The Department of Criminal Justice and the Public Health Program are pleased to offer students the opportunity to enroll in a course taught by Criminal Justice and Public Health Scholar-in-Residence Abdul El-Sayed, M.D., DPhil.

Wellbeing + Public Policy: Issues & Concepts (CRJ 5995/7995 and PH 4600) is limited to 40 students. The class will meet on Wednesdays from 2:30 - 5 p.m. during the fall 2019 semester.

Applications are due by April 19, 2019.  


Course description

We all want to “save lives.” But, in my experience, that’s really hard to do because everybody—to the best of my knowledge—passes away. But ideally, they only do so after a long, healthy, meaningful life. And though we cannot save life, we can prolong life, improve life, and provide for equitable access to a long, healthy, meaningful life.  

In this course, we explore contemporary topics in human wellbeing. Through this frame, we think about how modern systems of healthcare, criminal justice, public health, housing, air and water, and food shape access to a long, healthy life for Americans. This course is designed with two complementary components: first, the lecture portion, open to the public, will feature conversations with imminent experts on critical issues we discuss in the course. In the small group discussion, we will explore these issues in more depth leveraging the wisdom and debate of everyone in the course.  
This course is not required for any major or course of study. Rather, it is designed to engage learners who are truly interested in different ideas with relevance to their chosen fields of study and in the public discourse.

Learning objectives

  1. Understand the tradeoffs between efficiency and equity in public policy 
  2. Understand how political discourse shapes the possibilities of public policy
  3. Articulate the basic contours of the healthcare and public health system
  4. Understand critical public policy debates in criminal justice
  5. Articulate the role that inequality plays in shaping public policy
  6. Understand the forces that shape governance for air, water, and food systems
  7. Converse with knowledge about contemporary social and political reforms shaping healthcare, criminal justice, water rights, climate change.
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