Skip to main content

For our second unit, we  move beyond a purely biomedical approach toward health and consider the social determinants of health for a timely exploration of the ways in which health and medicine are unjustly distributed, accessible, etc. for particular populations. Students take on the role of a public health specialist interested in understanding, exposing, and addressing a current or recent problem, disparity, inequity, or other challenge regarding health justice in North Carolina. Students conduct secondary research and (if applicable) primary research on their topic in the context of North Carolina. Students eventually present their research in the form of a miniature academic conference presentation related to health justice. We use UNC’s Paul A. Godley Health Equity Symposium as a model to guide students in choosing their topics, crafting their proposal, and conducting and presenting their research.

In this unit, students enter the scholarly discourse around their chosen topic of inquiry, generating a unique research question, conducting secondary (and possibly primary) research, and synthesizing that research into an academic conference presentation in which they share their unique findings. This experience exposes students to one of the most common methods for disseminating knowledge in both academic and professional discourse communities, both as presenters and as audience members in a formal conference setting, while also allowing students to learn and practice best techniques for oral communication and presentations.

For more information, see the Unit 2 Assignment Prompt, which should be accompanied by the Quick Guide to Interviews and Observations.


And of course, be sure to explore the students’ completed health justice conference presentations. In the drop-down menu for “Categories,” choose “Social Health Sciences: Health Justice Conference Presentations” to access each student’s presentation slide, presentation script, and a longer, more thorough explication of their research, or you can just click here.