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Health Sciences 1002A/B Study Guide - Final Guide: Biomedical Model, Health Promotion, Improved Sanitation

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

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Social Model of Health 10/29/2012 1:48:00 PM
Key Concepts
Ideology of Individualism
Lifestyle explanations rooted in ideology of individualism
Ideology a set of beliefs
A period of cultural transition in Europe, their work shifted a lot
from religion to someone who could direct their own futures.
Religion took on less value on a way of everyday life, people could
guide their own lives
People live longer in richer counties
Countries with the best health care live longer (example Cuba is a
poor country, however they have good health care, therefore they
live longer)
Depending on your location, women tend to live longer than men
due to war and conscription circumstances
Individual perspective on health
Health is not as self evident as it might seem. Perspectives depend
on our background education or training. Someone with a specific
health problem or affected by a problem may look differently at it
than someone without one
o if something has never been an issue for you it may be
difficult for you to understand where someone is coming
from. Every persons perspective is biased as a result of what
that person has gone through
Perspectives have limits and boundaries
Social perspective on health
Sociological ways of thinking recognizes
o Limitations of individualist explanations (of health)
o Dynamic relationship between individuals (and their
behaviours) and social systems
In our culture, health is a primary factor. If you do things that are
unhealthy, that is considered bad
Social perspective focuses on
o Social systems and social conditions
o Health of groups and populations

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o Relationships between macro-level social structures and
micro-level experiences of health
Challenges us to be critical; that is, to:
o Consider what we know about health
o Create new ways of understand health
o Create new strategies to enhance opportunities for health and
wellbeing for everyone
There are various ways to act that are acceptable, and ways that
are not. In order to be critical we have to think about what we
know about health and create new ways of understanding it
Root causes of illness and suffering are in social arrangements and
In order to understand current trends in health, we need to know
about more than biology or genetics, and more than individual
Social Model of Health 3 components according to Germov + Hor.
o Social productions/distribution of health and illness
o Social construction of health and illness
o Social organization of health care
Social determinants of health
o Rooted in social perspective on health
o Broadly speaking, factors that affect the chances people will
have to live healthy lives
o A multi-disciplinary field of study that involved examining the
social, political, economic and cultural forces and factors that
influence the health and potential wellbeing of groups and
Negative vs. positive definitions of health
There is not a distinct definition of health. Explanations of health
vary across cultures and over time
Roots in the Greek word “holos” which means “whole”
Hippocrates described health as “a condition in which the functions
of the body and soul are in harmony with the outside world”
Public Health and Social Medicine

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Public health focuses on policies, programs and services designed to
keep citizens health and improve quality of life
Epidemiology the statistical study of patterns of disease in the
Biomedical model of health
By the late 1800’s germ theory of disease took hold
Cause of disease is located within the body
This model of health became dominate by the early 1900s
This is when medicine as a profession began to take off because
germs were not in the environment but in the body
Biomedical model of health defining features
o Specific etiology specific cause for specific disease, tied with
the idea of the ability to see in the body, pathogens observed
through microscopes. However, when perspective is so
microscopic the view gets obscured
o Machine metaphor the individual body is seen as a machine
both in medical textbooks and pop culture (example food is
digested like a conveyer belt)
o Mind-body dualism/Cartesian completely separated from
mental and spiritual. Mind/body are distinct substances, must
be treated very different. The human body is just a physical
Limitations of the biomedical model
o Fallacy of specific etiology specific cause or origin for each
specific disease
o Objectification to machine metaphor
o Reductionism and Biological Determinism the belief that all
illnesses can be explained and treated by reducing them to
biological factors
o Victim Blaming lifestyle choices and factors
o Iatrogenesis means that there are new problems that are
generated/produced by biomedical intervention (example
chemo kills off pathogens but makes you lose your
hair/causes physical pain)
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