Core Courses

WGH 211 Gender and Health: Introductory Perspectives

Dr. Brittany Charlton

2.5 credits – Fall 1, Fridays

This course will introduce students to gender as a theoretical concept and a category of analysis in public health-that is, the way gender has contributed to deferentially structuring women and men’s experiences of health. The course aims to answer such questions as: How has gender influenced the construction of public health in diverse societies? How do our social frameworks and structures, such as gender, affect people’s experiences and expectations of health?

This course is designed for students who wish to enhance their understanding of, and skills to address, the social and cultural factors that have influenced the development of individual’s and societal health. The interfaces among gender, class, race/ethnicity and sexuality will also be emphasized.

The course will cover a broad range of health issues for which gender has been of special importance. Topics to be covered include: reproductive health, sexual health and sexuality; violence; occupational health and work; chronic and communicable disease. Issues relating to the distribution of health, disease and well-being, including policy, will be addressed across sessions. Additionally, sessions will include international, domestic, and historical perspectives, with attention paid to both epidemiologic research and policy dimensions.

WGH 201  Reproductive Health, Rights, and Justice

Dr. Elizabeth Janiak

2.5 credits – Fall 2, Thursdays

This interdisciplinary course will explore the politics of reproductive health and health care delivery, both in the US and globally, with a particular focus on how reproduction and related clinical care are shaped by and in turn shape social inequality along axes of race, gender, and social class. The course will intertwine three threads: 1) major conceptual and theoretical issues foundational to understanding the politics and epidemiology of reproduction; 2) contemporary and historical perspectives on specific reproductive phenomena and events (preventing pregnancy, terminating pregnancy, sustaining pregnancy, and giving birth); 3) social movements organized around reproductive health (e.g. anti-abortion, reproductive justice movements).

WGH 230 The Health of Transgender and Gender Diverse People

Dr. Sari Reisner

2.5 credits – Fall 2, Fridays

The goal of this course is to introduce students to transgender and gender diverse (TGD) public health, an emerging multidisciplinary field focused on the health and wellbeing of TGD adults (also referred to as gender minorities). Students will acquire foundational knowledge to understand and address the health and wellbeing of TGD people including: terminology, history of TGD health and medicine, and information about the make-up of who TGD communities; concepts, theories, and frameworks guiding TGD health; global epidemiological research on physical and mental health morbidity and mortality; health inequities/disparities and determinants of TGD population health; best practices in research methodologies such as measurement/operationalization of gender identity and community engagement methods; issues in healthcare access and utilization, including models of TGD care; evidence-based prevention and intervention strategies; law, policy, and advocacy considerations; and current controversies and scientific debates. Readings and discussion will incorporate the multiple contexts that influence the lives and health and wellbeing of TGD populations (e.g., social, cultural, structural, political, and legal). The course takes an intersectional approach, emphasizes strengths and resiliencies, and brings in a human rights perspective.

WGH 250 Embodying Gender: Public Health, Biology, And The Body Politic

Dr. Nancy Krieger

2.5 credits –  Winter Session

This course will focus on constructions of gender and sex and their implications for understanding determinants of population health and creating healthy public policy. It will consider how different frameworks of addressing gender and biological sex shape questions asked and explanations and interventions offered for societal patterns of health, disease, and well-being. The course will demonstrate ways of conceptualizing gender in relation to biology and health using case examples pertaining to breast cancer, smoking, cumulative trauma disorders of hands and wrists, HIV/AIDS, violence, access to health services, sexual health, reproductive health, and population policy. In all these cases, issues of gender will be related to other social determinants of health, including social class, racism, and other forms of inequality. Implications of diverse approaches will be debated, as part of developing useful strategies for improving physical, mental, and social well-being of women and men.

WGH 220 Sexuality And Public Health

Dr. S. Bryn Austin

2.5 Credits – Spring 1, Thursdays

This course provides an introduction to the breadth of research and research methods in the study of sexuality and sexual health promotion in diverse contexts and populations. Students will develop skills needed to carry out epidemiologic research and community-based interventions related to sexual health promotion. Students will be introduced to ways to integrate conceptual models, methodologies, and perspectives from a variety of fields to inform a unique transdisciplinary, holistic approach to public health promotion of sexual health. Class session format includes lectures, discussions, case studies, individual and group presentations, and in-class writing assignments.

Check out Dr. Austin’s published article about this course!

WGH 210 Women, Gender, and Health: Critical Issues in Mental Health

Dr. Elizabeth Boskey

2.5 credits – Spring 1, Mondays & Wednesdays

This course explores issues relevant to mental illness, mental health from a gender perspective. Course themes include illness constructs, life cycle and transitions, collective and individual trauma, role and relationship and embodiment. Topics include eating disorders, pain, hormonally mediated mood disorders, and PTSD. Examples highlight US and international experience. Readings are multidisciplinary, including public health and medicine, social sciences, history and literature.

WGH 207 Advanced Topics in Women, Gender, and Health

Dr. Sabra Katz-Wise

1.25 credits – Spring 2, Wednesdays

This interdepartmental, interdisciplinary seminar will offer the chance to analyze ways by which diverse constructs of gender influence public health research and practice. Using different examples each week, the core WGH faculty and students will focus on how gender contributes to classifying, surveying, understanding and intervening on population distributions of health, disease, and well-being. Discussion of these examples will draw on different disciplines, conceptual frameworks, and methodological approaches (both quantitative and qualitative). For example, traditional epidemiological and biostatistical methods, along with multilevel, ecosocial, and health and human rights frameworks will be applied, as appropriate, in the assessment of gender-based health related disorders. The format will include formal presentations and informal discussions.  For published case examples that have been created in this course, click here.

Check out the paper published about this course! (download link)

Calzo JP, Katz-Wise SL, Charlton BM, Gordon AR, Krieger N. Addressing the dearth of critical gender analysis in public health and medical pedagogy: an interdisciplinary seminar to generate student-created teaching examples. Crit Public Health. 2019; 29(1):18-26. View abstract

WGH 300 Independent Study

WGH Faculty

Time and credit to be arranged.

An opportunity for independent study is offered for interested and qualified students or small groups of students. Arrangements must be made with individual faculty members and are limited by the amount of faculty time available. These programs are open to all students who wish to go beyond the content of regular courses.

Course Note: May count up to 2.5 credits toward WGH core, and 2.5 credits toward the Women’s Health and/or Gender Analysis component. If WGH 300 is taken with a non-WGH faculty member, approval must be granted before the course is to begin.

Last Updated: August 10, 2023