HIS 109/SAS109: 
Environmental Change, Disease and Public Health

Fall 2017

M/W/F 11:00-11:50;  250  Olson

Professor D. K. Davis, DVM, PhD

Transmission Electron Micrograph of the Ebola virus.  Image source: http://phil.cdc.gov/phil/details_linked.asp?pid=10815

Course Description:

This course analyzes environmental change at multiple scales and how these changes have influenced disease and public health over time.  It takes as a starting point that the “environment” includes not only deserts, mountains, plains, fields and rivers, but also farms, slaughter houses, hospitals and the bodies of humans and animals.  The changes that have taken places in these varied environments have included the obvious like pollution, modern agriculture and irrigation, and the damming of rivers, all of which have impacted various disease states.  These environmental changes also include those at the micro-scale that are not so obvious like creating antibiotic resistance and the conditions for super contamination of large quantities of food with pathogenic organisms such as E. coli 0157:H7 and Salmonella. Furthermore, these transformations may be changing our epigenomes with what we eat, drink and breathe in ways that induce illness.  All of these changes have had complex impacts on human health.  Many of these environmental changes have been driven by human action over the last several millennia.  The pace and scope of such changes and their health effects have become quicker and more pervasive during our era of “globalization.”  It is critical to understand these changes in order to build a more sustainable future for people and the planet.

Anyone interested in environmental change, disease and public health is welcome in this class, from history students to pre-med and pre-vet students!

Fulfills the GE Science & Engineering; Social Science; & Scientific Literacy requirement. 
Prerequisite:  None, but Designed for Upper Division Students

Note:  This is a 10 day drop class. 

Required Books:

1)   Desowitz, R. (1987)  New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers:  Tales of Parasites and Peoples.  W. W. Norton.

2)    Schlosser, E. (2012)  Fast Food Nation.  Mariner. 

3)    Kidder, T. (2009) Mountains Beyond Mountains: The Quest of Dr. Paul Farmer.  Random House.

4)    Markowitz and Rosner (2013) Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children.  UC Press.  

Recommended Books (don't buy yet!):

Carey, Nessa (2013) The Epigenetics Revolution: How Modern Biology Is Rewriting Our Understanding of Genetics, Disease, and Inheritance.              
            Columbia University Press.

Davis, Mike (2005) The Monster at our Door: The Global Threat of Avian Flu. New York: The New Press.  

Garrett, Laurie (2000) Betrayal of Trust: The Collapse of Global Public Health. New York: Hyperion.

Guthman, J. (2011) Weighing In: Obesity, Food Justice, and the Limits of Capitalism.  UC Press.

 Langston, N. (2010) Toxic Bodies: Hormone Disruptors and the Legacy of DES.  Yale University Press.  

Nash, L. (2007) Inescapable Ecologies: A History of Environment, Disease, and Knowledge.  UC Press.

Nestle, M. (2013) Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health.  UC Press. 

Patel, R. (2012)  Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden Battle for the World Food System. Melville House.

Articles and book chapters will compliment the main texts and be available on smartsite or canvas. 

Basis of Grading:
Students will be evaluated based on their performance on quizzes and exams (mid-term & final)
and some written work.
Other assignments may be added.

This Description is Subject to Change