The course introduces students to philosophical and methodological foundations of empirical research. The knowledge and skills they gain prepare them to be more critical consumers of research information at school, home in the workplace, and community.
Within the 16-week period the course, participants design and implement a research project continually engage in class discussions about the process. Special attention is given to the use of experimental and quasi-experimental designs and their application in psycho-social research.
This course examines several aspects of medicine. First, it examines how the health care system is a social institution with norms and belief systems that may differ in other cultures. Second, the doctor-patient relationship is examined and the concepts of doctor communication, patient adherence, and compliance, in addition to types of health care delivery, are highlighted. Third, behavior and how it affects patient health is examined. Specifically, the course discusses stress, personality, drug and alcohol use, smoking, diet, and pain management as important factors contributing to a person's health. As fewer people die from infectious diseases and more people die from diseases (such as cancer) that may be prevented through a healthy lifestyle, understanding patients' lifestyles outside of the hospital becomes imperative. Overall, the course discusses health and illness within the biopsychosocial model that is replacing the biomedical model in medicine.