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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Winter Session 2020 will run from December 26, 2019 to January 18, 2020, with three-week on-campus classes beginning on January 2, 2020. We will update the Winter Session site in September. If you would like to receive an email when this happens, please join our email list. In the meantime, you may want to browse through the site to get an idea of what we offer.

Practicing Health Equity: Theory and Fieldwork in North Brooklyn

January 3-18, 2019


Students enroll in the two-credit course HE 4901 Practicing Health Equity: Theory and Fieldwork in North Brooklyn.

"Health equity" is the "attainment of the highest level of health for all people," according to Healthy People 2020, a federal program offering a 10-year framework for improving health at national, state, and local. "Achieving health equity requires valuing everyone equally with focused and ongoing societal efforts to address avoidable inequalities, historical and contemporary injustices, and the elimination of health and health care disparities."

Disparities in health outcomes and health care delivery affect disadvantaged groups more adversely in the United States and globally, largely due to inequitable social conditions that include poverty, racism, and poor access to care.

What does this mean in concrete terms? Where should we look for social determinants of health? What conditions and processes is society able to put into place to increase health equity?

This program will help you explore these questions.

Course schedule

Subject to change.

9:00–10:00 a.m.
Attend lectures at Weill Cornell Medicine.

11:00 a.m.–Noon
Participate in reflection seminars.

Noon–1:30 p.m.
Eat lunch as a group and then travel to North Brooklyn.

1:30–4:00 p.m.
Meet with leaders of community-based organizations in North Brooklyn, tour neighborhoods, or visit waste transfer and manufacturing corridors.

4:00–6:00 p.m.
Conduct fieldwork and built-environment observations.

Course materials

All materials will be made available to students online or in hard copy.

Braveman, Paula, Elaine Arkin, Tracy Orleans, Dwayne Proctor, and Alonzo Plough. 2017. What is Health Equity? And What Difference Does a Definition Make? Princeton, NJ: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Beck, Sam. Health Care Culture and Careers. 250-page manuscript.

Beck, Sam. Hipsters, Hispanics, and Hasidim. 120-page manuscript.

NYC Health. 2015. Community Health Profiles: Greenpoint and Williamsburg, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. 2010. A New Way to Talk About the Social Determinants of Health.

Singer, Merrill and Rebecca Allen. 2018. Social Justice and Medical Practice: Life History of a Physician of Social Medicine. Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity. 2017. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity. 2017. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.