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Freshmen Cluster Course

The Poverty and Health in Latin America course is a yearlong course offered as part of UCLA's Freshman Cluster Program and is funded and directed  fully by the UCLA Blum Center. The Poverty and Health in Latin America cluster focuses on helping freshmen develop an understanding of the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age influence their health and access to health care. This course examines health inequities in Latin American countries and communities in a multi-disciplinary approach,  based upon the social determinants of health including sex, race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, poverty, religion, governance, politics, and foreign policies. During the academic year, students in this class learn the conceptual framework of interrelationships between social determinants of health in Latin America and become familiar to the science of health, including epidemiology, environmental health, nutrition, data collection, and assessment methods. Introductory medical public health articles and articles from other fields expose students to current methods of conducting scientific research. The articles form the basis for discussions on basic scientific methodology, uncertainty and related implications of scientific work.

What are Freshman Cluster Courses?
The College's Freshman Cluster Program is a curricular initiative that is designed to strengthen the intellectual skills of first year students, introduce them to faculty research work, and expose them to such "best practices" in teaching as seminars and interdisciplinary study. Clusters are year-long, collaboratively taught, interdisciplinary courses that are focused on a topic of timely importance such as the "global environment," or "interracial dynamics." These courses are taught by some of the university's most distinguished faculty and seasoned graduate students. During the fall and winter quarters, students attend lecture courses and small discussion sections and/or labs. In the spring quarter, these same students enroll in one of a number of satellite seminars dealing with topics related to the cluster theme.

Course Venue:
De Neve Auditorium  

Course Faculty 

Teaching Fellows  

Syllabus topics

  • Multidisciplinary Perspectives on Health in Latin America
  • Geography, Demography, and Linguistics
  • Historical Context: From Antiquity to the Modern Era: Sociological Context:
    Race, Ethnicity, and Identity
  • Cultural Context and Political Science, Shifts to the Left
  • What is Health and How Is It Measured?
  • Behavioral and Biological Factors and Psychosocial Factors
  • Material Circumstances: Living and Working Conditions, Food Availability, etc.
  • Healthcare Systems
  • Poverty/Socioeconomic Position: Education, Occupation, Income
  • How Governance and Macroeconomic Policies Influence Health
  • How Social and Public Policies Affect Health
  • How Migration Impacts Health in Latin America
  • The Impact of Urbanization on Health in Latin America

Available to entering freshmen and transfering students, cluster courses are an option for satisfying general education requirements. Click here to learn more.