MEDSCI 101G Environmental Threats to Human Health

MEDSCI 101G | Open | Semester Two 2024 | City Campus | 15 points


Our environment sustains our lives but at times threatens our health. These threats may occur naturally, or arise from damage we have inflicted on the environment. This course considers health impacts of climate change, pollution, lifestyle choices, poverty and affluence, workplace hazards, emerging infectious diseases, and dangers affecting cancer risk.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Explain how our well-being is dependent on goods and services provided by our environment such as the impact of pollutants, pathogenic microbes, technological changes and environmental influences. 
  2. Evaluate the health effects of components in our environment, including some uncertain or controversial ones like pollutants that act as hormones, altered exposure to microbes, the use of antibiotics and tanning clinics.
  3. Develop a mindset that fosters health: valuing our environment even when we can't place a fiscal value on it; coping with high temperatures (a challenge especially in cities), maintaining a good diet and good microbes in our bodies; minimising risk of certain infections and cancers.
  4. Explain the basis of certain diseases and how to deal with uncertainty. For example, how smoking causes heart disease; how alcohol damages the liver; how modern lifestyle favours obesity.
  5. Apply their knowledge to the understanding of health issues to effectively communicate on concepts like ecosystem services, cytokines, inflammation, meaning of 'CRP' in a blood test and choosing a healthy diet.

Student Feedback

In response to the question 'What was most helpful for your learning?' students wrote:

'Learning about the body and how environments affect it.'

'Museum visit was great! It was interesting to see examples of what was taught in class.'

'Lectures were very informative  – learnt so much from them. Workbooks given out on day one very helpful. Lectures were great.'

'The assignments helped my understanding and were especially interesting because of their relevance today. The museum trip also helped a lot to put everything in perspective.'

'The lecture handout notes were VERY helpful, they made it easier to focus on the content/flow of the lecture without having to worry about unknown scientific terms/models. Clear visual diagrams simplifying the complex ideas were also very helpful in gaining a better understanding.'

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