University of Washington School of Public Health

WINTER COURSE OFFERING: 2-credit HSERV 556 Tobacco-related Health Disparities and Social Justice


HSERV 556 | Tobacco-related Health Disparities & Social Justice


Tobacco-Related Health Disparities is an online 1-2 credit elective course offered Fall and Winter Quarters. The course is cross-listed in the School of Medicine as FAMED 559. UW graduate students from all schools and departments are encouraged to enroll.

Originally created through a collaboration between the Washington State Department of Health Tobacco Prevention and Control Program, UW Tobacco Studies Program and UW School of Social Work, this online course integrates multiple disciplinary perspectives to address the pressing issue of disproportionate tobacco use and related diseases among marginalized populations.

National and local experts address topics such as:

Differential explanations for tobacco use and possible interventions in groups defined by socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity and sexual orientation
The link between mental illness and smoking
Social stress theory and tobacco use
Acculturation processes and tobacco use,
The genetics of tobacco use

Course website: All course materials, including readings, syllabus, videos and slides, are available on the course website: 

Course description: This seminar series, offered as an online course, will introduce multiple disciplinary perspectives on, potential explanations of, and interventions for health disparities applied to the case of tobacco use and tobacco-related disease. This course is dually relevant for scholars interested in health disparities in general and for those specifically interested in tobacco-related disparities. Why focus on health disparities in the context of tobacco use and prevention? Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability, and death in Washington State, our nation, and the world. Some demographic groups have higher smoking rates than others, and other groups have lower overall smoking rates but may suffer disproportionately from tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. Demographic groups suffering from tobacco-related health disparities include those defined by socioeconomic position, race or ethnicity, disability, geographic location, sexual orientation, gender identity, and age. This course may be of particular interest to those who seek to study health disparities, as much of the literature covered is directly relevant to understanding other forms of health-related inequities. Local and nationally-known researchers and clinicians have contributed to the presentations that students will view throughout the course.