Department of Health Education

San Francisco State University

HED 455: Community Organizing

Community Organizing in Public Health combines personal experience, a passion for social justice, and the historical context of non-violent social action. An added benefit of the class is increased competency in mass media, interpersonal communication, critical thinking, language arts and civic engagement.  Building a “community identity” among class members and empowerment are course subtexts. Students learn a power analysis that stems from the contributions of African Americans in the civil rights movement; Mexican and Filipino Americans in the farm workers movements; gay/lesbian communities in the fight to stop HIVAIDS; and the contributions of women and youth to the prevention of violence.  The class keeps positive with a focus on solutions as opposed to the usual negative focus on problems.

By the end of the semester students are able to discuss:
1. Foundations and history of community organizing and primary prevention.
2. Social justice, cultural humility, empowerment.
3. Functions of social support & social networks.
4. Principles and practice of non-violence.
5. Ethical dilemmas in health education programs.
6. Community mapping that emphasize visual arts, i.e.: photovoice.
7. Issue selection and leadership development.
8. Media advocacy and media literacy.
9. Globalization, health and human rights.
10. Entering and leaving the community.


HED 290/HH 290:


dancer HED 290 cross listed as HH 290: Promoting Positive Health is a new course taught in the Department of Health Education, San Francisco State University, that brings the body back into the classroom. This personal wellness course uses yoga and dance to guide students through an embodied learning experience to gain physical, mental, spiritual and community health. Health literature compartmentalizes the mind/body nexus and underestimates people’s interdependent connection with each other and with themselves. And yet, there is a way to teach beyond the traditional paradigm of higher education through movement, the language of the body. Innovative visual arts and movement pedagogy is introduced through the cultivation of resiliency. Resiliency is the ability to bounce back from hardship. It is the inner strength shining within that heals and reignites faith within over & over again. Yoga and dance can reduce stress, decrease fatigue, increase self-awareness and bring balance into our lives. Weekly classroom lectures are complemented with movement/stretching, kinesthetic awareness, music, and breathing awareness.


HED 810: Intro to Public Health & Principles of Community Organizing

HED 810 is the gateway course to professional socialization in the Masters in Public Health (MPH) program at SFSU.   According to the Institute of Medicine's report on educating health professionals for the 21 st century, MPH students must be taught an ecological framework that considers health as determined by biology and behavior as well as by the physical, cultural & social environment.  Students shift away from a strict biomedical focus on illness and disease to an explicit language of social justice and human rights. Key assignments are community mapping through ethnographic methods and community based participatory research as well as a group project on Leading Health Indicators. Communication, professional practice, proficiency in language arts and practicing empowerment are course subtexts.

Course Objectives
By the end of the semester students will be able to carry out a community-based public health analysis and apply concepts relating to the:
1. Mission of and political nature of community-based public health.
2. History and foundations of non-violent social action community organizing.
3. Impact of social support, resiliency and social networks on individual and community health.
4. Power analysis of social and economic determinants of the public’s health.
5. Ethical dilemmas in Community Health Education practice and research.
6. Methodology of community diagnosis, community mapping and stakeholder analysis.
7. Media literacy & media advocacy applications of community-based public health
8. Globalization and international CBPH efforts.
9. Health and human rights.
10. Stengths and challenges of group work.

Cultural Competency ~ Cultural Humility
The trilogy of power, oppression and privilege are underscored in this class to make the connections between factors of social inequality and their relationship to health & disease. Therefore, additional cultural learning objectives are to:
- Identify personal value systems & styles for creative expression.
- Understand the need for cultural humilit as a necessary skill for interpersonal group interactions.
- Recognize concerns regarding cultural stereotypes and discuss how to address them.
- Develop a global vision to be effective at the local level from a cross cultural perspective.

HED 845: Training and Educational Process

The classroom is one of the most dynamic work settings precisely because we are given such a short amount of time to do so much. To perform with excellence & grace teachers must be totally present in the moment, totally concentrated & focused.
-bell hooks, Teaching Community (2003)


Education at its best is not just about getting information or getting a job. Education is about healing and wholeness. It is about empowerment, liberation, transcendence, about renewing the vitality of life.

-Parker Palmer, The Courage to Teach (1998)

Course Description
In this graduate seminar students learn the philosophical underpinnings, theoretical approaches, and practical applications of one the most significant aspects of being a health educator: developing trainings and educational frameworks. A significant amount of time is devoted to the study of critical pedagogy, popular education and its applications. In addition student assignments target assessing learners’ needs; developing objectives for trainings and educational interventions; implementing trainings and educational programs; and developing evaluation instruments to ascertain the effectiveness of health education trainings and educational interventions. In essence, the course explores "behind the scenes" of planning educational programs for adults in community settings. Students put concepts to work to see how they operate on a practical level. The class includes guided peer education, lectures, class discussions, activities, guest speakers, and a training group project..


HED 200: Global Health

Global health refers to health problems, issues, and concerns that transcend national boundaries, may be influenced by circumstances or experiences in other countries, and are best addressed by cooperative actions and solutions. This class provides a framework of historical and current forces affecting global health, including: terminology, statistics, human rights, and key international institutions as well as how other parts of the world heal themselves through medicinal food, music, dance, family support, and humor. The class addresses the burden of disease and specific health concerns such as: the environment, maternal and child health, nutrition, infectious and non-communicable diseases, injury, natural disasters, war and migration. By the end of the semester students will develop a personal vision for being a global health leader that emphasizes that health is more than just absence of disease.

Course Objectives Upon completion of this course, students are able to:

1. Define public health in a global context, including the economic, political and cultural factors that influence health outcomes and health care systems.
2. Identify the link between health, power, human rights and a colonial legacy.
3. Explore the relationship between health, culture and traditional health approaches.
4. Analyze how globalization impacts local people’s health.
5. Understand key differences between global health, public health and medicine.
6. Develop a personal vision statement and action plan for being a global health leader.
7. Identify common causes of morbidity and mortality by world region.
8. Identify infectious diseases of global importance, including HIV/AIDS, malaria, and TB, and describe their modes of transmission, symptoms, and methods for prevention.
9. Identify some of the major issues in global nutrition and chronic disease.
10. Explain how water, sanitation, air quality and other aspects of environmental health relate to global health.