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Social Determinants of Health




Admissions requirements



Vulnerable and socially disadvantaged people suffer more from diseases and have a shorter lifespan on average than people in higher social positions. These health inequalities are a result of the circumstances in which people born, grow, live, work, and age (i.e. social determinants of health).
These circumstances are shaped by political, social, and economic measures. In order to decrease health inequalities it is seems necessary to involve the political, social and economic sectors. During this course we will explore the interactions between social determinants and health and discuss the role public health workers can play in reducing health inequalities

Course objectives

After this course students will be able to:

  • describe how to measure health inequalities

  • explain how health inequalities develop.

  • explain what social determinants are and how they influence health.

  • evaluate interventions and policies to reduce health inequalities

  • describe the underlying assumptions and elements required for the development of an intervention aimed at reducing health inequalities


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Case studies
Student presentations


Written Individual assignment 20%
Written group assignment 30%
Individual Exam 30%
Presentations 10%
In class participation 10%


There will be a Blackboard site available for this course. Students will be enrolled at least one week before the start of classes.

Reading list

  • Davidson, Alan. Social determinants of health A comparative approach Oxford University Press, 2014.

  • Closing the gap in a generation WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/43943/1/9789241563703_eng.pdf

  • “Fair Society, Healthy Lives” – Final report of Strategic review of health inequalities in England post-2010

Other materials TBC.


This course is open to LUC students and LUC exchange students. Registration is coordinated by the Curriculum Coordinator. Interested non-LUC students should contact course.administration@luc.leidenuniv.nl.


  • Kirsten Langeveld k.langeveld@lumc.nl

  • Vera Nierkens v.nierkens@lumc.nl