Advanced Concepts and Methods in Research on Health Disparities and the Social Determinants of Health

EPI 223 Spring 2020 (2 units)
Course Director: Christine Dehlendorf, MD, MAS
Associate Professor
Department of Family and Community Medicine


The relationship of social determinants to health outcomes, and the widespread and persistent existence of disparities in health, is receiving increasing attention in public health, clinical care and research. The methodologic approaches used by those interested in understanding and addressing health disparities are diverse — ranging from research on the impact of policy, to research on health care disparities, to genetic studies. Those involved in conducting research in this area require an understanding of the spectrum of methods used in order to inform their work and to contextualize their own projects in the landscape of health disparities research. This course will use guided discussion of seminal and illustrative papers to provide a conceptual background on research on health disparities and the social determinants of health and to examine methods used in this discipline.

At the completion of this course, scholars will be able to:

  • Understand core conceptual theories explaining the root causes of health disparities and the critical role of measurement;
  • Identify the range of methods used to investigate health disparities, including community-based participatory research, epigenetic research, multi-level analyses, and health services research; and
  • Critically review published papers addressing health disparities and the social determinants of health, with attention to common challenges in this work.

Social Determinants of Health and Health Disparities: What Every Research Needs to Know (EPI 222).

Statistical coursework equivalent to Biostatistical Methods for Clinical Research II (BIOSTAT 208). Exceptions to this prerequisite may be made with the consent of the Course Director, space permitting.

Course Director:

Christine Dehlendorf, MD, MAS
Phone: 415-206-8712

Lecturers: Maria Glymour, ScD, MS

Meghan Morris, PhD, MPH


Each week, the course will consist of a 2-hour lecture/discussion on Mondays from 1:00 - 3:00 PM, March 30 to June 1. If it is not possible to attend, submission of written answers to discussion questions will be required.

The schedule for the quarter shows dates and times for all activities.


All course materials will be posted on the course's online syllabus


Grades will be based on participation in in-class discussion or, if unable to attend in person, written answers to session-specific questions.

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


To apply for this course, please fill out and submit the application below. Course fees are covered by the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Center for Health And Risk in Minority youth and adults (CHARM). The deadline for application is March 20, 2020. Only one application needs to be completed for all courses desired during the quarter.