” include participating in regular exercise, maintaining a favorable weight and healthy diet, not smoking, and obtaining immunizations against communicable diseases.
  • Detection. Detection involves activities to detect disease, injury, or disability before symptoms appear and includes medical examinations (such as taking the blood pressure) or screenings for specific diseases.
  • Promotion. Health promotion activities consist of efforts to encourage and persuade individuals to engage in health-promoting behaviors and to avoid or disengage health-harming behaviors.
  • Protection. Health protection activities occur at the societal rather than the individual level and include efforts to make the environment in which people live as healthy as possible. Doing this involves monitoring the physical and social environments in which people live; physical structures and infrastructures; systems of transportation; available food, air, and water; places of work; and developing social and economic policies that permit and encourage good health.

Social Spheres of Location

How do sociodemographic characteristics of a population (i.e. age, gender, race/ethnicity, education level, income level, marital status, occupation, religion, birth rate, death rate, average size of a family, average age at marriage, etc.) affect the overall health and health behavior of that population?