This course will examine the strengths and limitations of the U.S. health care system, including health indicators and the state of health care delivery in the United States, with selective international comparisons. The role of the public and private sectors in health care and health policy will be presented, with special attention to the financing of health care and the role of the government in health care. The course will focus on the organization of services (i.e., public health, prevention/ promotion services, primary care, acute care, chronic care, and long-term care). Alternative and complementary medicine and services will also be examined. The pharmaceutical and medical devices industries will be examined, as will the health care workforce. Access to care, utilization, and quality of care will be covered. A major focus of the course will be on disparities in health care and on health care for the underserved, including racial/ethnic minorities, women, sexual minorities, and the poor. The role of social workers in health care will be addressed throughout.


Please view the course schedule for current advisory and/or enforced prerequisites.

Program Year



Course Number

SW 634

Course Name

Health Care Policies and Services

Practice Area / Category