Middlebury

FYSE 1093

Concepts in Mortality

Concepts of Mortality and Immortality in Healthcare and Public Health
Life expectancy, based on long-term historical trends, increases by one year every five years. As students born in and around 2007, many of you will likely live long past 100 years of age. Most humans express a desire for longevity, quality of life, and painless death in old age, but when confronted with the full implications of decisions that affect our ability to achieve these, and the outsized impact on these of circumstances outside our control, we struggle to map out a path towards these goals. Medicine and public health offer different and oftentimes conflicting approaches to these desires, in circumstances affected more by privilege, wealth, human rights, ethics, and the myriad social determinants of our health. In this course we will read, reflect upon, discuss, and write about the concepts of mortality and immortality. We will also explore the impact of equity, racism, and the over-medicalization of healthcare in the US on themes of mortality and immortality. Our readings will be drawn from journals, newspapers and other articles, podcasts and TedTalks. We will also read Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks and Gawande’s Being Mortal, Medicine and What Matters in the End. 3 hr sem/1 hr lab
Subject:
First Year Seminar
Department:
First-Year Seminar Program
Division:
Interdisciplinary
Requirements Fulfilled:
CW SOC

Sections in Spring 2012