nl en



Admission requirements

Health and health behaviour & Fundamentals


In disadvantaged populations accumulations of risk factors interact with complex social problems leading to excessive burdens of disease. Alternative approaches are needed that do not separate diseases from the contexts in which they develop. A syndemic refers to the clustering and synergistic adverse interaction (biological, social or behavioral) of two or more health-related problems increasing the health burden of affected populations. Contextual and social factors create the conditions in which two or more health conditions cluster. In syndemic research and interventions, structural factors such as poverty, stigmatization, and oppressive social relations, are considered causally involved in the pathways to ill health. The identification of a syndemic necessarily leads to multifactorial interventions that also address such structural factors. Syndemic theory has been exponentially applied and further developed in public and global health for a wide diversity of topics. In this course students will gain knowledge of syndemic theories and how to operationalise these in research and interventions.

The programme has a solid structure consisting of various elements. It starts with a specialized online course in which students will work in groups in developing a mixed-method design to study a potential syndemic of their own choice. In the face-to-face week they will actively collect and/or analyse quantitative and qualitative data regarding a syndemic and translate findings to recommendations for policy and interventions.

Course objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, you should be able to:

  • To describe the core characteristics of a syndemic and explain the differences between a syndemic and a co-morbidity approach.

  • To identify disease clustering, mechanisms of interaction (disease-disease and disease-context) and core epidemiological data needed for a syndemic analysis

  • To understand how qualitative approaches may explain causal pathways to syndemic processes at the individual and population level.

  • To develop a design for a mixed methods research into syndemic processes

  • To write recommendations for further research into and for interventions to tackle syndemic processes


The timetable is published on the LUMC roostersite (scheduling website)or can be found via the LUMC scheduling app.

Mode of instruction

  • Lecture

  • Group work

  • Online education

Assessment method

Students are assessed according to the following three obligatory components

Week 1-2 – Online:
20% Peer review assessment

Week 3 – On Campus:
30% Group presentation:

Week 4 – Final week:
50% Final assignment
All components together make up the grade for the course. It is compulsory to participate in each of the components in order to receive a grade
Details on the assessment can be found in the assessment plan on Brightspace
A minimum result of 5,5 for the overall assessment is required to pass.
If the result is less than 5,5 or if the student didn’t participate in one of the components, the student is given the opportunity to resit the assessment as one assignment that covers all the learning goals of the course.

A final grade of 5,5 minimum is considered sufficient.

Reading list

The reading list can be found on Brigthspace. These are given as presentations and pdf files. There is no need to purchase literature, as the presented material is not commercialized.


Registration must be done via uSis at the latest 5 days before the start of the course. Registration in uSis gives you automatic access to the course in Brightspace.



This course is a combination of online ecucation and on campus education at Leiden University Campus The Hague.