Ben Franklin Seminars (BENF)

BENF 223 Philanthropy and Health

This course that brings together the recent literature from the social sciences and health sciences as well as other disciplines to explore how philanthropy impacts health care in society at large, and in particular, the health of the donor and volunteer. Furthermore, the course will include an "ideas in action" component. Students will examine philanthropic donations at work in Philadelphia, as well as engage in philanthropic activities alongside the instructor. The course consists of three parts: Part 1) Philanthropy and Healthcare in Society: The US has a long tradition of channeling philanthropic resources to augment healthcare in society, as the demand for health care exceeds the capacity of individuals or government to fully satisfy the demand. Philanthropic resources, which include both time and money, are emerging as significant means by which the capacity of the healthcare sector is fortified; these include resources for service providers, health care researchers, and health care policy advocates. To understand the heterogeneous impact of philanthropy on healthcare, this part of the course will examine the "who, what, when, where, and how" of philanthropic inputs into healthcare and their impact. Part 2) Health Effects on the Individual Philanthropist: The second part of the course examines individuals who give of their time and money. From decreased mortality to better health outcomes, researchers have carefully documented the effect on individual givers. Recent findings from the health sciences also show what mechanisms might be involved in an individual's psychology and physiology that can explain the beneficial health effects of philanthropic behavior. We will examine recent experimental research along these lines provides further evidence along these lines. Part 3) Ideas in Action: The course will include three specific volunteering events and do so by selecting a healthcare related organization of their choice that uses philanthropic resources. Students will gain first-hand experience as volunteers (and if feasible, as donors) and discuss their experiences with philanthropy in class presentations and relate them to course content.

Course usually offered in fall term

Activity: Seminar

1.0 Course Unit

BENF 226 Health and Social Justice

This course considers various theoretical approaches to justice and health, motivated by the idea that a moral framework is needed to address the ethical challenges posed by inequalities in access, quality, financial burdens, and resource priorities, as well as rising health care costs. The course includes four parts. The first part examines ethical frameworks that involve various approaches to medical and public health ethics. The second part presents an alternative theory of justice and health, the health capability paradigm (HCP), grounded in human flourishing. The third part explores domestic health policy applications, including equal access, equitable and efficient health financing and insurance, rising costs and allocating resources. The fourth and final part of the course investigates domestic health reform, particularly a normative theory of health policy decision making grounded in political and moral legitimacy. The course scrutinizes the relevance of health justice for governing health at the domestic level, that is within countries, offers a new theory of health and social justice, the health capability paradigm, and of health governance, shared health governance, evaluating current domestic health systems and proposals for reforming them in light of these alternative theoretical frameworks.

Taught by: Prah Ruger

Activity: Seminar

1.0 Course Unit

BENF 227 Global Health Justice and Governance

This course considers various theoretical approaches to global justice and global governance and analyzes their implications for global health. The course includes two parts. The first part examines accounts of cosmopolitanism, nationalism and other theories of global justice, critically assessing duties ascribed by each that may be owed universally to all persons or confined within associative boundaries of communities or nations. The second part explores applications to global health governance encompassing consideration of human rights and the operation and accountability of global institutions such as the United Nations, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization and national health systems. The course scrutinizes the relevance of global justice for governing the global health realm, proposes a new theory of global health justice, provincial globalism, and of global health governance, shared health governance, evaluating the current global health system and proposals for reforming it in light of these alternative theoretical frameworks

Taught by: Jennifer Prah Ruger

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Seminar

1.0 Course Unit

BENF 228 Education and International Development

Educational development is central to the policies of every country in the world, and to children, youth and adults everywhere, as the participants in educational systems and agents of change for broader economic and social development. With increased globalization, population migration, and information exchange, there is increasing interest in the differing ways that learning education is organized and experienced around the world. High GNP countries like the U.S. are interested in understanding how they sometimes fail to serve students when compared with other high GNP countries, while many developing countries are struggling to put into place educational systems that assure a basic education for all. Much of this may be usefully understood in the context of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (for more detail on the SDGs, see http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/). Both access to schooling and the quality of learning are central to these goals. This course will explore, compare and contrast education and international development models, as they affect the lives and development of children, youth and adults, with an emphasis on poor and developing countries. The course will work from primary and secondary materials on theories, research, and applications used to promote human development and basic education. Some programs are carried out by multinational/bilateral agencies such as World Bank, Unicef, UNESCO, and USAID, while others are undertaken by intermediary organizations (such as NGOs and universities) and local organizations or individual specialists. Issues include a range of social, economic and ethno-political dimensions in the provision of quality education.

Taught by: Wagner

Course usually offered in spring term

Activity: Seminar

1.0 Course Unit

BENF 229 Health Capability

This course examines the idea of health capability. Health capability is the ability to be healthy; it integrates health functioning and health agency. Health capability helps us understand the conditions that facilitate and barriers that impede health and the ability to make healthy choices. Health capabilities are key strengths resulting from individual and societal commitment of human, financial, and physical resources with the goal of helping people thrive. Differences in health capability explain why, for example, personal skills and determination or health beliefs are not enough to achieve health, why people with even the best external conditions can still have poor health, and why a narrow biomedical model of disease is insufficient. Health capability captures the dynamic, interactive, multidimensionality of health and flourishing. Health capability has the effect of creating a virtuous circle; developing people's health capability enables them to create and support the conditions for their own and other's health capability and so forth. It offers an evaluation of the aim and success of public policies in terms of people's lived experiences. The course is motivated by the idea that health capabilities ought to be a primary dimension in which equity in health and public policy is sought. The course includes three parts. The first part engages with the health capability model. The second part examines the health capability profile. The third part explores health capability applications. Twin goals of the course include cultivating the development of students' knowledge base, values and competencies as well as aiding students in identifying, assessing and expanding their own health capabilities for individual and community health and flourishing.

Taught by: Prah Ruger

One-term course offered either term

Activity: Seminar

1.0 Course Unit