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 EPI 222

Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities: What Every Researcher Needs to Know
EPI 222 Winter 2019 (1 or 2 units)


All human subjects research requires consideration of the diverse influences and contexts affecting people’s behaviors and health-related outcomes. In order to conduct high-quality research in diverse populations, all researchers should grasp concepts such as race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and cultural contexts, including how these factors affect the development of research questions, data collection and analysis, and dissemination of research findings. Understanding these concepts is critical both for researchers who are primarily interested in the influence of race/ethnicity, socioeconomics status, and culture on health and also any researcher for whom these constructs may confound or interact with his/her primary area of interest. This knowledge base is therefore relevant to virtually every researcher who works with human populations.

Through taking the 5-week, 1-unit course, researchers will learn about the socioecological model of health and how to incorporate this framework into their research, thereby deepening their ability to perform high-quality research with relevance to diverse populations. Researchers enrolled in the 10-week, 2-unit course will cover more advanced material related to the conduct of health disparities research for those specifically interested in understanding the causes of and solutions to inequalities in health by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status.

At the end of the 1-unit course, scholars will be able to:

  • Identify the meaning and measurement of race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status and other core concepts;
  • Understand a multi-level and longitudinal framework for influences on health in diverse populations; and
  • Describe the essential role of community engagement when conducting research with diverse populations.

In addition, scholars enrolled in the 2-unit course will be able to:

  • Understand the application and relevance of different study designs to health disparities research;
  • Incorporate a rigorous approach to measurement in research in diverse populations;
  • Apply analytic methods to the study of health disparities; and
  • Recognize current debates and areas of uncertainty, as well as priority areas of research, in health disparities research.

View the Course Introduction video for a further description of course objectives and logistics.


Designing Clinical Research (EPI 202). Exceptions to this prerequisite may be made with the consent of the Course Director, space permitting.


Course Directors:

Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo, MD, PhD, MAS
email: kirsten.bibbins-domingo@ucsf.edu
phone: 415-514-8159

Christine Dehlendorf, MD, MAS
email: christine.dehlendorf@ucsf.edu
phone: 415-206-8712


Maria Glymour, ScD, MS

Irene Yen, PhD, MPH
email: irene.yen@ucsf.edu


Course content will be delivered through weekly interactive lectures. These will take place on Tuesdays from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM, Jan. 8 to Feb. 5 for the 1-unit course and Jan. 8 to Mar. 19 for the 2-unit course. An optional online discussion section will be held on Tuesdays, 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM.

All course materials will be posted on the course's online syllabus. View the Course Introduction video for a further description of course objectives and logistics. 


Grades will be based on homework assignments.

Students not in full-year TICR Programs who satisfactorily pass all course requirements will receive, upon request, a Certificate of Course Completion.

UCSF Graduate Division Policy on Disabilities


This course is sponsored by the Training in Clinical Research (TICR) Program, and space is limited. Preference is given to UCSF-affiliated personnel. We regret that auditing is not permitted.

A limited number of scholarships are available to interested individuals who are not able to afford the course tuition. Please contact christine.dehlendorf@ucsf.edu for more information.

To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Please see our fees page for cost information. The deadline for application is December 21, 2018. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.

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