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FMIS 4510 - Medical Sociology


HCM 4510: Medical Sociology

Course Syllabus

Fall 2009

Tuesday-Thursday 8-9:15 am

SBE 16



Instructor: Jill Klingner, R.N. Ph.D.

Office: 335 K – FMIS Department Suite

Telephone: 726-8626

E-mail: klin0089@d.umn.edu

Office hours: Thursday 930-1030 AM, Wednesday 930-11 am & by appointment

Course Materials

Medical Sociology (10th Edition) (Paperback) by William C. Cockerham (Author)
Paperback: 432 pages Publisher: Prentice Hall; 10 edition (May 22, 2006)

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down (Paperback) by Anne Fadiman (Author)
Paperback: 352 pages Publisher: Noonday Press (September 28, 1998)

Additional materials as assigned.


Course Description

This course is designed for undergraduate students who seek an understanding of the effect of sociological theories that influence relationships in the administration, organization and delivery of health care in the United States.

This course focuses on change management in the US health care system using frameworks found in organization theory and management.


Knowledge Objectives

The course is designed to provide students with an understanding of (1) the effect of relationship dynamics in health care organizations; (2) health care organizations from an organizational theory perspective; (3) change in the health care industry and environment; and (4) management’s role in health care organizations.


Course Structure

The course will incorporate both lecture and discussions.  Discussion among the group is highly encouraged and will contribute to the final course grade.  The course relies on texts and case studies that play a vital role in comprehension of the subject.  Therefore, in order for the student to carry on a coherent discussion, the assigned reading must be finished prior to the class meeting. 


Course Requirements

Attendance                                           Your grade will drop if you miss more than three classes.


Three missed classes= no grad change,   

4 missed classes = one grade drop,   for example A to A-  

6 missed classes = two grade drop.   for example A to B+, etc..


There are no excused absences.



Quizzes                                                                  25-50 points each                Approx 100

Homework                                                            25-100 points each                             200

Exams (2)                                                             100 points each                                   200

Final                                                                       150 points                                             150



The final exam is optional. If you are satisfied with your grade you can choose not to take the final. The final cannot lower your grade. The final is cumulative.



Grading Scale

 There are approximately 500 points available before the final. Every 5 points is approximately equal to 1%.



Percent of  total points available




92 to <96%


88 to<92%


84 to <88%


80 to <84%


76 to <80%


72 to <76%


68 to < 72%


60 to < 68%





Use of WEBvista

Assignments will be submitted via WEBvista.

For prose assignments you must use the plagiarism software. Any plagiarism or cheating will result in a zero grade for that assignment, exam or quiz.



Computer use in class

Computers will be helpful on certain days of class.

Computers, cell phones and other technology are not to be used during class. It is distracting to students. If you are using these devices for purposes other than this course’s work you will lose 20 points on the next exam or assignment. This includes text messaging, emailing, games, etc.


Ethical Conduct
Cheating and plagiarism will not be tolerated and will be treated according to University policy (http://www.d.umn.edu/catalogs/current/umd/policies.html). All infractions will be reported to the academic integrity office.


Any disruptive activity in class that interferes with others' ability to see, hear, think or work is unacceptable. Please be polite and refrain from side bar conversations. If someone else's conduct poses problems for you, please inform me immediately. If you repeatedly interrupt other’s learning you will be asked to leave the classroom.


Special Arrangements/Facilities
Individuals who have any disability, either permanent or temporary, which might affect their ability to perform in class, are encouraged to inform the instructor at the start of the semester. Adaptation of methods, materials or testing may be made as required to provide for equitable participation. It is your responsibility to contact the Disability Service and Resources for advice regarding adaptations.

WEBVista Disclosure

In this class, our use of technology will sometimes make students' names and U of M Internet IDs visible within the course website, but only to other students in the same class. Since we are using a secure, password-protected course website, this will not increase the risk of identity theft or spamming for anyone in the class. If you have concerns about the visibility of your Internet ID, please contact me for further information.



Out of respect for everyone’s time, class will begin and end on time. Attendance for each class is required as reflected in the grading.


Late assignments

Homework assignments must be submitted electronically via WEBVISTA and are due at 11:59 pm on the due date. Late assignments will lose 20% of the grade per 12 hours automatically.  For example, assignments turned in between 12 midnight and 12 noon will lose 20%. Assignments handed in more than 24 hours late will lose 50% of possible points.



Homework descriptions

Assignment grading

Exams will be graded and returned under most circumstances by the next class period. Papers will be graded and returned two weeks after the dues date.


Writing assignments will be graded based on 1) the depth of understanding exhibited in your writing, 2) the quality of the paper’s organization,(If in doubt use the Rulebook for Arguments for reference.), 3) spelling and grammar (3 points will be deducted for each grammatical and each spelling error. If in doubt go to the writing tutor center and/or edit each other’s papers.)  All writing assignments must be 12 point font with 1 inch margins.


5 minute presentations will be graded on slide quality, demonstration of understanding of the concept of the article, professional delivery (movement, voice, language).


Exams will be graded and returned under most circumstances by the next class period. Papers will be graded and returned two weeks after the dues date.



Assignment #1     25 points

Vark homework -

Go to VARK website         

Take learning preference test

Complete the following three sentences in your own words: (Do NOT cut and paste from the website.)

                My learning preference is:

                To learn more effectively and efficiently I should:

                To teach me more effectively and efficiently my instructors should

 If you do not put it in your own words you will not receive the points.

Submit via webvista by Tuesday Sept 9, 2009

If you have trouble with Webvista contact the computer helpline.


Students must turn in either Assignment #2 or #3. Not both.

Assignment #2     The Doctor Assignment 75 points total

Answer three of the following questions in depth. Minimum of 1500 words total. Be prepared to discuss all of the questions in class. Use examples from the movie to demonstrate your understanding of the concepts.

The Doctor – Questions -




Assignment #3 Focus on communication

Fadiman Questions –75 points total minimum of 1500 words. Answer three of the questions in depth. Be prepared to discuss all of the questions in class. Use examples from the book to demonstrate an understanding of the concepts.






Assignment #4 Privilege paper – 100 points

1500 words          

Part 1 – 50 points

1. What is privilege? Define it in your own words, based on the reading assignment.
2. Can you think of any specific health care experiences you’ve had where privilege came into play for either you or someone you know?
3. Race is often discussed in terms of privilege. What other factors might lend a person extra health care privilege?

Part 2 50 points

Interview four people, they must not be in this class, one must be an afcsme member, one must be retired, using the questions below. As you record their responses, please do not censor them.

“I want to ask you a few questions about your experience with the health care system. You do not need to answer any questions that you do not want to.”

Ask yourself the questions below. Write your responses.

  1. What reactions did you get from asking these questions?
  2. Were there connections between what they said and how they reacted?
  3. How do you think that their experience and position in society influenced their responses?
  4. Take your best guess:


Assignment #5 Article review – Find an article in Health Affairs, Modern Health Care, Milbank Quarterly or the New York Times on communication or privilege in health care. Read it, review it, write-it up, report it.

75 points

1000 words (50) 5 minute presentation (25)

Article abstractions

Interest statement: (why you wanted to read this article)

Author’s point of view: researcher, journalist, participant in the topic

Purpose of article: persuasion, policy change, etc.

Sample: who did they study (example MN hospital CEOs from the AHA)

Methods: how did they draw their conclusions, personal opinion, and advanced statistical analysis?

Findings: what is the take away point? Why do we care? Do you agree with their conclusions?  How do these findings influence your role as a health care manager?








I expect you to be a discerning reader. Does this article represent facts or opinions?


Course Outline and Reading List





Sept 7

Course overview

Take VARK learning test at



Sept 9

View Doctor

Read Soc. Sci. Mrd Vol. 35. No. 8. pp. 959-965. 1992




VARK due

Sept 14

View Doctor



Sept 16

Discuss DR.

See questions in Homework section.


Sept 21


Chapters in Cockerham – 9, 10,11
medical education, -

DR paper due

Sept 23


Chapters in Cockerham – 9, 10, 11

Quiz on Text, two articles, Dr Movie

Sept 28

Discuss  Fadiman

Fadiman completed

Read review by Steinman


Sept 30

Guest speaker

On Hmong traditions

Quiz on Fadiman

Oct  5


Read privilege paper and take privilege test

Turn in privilege test – 10 points


Oct  7



Fadiman paper due

Oct 12


Exam 1 – chapters, Fadiman, The Doctor , privilege, VARK, medical education, physicians


Oct 14


Chapters in Cockerham 5, 6, 8


Oct 19


Health as a Socially Mediated Process: Theoretical and Practice Imperatives Emerging From Research on Health Inequalities Lynam, M. Judith PhD, RN



Oct 21


Chapters in Cockerham 5, 6, 8


Oct 26


Professional communication handouts/articles


Oct 28


Team building handouts and exercise


Nurs Admin Q

Vol. 30, No. 3, pp. 236–242

Diffusion of Innovation: The Leaders’ Role in Creating the Organizational Context for Evidence-based Practice

Gregory Crow, EdD, RN


Quiz Team, Communication, Article, Chap 5, 6, 8

Nov 3




Nov  5


Chapters in Cockerham 1-4


Nov 10


Chapters in Cockerham 1-4


Nov 12


Chapters in Cockerham 1-4

Quiz Chap 1-4

Nov 17

Alternative healing options  guest

Chapters in Cockerham 7, 12, 13


Nov 19


Chapters in Cockerham 7, 12, 13

Privilege paper due

Nov 23


Chapters in Cockerham 7, 12, 13

Quiz chap. 7, 12, 13

Nov 26




Dec 1




Dec 3


Exam 2


Dec 8


Article review presentations

Article papers due

Dec 10


Article review presentations


Dec 15




Saturday Dec 17