Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

Center for Education in Health Sciences

HSIP — Social Sciences and Health Track

The educational mission of this track is to prepare its graduates for scholarly and resaerch careers in three thematic areas: (1) health measurement and application; (2) health promotion & diseasemanagement; (3) mechanisms of health and disease across thelifespan. A cross-cutting emphasis is developing novel methods for characterizing and reducing health inequities in vulnerable populations.

1. Health measurement and application: In order to improve health, we need to be able to evaluate its physical, mental and social aspects across the lifespan.  Health measurement is essential to the provision of patient centered, responsive, evidence-based and cost-effective healthcare.  Track faculty are renowned for leading the national trend toward measuring health from the perspective of people directly affected by a range of physical and mental disorders, i.e., “patient reported outcomes” as well as the development of common metrics and toolkits that transcend disease areas (e.g., PROMIS, Toolbox). Our faculty also have expertise in developmentally-sensitive measurement and novel longitudinal applications.

2. Health promotion and disease management: The burden of disease affects every aspect of our society.  Despite major advances in prevention, early detection and treatment, it is vital to develop novel, evidence-based strategies to prevent and manage major health conditions. Our track faculty are making major contributions to the science of health promotion and disease management which build creatively on the complex and multidimensional nature of the determinants of health and disease and employ the multilevel interventions necessary to reduce morbidity and mortality for diverse individual across the full disease spectrum and the lifecourse.  Our portfolio in this area includes innovative uses of technology to most effectively engage target populations –e.g., social media, web-based behavioral and psychosocial interventions including symptom monitoring and management), and cultural tailoring particularly designed to improve quality of life and health outcomes in disparities populations. 

3. Mechanisms of health and disease across the lifespan: Increasingly, there is recognition of the potent impact of development on disease onset and course, and the intersecting influences of brain, physiology, and behavior on these patterns.  Building on our robust collection of health measurement tools, faculty experts in developmental science, causal modeling, neuroscience, and psychoneuroimmunology have broken new ground in the investigation of these complex and mutually interacting influences on disease patterns.  

Required Courses


Recommended Electives

Social Sciences and Health Track Faculty

Full List of Medical Social Sciences Faculty