In this course we will examine the social nature of health, illness, and medicine. Over the first half of the semester we will seek to understand how the context of a person's life shapes their likelihood of achieving good health and susceptibility to illness. We will explore the social patterning of health, longevity, and disease in the US today. Who avoids illness and who does not? Who is at increased risk of dying prematurely? We will then turn to understanding the social factors that shape health. How does the context of a person's life (where they live, who they are friends with, if they are married, if they work, their gender and sexual orientation) shape health? Finally, we will examine the role of medical care in contributing to health in the US. What is good health care, who gets it, and why? We will explore these issues through the lens of social science, biology, epidemiology, economics, public policy, and medicine.