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Academic Offerings

Students learning in ALA 106

As a HSSP first-year student, you will enroll in the program's two courses, ALA 106 (Health and Healthcare - Systems) and 109 (Health and Healtcare - People).  Both are 3-credit classes which will introduce you to a broad range of issues in health and healthcare systems and health care professions. 

The focus of ALA106 is health care systems – the big, complex, messy and inconsistent ways in which healthcare is both provided and experienced in the U.S. and around the world. Class topics include: social and structural determinants of health; healthcare financing and its history, including the Affordable Care Act; healthcare quality and quality improvement; medical research and evidence-based medicine; and unconscious bias in  healthcare. Throughout the course we examine the impact of systemic inequities, including racism, on health and healthcare systems. The class culminates in a series of case studies that illustrate the complexities of the healthcare system and the impact of those complexities on patient experiences and outcomes. Past case studies have included the Flint water contamination crisis, breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, abortion policy and clinical care, and mental health care, among others. 

The focus of ALA109 is health care “people” – the range of professionals who make up the healthcare team. Class topics include: “A-day-in-the-life of” healthcare providers; medical school admission and financing; careers as advanced practice clinicians, like midwifery and physician assistant paths; interprofessional education; non-clinical healthcare roles, like biomedical engineering and healthcare administration; professional ethics; patient-caregivercommunication; sexual harassment in medicine, microaggressions and their impact on patient and healthcare provider experiences; and burnout. Like ALA106 the class culminates in a series of case studies that illustrate the range of ways people have careers in healthcare, including care of LGBTQ+ patients and gender affirming care provision; public health careers; biostatistics, and research. 

In both ALA106 and 109 guest lecturers are an important part of the course, offering diversity of experience and identity, as well as exposure to the depth and breadth of expertise within University of Michigan. In addition to a weekly lecture, students also meet weekly in “labs” to continue exploration of course content through small group team-based activities.

Professional Observations

Peer Mentor Morgan Hill and HSSP alumna Dr. Rosalyn Maben-Feaster

Each semester, HSSP members participate in two four-hour professional observations. Students will observe health professionals at work in a variety of settings, from clinical to administrative. These experiences provide students with first-hand insight into how health professionals work and the opportunities that await them in these fields.

Professional Autobiographies

Dr. Aaron Saguil giving his Professional Autobiography

On some Tuesday nights, HSSP students attend short talks known as Professional Autobiographies. These talks are excellent opportunities for you to hear directly from practicing healthcare professionals in an informal, "fireside chat" setting. Professional Autobiographies take place in the Couzens Hall Multipurpose Room. You will learn about speakers' motivations for their career choices, how their interests and experiences influenced their career trajectories, and how their passions influence their work. These sessions are also an excellent opportunity for you to connect with professionals who may be able to help or provide valuable advice during your Michigan career.

Study Groups

HSSP offers Peer-Led Study Groups facilitated by second- and third-year HSSP students. These study sessions are held in Couzens Hall study rooms and are designed to support HSSPers in popular introductory science and pre-health courses. These study groups are the same as the ones offered by the SLC (Science Learning Center), except they are exclusively for HSSP students.The purpose of these study groups is to get together with your peers and use each other as learning resources, as well as to learn how to study for your science courses here at the University of Michigan. They are extremely helpful and cover many different areas, including: a review of class discussions and notes, study strategies, practice problems, group activities, practice exams, and other information vital to academic success. HSSPers are encouraged to actively participate in one or more study tables depending on academic need. Each group meets for only 2 hours per week. If none of the times work in your schedule, the SLC also offers study groups (you can find more information at this link).