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Sample Course Outline
- To enable students to make intelligent decisions about the
purchase and use of health products and services.
- Barrett S, Jarvis WT, Kroger M, London WM. Consumer Health,
ed. 7. New York, 1997, McGraw-Hill
- Regular class attendance
- Active participation in class discussions
- Read Consumer Health text chapters before scheduled class
- Be familiar with content, be prepared to give opinions, raise
questions, and discuss in class
- Prepare two or more questions related to the assigned chapters
for introduction in class when appropriate or when requested
- Bring to class current magazine and newspaper articles for
bulletin board display. Be prepared to briefly (1-2 minutes)
present content of one article orally on request. ("What's
In The News.")
- Prepare 1-page written reports (see "Description of
Assignments") on all of the following:
- Health insurance policy analysis
- Qualifications of own physician
- "Ad" analysis
- Yearly budget for costs of health products and health services
for self and/or family
- Telephone directory review for community resources available
to aid health consumer
- Prepare 3- to 4-page written report and an oral report on
a topic identified in "Description of Assignment."
Be prepared to orally present paper in class (3-minute maximum).
- Complete midterm and final examinations.
- Extra credit may be earned upon satisfactory completion of
one or two special written reports or by participating on a committee
to maintain "What's In The News" bulletin board. See
"Description of Assignments" for details.
- Refer to "Assignment Due Dates." Assignments not
submitted and/or ready for presentation when scheduled or requested
will not be acceptable without special permission from the instructor.
- All papers will be expected to meet the University standards
for grammar and English. Grades will depend on:
- Accuracy and completeness of requirements
- Quality of content, organization and clarity of reports
- Use of properly listed current references,
- Clarity and organization of oral report.
- Final Grades will be based on:
- 10% Discussion participation and questions
- 20% Health insurance, physician qualifications, yearly
budget, telephone directory, "Ad" analysis, "What's
In The News" reports
- 20% Three- to four-page report
- 50% Examinations
Description of Assignments
Bulletin Board Report
What's in the news
- Bring to class several current newspaper or magazine articles
related to consumer health for bulletin board display. Give the
materials to one committee member. Be sure to include at the
top of each item your name, date of article, volume and issue
numbers of magazine, and page numbers. Be prepared to orally
present the essential points and to give a brief analysis of
the information using guidelines in Chapter 2 of the text.
One-Page Written/Oral Reports
- Use information from Chapter 2 and Table 4-1 of the text
to analyze a newspaper or magazine advertisement for a health
product. Also answer these questions: Is the information accurate
or misleading? Can the product do what the ad claims? Why? Give
the sources of evidence. Attach to the advertisement a summary
of the analysis.
- Compile information on the qualifications of your own, a
family member's or a friend's physician, including schools attended,
dates of attendance and graduation, specialties practiced and
which are board-certified, and length of experience. Include
information from the Directory of Medical Specialists or the
American Medical Directory.
- Analyze your own, a family member's, or a friend's health
insurance policy using the guidelines in Chapter 24. Include
comments about the adequacy of the policy. Identify the company,
cost of premiums, and whether this is a group or individual policy.
Do not use Medicare or Medicaid coverage.
- List the health products and health services you anticipate
purchasing during the next year. Estimate the expenditures for
each together with the total costs expected. Include the cost
of health insurance. Determine the percentage of your total yearly
income represented by these expenditures.
- Search the current telephone directory (yellow and white
pages) for agencies and organizations that provide assistance
to consumers of health products and services. Group these resources
according to the chapter headings and the subheadings in the
Written/Oral Reports (3-4 pages)
One report is required by each student. Oral presentation (3
minutes maximum) may be requested.
Separating Fact from Fiction
- Prepare a list of the health topics found in three or more
editions of one or more of the following: National Enquirer,
National Examiner, Prevention, Let's Live, Muscle & Fitness.
Group the articles in categories according to those found in
the chapter headings in the text. Provide opinions and conclusions
about the material. Use scientific references where appropriate
to validate comments.
- Evaluate the reliability of consumer information on aWeb
site that sells healthj-related products.
- Record three or more TV or radio advertisements about health
products and/or services. Analyze these ads using the Consumer
Analysis of Advertising (Table 53). Provide information
from reliable sources about validity of claims. Give own opinions
- For three or more newspaper, magazine, or Web site advertisements
about health services and/or products, make telephone calls or
other inquiries to determine nature, who provides information,
and their qualifications, costs, how requests for information
are handled, and other related matters. Check validity of information
using reliable references. Identify opinions and conclusions.
- For the selected topic in "Student Assignments"
prepare a report that includes: (a) essential information through
a review of the literature that defines the procedure or approach,
its functions, effects, advantages, hazards (if any), and/or
problems in usage, costs, and other appropriate related material;
and (b) information about the experiences of several users of
- Locate and interview 20 or more people who use "alternative"
health care. Tally findings into a representative table where
possible. Include the nature of the people (students, laborers,
housewives, professionals, etc.) interviewed. List opinions and
- Keep a food diary for one week and analyze it, using the
Food Guide Pyramid system, to see whether it is nutritionaly
adequate. If not, indictae what changes can be made to improve
- Analyze several "health foods" listed in the text
with other foods by determining: (a) types and amounts of nutrients,
(b) values of nutrients, (c) problems in use, (d) costs, and
(e) conclusions from analysis.
- Survey three or more health-food stores to identify in each
the five most popular products sold, their costs, whether they
contain "natural" ingredients, and information from
salespersons regarding the value of these items. Check the literature
to determine the validity of claims made for the product as well
as other information provided by the salespersons. List the sources
of information and your opinions and conclusions.
- Visit three or more weight control clinics and/or organizations
to obtain information about procedures used for weight reduction,
drugs used, costs of service, medical exams given or required
and by whom, pressure by contact person to join, and related
matters. Include your opinions and conclusions regarding the
- Visit a drugstore to review five or more products used in
weight control and note: ingredients and amounts, costs, and
claims of effectiveness. Then check the scientific literature
to validate claims and provide conclusions about these products.
- Make before-and-after measurements on someone who has used
the services of a body wrapping salon.
- Visit three or more health "spas" or clubs to observe
and collect information about facilities, equipment, attractiveness,
type of people in attendance, friendliness and pressure of contact
person, types and values of services, cost of membership, and
other appropriate data. Provide comments about impressions, validity
of services, and conclusions.
- Analyze three or more exercise equipment items advertised
in newspapers or magazines regarding accuracy and validity of
claims of effectiveness, benefits and hazards of use, costs,
and whether the same effects can be obtained in some other way.
Include copies of the advertisements and descriptions of the
- Visit four or more drugstores or Web sites and record the
cost of one product from each of the ten OTC categories (e.g.,
antacids, analgesics) under Drug Products. Prepare a chart showing
the high, low, and average costs of these products. Identify
the names and locations of stores visited. List the conclusions
to be drawn from this survey.
- Visit a drugstore and select one product from each of 10
categories or 10 products from one category found in the text
(e.g., antacids, analgesics) under Drug Products. List the names
of the products, the ingredients and amounts found in each, and
the claims of the effects by the manufacturer. Review the literature
and/or packaging to report on the validity of the claims. List
sources of information.
Over-the-counter drug products, skin care, and beauty aids
- Select one product used by yourself, one member of your family
or friend, and provide the following information: (a) justification
for use, (b) the active ingredients, their amounts, and claims
of how they work, (c) benefits and hazards to health, (d) cost-high,
low, reasonable (do some comparative shopping), (e) alternatives,
substitutes, or other ways to take care of need, and basis for
these suggestions, (f) source of information for your or other's
decision to use the product, and (g) sources of information used.
Vision and hearing
- Visit three or more hearing aid dealers to gather information
about types and quality of aids, how to select, and costs. Provide
opinions and conclusions about experiences.
- Visit three or more optometrists to obtain information whether
to purchase hard or soft contact lenses. Inquire as to types,
advantages/disadvantages, and costs. Provide your opinions and
conclusions about your experiences.
Optional Three- to Four-Page Reports
Students may earn extra credit toward grades upon the completion
of one or more of the following. Credit will be awarded as follows:
A = 3 points, B = 2 points, C = 1 point, D or less = no credit.
- Take action to assert yourself in some
manner about a health product that you feel was poor in quality
or misrepresented or a health service in which a bill was unreasonable
or in which you were treated improperly or unfairly. Describe
the situation or occurrence, the action you took (telephone call,
letter, other), the response or outcome (second contact necessary),
conclusions from your experience, and actions you will take in
Book Report (3 or 4 pages)
- Select a book from the Bibliography
distributed in class or otherwise approved by the instructor
and provide: summary of essential points, analysis of text using
Guidelines for Determining the Reliability of Health Information
(Chapter 2), and comments and conclusions.
What's in the News
- Three students can organize and maintain the bulletin boards
on which students post magazine and newspaper articles.
- One additional instructor-approved topic from the Three-
to Four-Page Written and Oral Reports.
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- Make a PowerPoint demonstration that discusses information
on several Web sites.
- Make a Powerpoint demonstration related to searching for
reliable health information on the Internet.