Activist Courses

While there is a long history of health activism in the U.S., attempts to actually teach the techniques of health activism have been relatively limited. On this website, we collect course materials from a number of courses in medical and public health schools around the country that seek to teach students the techniques of research-based health activism. Several of these courses are based on a course taught by Dr. Peter Lurie to University of Michigan undergraduates in 1997-1998. In this course, students had to develop a research protocol, collect and analyze the data and present it in a format likely to affect public policy, such as a press conference or journal article. Other courses focus on the development of protocols, but not on the collection of the data, which it is hoped will occur in another setting. A final type of course involves a series of guest lecturers speaking about their experiences in health activism. Some of these courses are no longer offered, but are presented here as models for others to emulate.

This work was funded first by a grant from the Medicine as a Profession Program of the Open Society Institute and now by the Irene Diamond Fund. Small grants are available to sustain research-based activism courses that are part of the network.

For more information contact:
Sidney Wolfe, M.D.
Health Research Group at Public Citizen



Sample Syllabus for a Semester CourseUniversity of Michigan - undergraduate (no longer offered)

Sample Syllabus for a Six Week CourseGeorge Washington University School of Public Health & Health Services (no longer offered)

Slide Show: Starting an Activist Course at Your School