College of Science, Engineering and Technology
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NSU - Norfolk State University
HRP 290 : Syllabus
Phone:   (757) 823-9459 Office:   Room 203 James Bowser Building

African American Health

This course will systemically examine the health problems and health care issues specific to African Americans. Diseases, such as sickle cell, diabetes, hypertension, end stage renal disease and HIV/AIDS, will be examined as they relate to the African American population. Additionally, this course will examine the delivery of health care to the African American community as impacted by health related historical events and the current economic influences.

This course will be taught primarily through the use of lecture followed by classroom discussion. Additionally, students will be assigned projects and papers to further facilitate the understanding, relationship, and critical thinking associated with the concepts presented in class.


This course satisfies the university core Cultural Elective requirement.

At the end of this class, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the health care system as it is organized in the United States today.
  2. List the determinants of health and analyze the social, ethnic and political factors contributing to those determinants.
  3. Discuss the political and economic factors that currently exist that predict changes in the funding, health care needs, and structure of the health care system in the United States.
  4. Describe the process by which systematic paternalism and racism has influenced access and utilization of health care by African Americans.
  5. Examine the Tuskegee Syphilis Study and the current quality care issues for African Americans.
  6. For each of the diseases discussed, describe the symptoms, cause, treatment, prognosis, and implications for African Americans.
  7. Describe the various models of community health care being utilized in the United States to provide access to undeserved African Americans.

Textbook:      Laviest, T. A. (Ed) (2002) Race, Ethnicity and Health, Jossey-Bass: San Francisco.


    Unit I: Overview of the Health Care System in the United States
    1. Brief History of Health Care
    2. Changes in Health Care Cost
    3. Changes in Health Care Funding
    4. Determinants of Health
    5. Future of Health Care Needs

    Unit II: African American Health Care in the United States
    1. Systematic Paternalism and Racism
    2. Tuskegee Syphilis Study
    3. Quality Care Issues

    Unit II: Disease Affecting the African American Community
    1. Hypertension
    2. Diabetes
    3. Cancer
    4. Anemia
    5. STDs
    6. HIV/AIDS

    Unit IV: Models of Health Care in the African American Community

The final grade will be determined as follows:
Grading Scale:
  A : 100 - 94 A- : 93 - 90
B+ : 89 - 87 B : 86 - 83 B- : 82 - 80
C+ : 79 - 77 C : 76 - 73 C- : 72 - 70
D+ : 69 - 67 D : 66 - 63 D- : 62 - 60
  F : 59 - 0  

  1. Assignments are due on the date given on the assignment. In the case of illness, the assignment is due on the day of return to class.
  2. Projects will be assigned to provide experience not available in the classroom setting, to apply concepts presented in class and to practice writing and thinking skills. The assignments are due on the due date, however, a grace period of 1 week is allowed. The grace period expires at the end of the class period one week after the paper is due. If the project is later than 1 week after the due date, a grade of “0” will be assigned. There IS NO exception given for late papers.
  3. If a project is submitted via email, the following criteria must be applied:
    1. The paper must be submitted as a Word or RTF document.
    2. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the correct document is attached.
    3. It is the responsibility of the student to ensure that the document is received by the due date. A confirmation email will be sent by the instructor on receipt of the successful email.

The University Policy states that “at the discretion of the instructor, a student whose absences exceed 20% of scheduled class meetings for the semester may receive a grade of “F” for the course”. See the Student handbook(pdf) for the complete university attendance policy . This policy will be utilized for this class, therefore, any student missing more than 9 classes, either excused or unexcused, will receive a failing grade for the course. The names of students, who have not attended class during the first three weeks of class, will be forwarded to the registrar for deletion from the class roster. Students are expected to attend all classes and promptness is appreciated. Failure to attend class and failure to be on time will impact on the ability to understand the material and on the receipt of necessary information. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain any materials missed during an absence from class.

These devices must be turned off or silenced during class AND must be placed off of the desk and stored.


    Writing/Scientific Reasoning/Critical Thinking: Students will be assigned writing tasks that will provide practice in writing clear and understandable communications. Additionally, the writing will require that the student critically assess the situations presented and apply reasoning to situational context.

Please consult the NSU Student Handbook on matters regarding student conduct such as attendance, illness, off-campus trips, and grade appeals, etc.

The College of Science, Engineering and Technology provides tutoring services through the STARS Tutoring Center for those NSU students who may be experiencing difficulties in Mathematics, Computer Science, Engineering, Biology, Chemistry, Nursing, Technology and Physics courses. The STARS office is located in RTC, Suite 100. This service is free of charge and provided to NSU students only. Visit the site at

In accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans With Disabilites Act (ADA) of 1990, if you have a disability or think you have a disability, we ask that you please contact the Supporting Students through Disability Services (SSDS) office.
LOCATION: Student Services Center Room 110D
CONTACT PERSON: Marian E. Shepherd - Disability Services Coordinator SSDS
TELEPHONE: (757) 823-2014

As part of NSU's commitment to provide the environment and resources needed for success, students may be required to participate in a number of university-wide assessment activities. The activities may include tests, surveys, focus groups and interviews, and portfolio reviews. The primary purpose of the assessment activities is to determine the extent to which the university's programs and services maintain a high level of quality and meet the needs of students. Students will not be identified in the analysis of results. Unless indicated otherwise, by the instructor, results from University assessment activities will not be computed in student grades.

Class Attendance Policy
  • A student is expected to attend all classes. The student assumes all responsibility for work missed due to an absence. Make-up work may be permitted at the discretion of the instructor. Refer to the NSU Student Handbook ( for further details.

  • NSU email Accounts
  • In an effort to keep students informed about Norfolk State University updates and account information, students must check their official NSU student email account frequently.
    You may access your official NSU email account at Follow instructions on the NSU-webmail login page.

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