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Health Science Notes EXAM REVIEw

Health Sciences
Course Code
HS 1002A/B
Jessica Polzer
Study Guide

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Health Science Notes-Midterm-Final Exam
[Class 14]
Exploring the links between racism & health
What kinds of social inequalities or hierarchies influence health status?
SES (Social economic status)
o Traditionally and generally makes have greater access to power and resources than females
o Example: work required to do subsistence forming and to raise children is defined as “unproductive
o ‘gender paradox’ men die quicker but women are sicker
Marilyn Waring: “female work is seen as unproductive and is not included in the macro-economy”
How much time each gender actually works and how they use their time
Women tend to multitask
RECAP of FILM: “The difference between us”
Central message: Race is a “social construction”
Not biologically based (biology neglects to see the differences)
Race categorizes people socially
Used as a tool to explain differences between groups
They become “naturalized” ex: “ it is natural that African Americans are better athletes”; or “boys will be
o Naturalization: makes it seem like everyone has a role in the world and if you don’t go by the traditional
values, you are an outcast
Health Immigrant Effect: immigrants initially have better health but the longer they live in the US; the worse their
wealth becomes
Racial Inequalities in Health
Health outcomes also vary by ethnicity or “race”
Most studied is between African Americans & White Caucasian/European people
African men die 5.1 x as likely to die sooner than white men in the U.S.; and African women are 4.3 x as likely to
die sooner than white women
People in Harlem are less likely to live over the age of 65 than those in Bangladesh
The Intersection of race and class as determinants of health
Race and class intersect to produce particular health outcomes
Health difference b/w ethnic groups often persist even after socioeconomic factors are taken into account
Changes overtime; racial gradient
o African Americans do more poorly than their white counterpart (at a population P.O.V.)
Which is more important, race or class?
o Race is a more fundamental determinant than class (even after SES is taken into account)

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Intersectionality: examines how gender, race & socioeconomic inequality (class) intersect to produce particular kinds of
health inequities
Race, Class & Infant Mortality:
Trend: African Americans who have the same education as everyone else or more STILL have higher infant mortality
USUALLY, as education level increases, infant mortality decreases
Race: a social & political construct that is used to distinguish between different groups of people and rank them on the
basis of their physical characteristics (ex: skin colour)
An enduring social category that captures differential access to differential acts and power in society
It is not either race or class; it is how the socioeconomic class and race intersect
How does being economically disadvantaged affect racism? And how does it affect health?
-being economically disadvantaged doesn’t affect racism, it just ADDS on; it affects health because you are doubly
Biology & Race
NO biological basis
Genetic observations cannot account for the systematic differences between racial groups
Genetic variation does not correspond to differences in what we have come to understand as “race” > “the
difference between us
THERE ARE NO traits, not a single gene, that are found in all members of one population yet absent in others
Race: A political construct
The construction of the idea of race is influenced by: Politics and economics
Before slavery, it was religion which distinguished people. Christian people were the superior ones

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After slavery, white Americans were seen as the most superior groups, the Indian American were in the middle while the
African Americans were on the bottom.
1904 St. Louis World’s Fair
Exhibits of “primitive” races to justify racist policies
o Primitive: one that lacks cultural or economic sophistication/importance
It’s ok to be racist to black people, because they are just primitives
o The “salt gene” is what makes their health bad WRONG
St. Louis World’s Fair: celebrated the centennial of the 1803 Louisiana Purchase; an agricultural, trade and
scientific exhibition
o They put people from countries they have colonized on display
What is Racism?
Racism: Sets of beliefs and practices that assert the superiority of one racial group over another
An organized system based on an ideology of inferiority; categorizes ranks, and differentially allocates societal
resources to socially defined “races”
Structural racism operates at an institutional level and involves processes and policies that favour dominant
Community tends to take the “path of least resistance”- resistance is a metaphor for personal effort or
confrontation. These are shaped by societal norms. If everyone else in the social system discriminates, certain
groups of individuals… then that means everyone else in the society would.
HOW does it get under the skin?
Affects SDH through processes of social exclusion & by perpetuating inequitable distribution of opportunities
and resources (ex: jobs, education, income, safe neighbourhood etc)
o Residential segregation affects population health both directly and indirectly
o What processes identify how residential segregation affects Health? (Smedley et al pp.7-10)
o Has effect on:
Social exclusion
Economic opportunity
Healthy “choices: availability of safe green spaces; otherwise limited to indoor activities
Environmental hazards: once poverty is concentrated (external-air population) & (internal-
within house)
Ex: lead base paint hurts children
What are the other 5 aspects of population in health identified by Smedley et al (2008)?
Smedley, pg. 6
Influences how people are treated, what resources and jobs are available to them, where they are likely to live,
how they perceive the world, what environmental exposures they face, and what chances they have to reach
their full potential. These, promote or constrain opportunities for health.
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