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Social Determinants of Health




Admissions requirements



Social determinants of health (SDH) are social conditions, factors and systems that place people from different socio-demographic and socioeconomic groups (social class, gender, race/ethnicity, and place of birth) at differential risk of poor health and premature mortality. The course will focus on social and economic determinants of health and will involve active engagement with the environment as we explore causes of and pathways to health and disease.

Course objectives

  • Recognize factors including culture, race/ethnicity, gender, poverty disparities, factors related to behavior change, community, and organizational climate that affect the health of a community.

  • Help develop a collaborative stance toward populations with whom one will work in the field of public health.

  • Apply policy approaches regarding the structure, process and outcomes of health services including the organization, outcomes and accessibility of care.


Once available, timetables will be published here.

Mode of instruction

Guest Lecture(s)
Group presentations


Class participation (10%), Ongoing weeks 1-7
Fishbone diagram (10%) Week 3
Journal Article summary (20%) Week 5
Group Project (30%) Week 7
Final Paper (30%) Week 8


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

  • Social Determinants of Health, Second Edition Edited by Michael Marmot and Richard Wilkinson

  • What the Eyes Don’t See, by Mona Hanna-Attisha


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




This course will start with an understanding of the social determinants of health then focus on the city of Flint, Michigan (USA) as a case study. The author of the book “What the Eyes Don’t See” will guest lecture via Skype; one session will have to occur in the evening to accommodate her schedule. In the last few weeks, we will conduct an exercise designed to assess the physical and social context of various neighborhoods in The Hague and their potential influences on health.