Unit 3: Vulnerable Population and Health Disparties

The third unit, Vulnerable Populations and Health Disparities, emphasizes a diversity of populations, their environments, and associated health issues. This unit allows students to understand the historical, socioeconomic and cultural dimensions of these groups, to speak persuasively about their human dimension, and to care about particular issues related to the natural and built environment from which to craft health prevention and intervention approaches. Three weeks are devoted to teaching this unit.

Learning Goals

Human Dimensions. Learn about oneself and the context in which others operate to better integrate that understanding when evaluating differing built environments, socioeconomic positions, social and cultural backgrounds, and health status. Caring. Adopt new feelings, interests or values based on issues addressed throughout the semester.

Unit Topics

  • Principles of Community Engagement, Second Edition (NEW ADDITION)
  • The Protocol for Assessing Community Excellence in Environmental Health (PACE EH) (NEW ADDITION)
  • Lifelong Communities: A Framework for Planning (NEW ADDITION)
  • Vulnerable Populations (the poor, children, women, the elderly, the disabled, and minorities) and Health Disparities
  • Mental Health
  • Social Capital
  • Environmental Justice

Suggested Readings

Books (select chapters)

  • Frumkin H, Frank L, Jackson R. Urban sprawl and public health: designing, planning, and building for healthy communities. Washington DC: Island Press, 2004.
  • Kawachi I, Berkman LF. Neighborhoods and health. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Morris M, Duncan R, Hannaford K, et al. Integrating planning and public health. Chicago: APA Planning Advisory Service, 2006.


In- and Out-of-class Assignments

  • Debates
  • Newspaper op-ed article or radio perspective
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Atlanta, GA 30332

The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse was supported by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's Office of the National Prevention Strategy and Healthy Community Design Program and made possible through additional support from the American Public Health Association, the National Network of Public Health Institutes, and the American Planning Association's Planning and Community Health Research Center. Interested in adding to and supporting the Clearinghouse? Contact the Clearinghouse at bephc@gatech.edu.