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Life and Death in Charm City: Histories of Public Health in Baltimore, 1750 to the Present

East Baltimore
1st Term
Academic Year
2024 - 2025
Instruction Method
Class Time(s)
M, W, 10:30 - 11:50am
Auditors Allowed
Yes, with instructor consent
Available to Undergraduate
Grading Restriction
Letter Grade or Pass/Fail
Course Instructor(s)
Contact Name
Frequency Schedule
Every Year
Understand race, poverty and injustice in Baltimore through the lens of public health. Provide historical context to present-day public health issues.
Critically explores a range of important topics in the history of public health in Baltimore from the mid-18th century to the present, including: migration and health; sewers and water supply; infectious disease control (for example, tuberculosis and STDs); housing and lead poisoning; rodent control. Recurrent themes are racial inequality, the geography of poverty and the multiple challenges of urban government. Focuses on the city of Baltimore, but the issues discussed are placed in their wider national and international contexts and take into account broad historical developments in the theory and practice of public health.
Learning Objectives
Upon successfully completing this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe a variety of key public health issues in Baltimore between 1750-2000
  2. Discuss and appreciate the historical origins of some of Baltimore’s current public health challenges
  3. Assess the impact of policy interventions on the health of Baltimore’s population
  4. Critically discuss the changing relationship between local, state and federal agencies (governmental and non-governmental) in the formation, implementation and evaluation of public health interventions in Baltimore
  5. Locate, analyze and interpret qualitative and quantitative primary source materials (such as published and unpublished government documents, newspaper reports, maps and images)
Methods of Assessment
This course is evaluated as follows:
  • 30% Midterm Paper
  • 10% Group Presentation
  • 30% Group Project(s)
  • 15% Discussion Board
  • 15% Discussion