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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 4-10

Teaching Women's Health from a Public Health Perspective: Development of an Innovative Undergraduate Course

1 Department of Community and Family Health, Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health (CTR-WH), College of Public Health, University of South Florida, USA
2 Department of Health Education and Promotion, College of Health and Human Performance, East Carolina University, USA
3 Department of Health Education and Promotion, College of Public Health and Health Professions, University of Florida, USA

Correspondence Address:
C A Vamos
Research Assistant Professor, Department of Community and Family Health, Associate Director, Center for Transdisciplinary Research in Women’s Health (CTR-WH), College of Public Health, University of South Florida, 13201 Bruce B. Downs Blvd. MDC 56, Tampa, FL 33612,
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.99192

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Introduction: A review of women's health courses across academic disciplines revealed gaps in addressing the full range of issues that impact women throughout the lifespan. Methods: We designed an undergraduate course in women's health that is taught from a public health perspective, but includes a multidisciplinary approach that addresses health issues across the lifespan. Details related to syllabi, curriculum development, and course delivery are reviewed. Results: Curriculum and topics were developed by reviewing existing women's health courses and identifying strengths and gaps. Course readings are drawn from a textbook, peer-reviewed scientific literature, news/media articles, and popular press. Classes included a mix of lectures, class/group discussions, group activities, videos and/or short media clips, student presentations (individual and group), and invited guest speakers. Of special interest are the innovative and varied student assessments that this course offers and the breadth of knowledge and critical skills that students acquire. Discussion: Although the particular health topics women face may vary by geographic location, the theoretical underpinnings and lifespan approach will stay the same. Students learn health literacy and critical appraisal skills, appreciate the many dimensions of health, and recognize diverse antecedent factors and disparities that influence health. Utilizing this type of course structure, coupled with innovative and flexible student assignments, would be applicable to other courses in any country or setting such as men's, population, or mental health. The presented framework and experiences can facilitate college health professionals in future course development activities and assist in enabling students to be informed health advocates.

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