Five College Consortium

Public Health and Literature

Subject Name: 
Health Promotion & Policy
Course Number: 
UMass Amherst
This course considers what value do creative works have for advancing public health. Inspired by the concepts of narrative medicine and medical humanism, we will encounter a range of creative texts (e.g., contemporary literary novels, memoirs, film) as paired with scientific and investigative writings to reflect on how creative representations can create and support population health. We will relate life course theory, the social determinants of health, and the intersection of medicine and public health to several of today?s critical health issues including: the long-term health and social effects of childhood adversity; race, ethnicity, and health within the context of historical traumas; geospatial aspects of health epidemics; poverty, chronic pain, and substance abuse; social justice and global health; and the ethics of technological innovations for prolonging life. Readings will include literary works by Don DeLillo, Mary Karr, Emily St. John Mandel, DBC Pierre, and Colson Whitehead, as well as physician memoirs and other writings featuring Edwidge Danticat, Paul Farmer, Atul Gawande, Steven Johnson, Michael Marmot, and Sam Quinones. A primary goal will be to consider these questions: What are the social-ecological conditions that create poor health? How might public health partner with the humanities to promote population health and wellness?
Instructor Permission: 
Permission is required for interchange registration during the add/drop period only.
Schedule #: 

Course Sections

Public Health and Literature
Sect # Credits Instructor(s) Instructor Email Meeting Times Location
01 3.0 Elizabeth Evans TU TH 2:30PM 3:45PM