SEM Final Paper Instructions: Health Disparities and COVID-19
Applying the Socio-Ecological Model
Ecosocial theory provides health professionals with an opportunity to understand why populations react
biologically to a social condition. It is these interactions between biology and social conditions that can
contribute to an inequitable distribution of ill health and disease. Following the principles of ecosocial theory,
health professionals have developed a framework to which health issues can be applied that is beneficial in
devising new approaches for promoting positive health outcomes called the Socio-Ecological Model (SEM).
The SEM is an organizing framework that health professionals can use to understand health issues and in
planning effective interventions. Although multiple versions of the SEM have been developed, they have in
common the concept of multilevel systems of mutual influence and interaction, moving from the individual
level through linkages to larger social networks that include the family, community, environment, social
institutions, and government.
In this course, you will be introduced to the formulation of the model as proposed by McLeroy, Bibeau,
Steckler, & Glanz, 1988). This model is organized around five hierarchical levels of influence: 1) individual
factors, 2) interpersonal processes and relations with primary social groups, 3) institutional/organizational
factors, 4) community/environment factors, and 5) public policy.
What will you do?
1. Research current news articles to answer the questions below. You must use at least 5 different news
sources for the entire paper (not for each question). You just need one main article to answer each
question. You can use articles more than once if they answer the question (but not more than 2 times).
You must have a total of 5 articles for the entire assignment. Some places to look are The New York
Times, The Atlantic, The Root, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal…or, you can just do a
google search and click on the link for news. You can use any articles from 2020.
2. Once you find the answers to the question based on current news sources, you will support what you
write with references to the course textbook, lecture notes, and other relevant sources. For each
question, you must use evidence from the specific textbook chapters listed next to the question. You
must list the exact textbook page number where you obtained the information (see sample below).
COVID-19 impacts so many areas of people’s lives that numerous sections of the textbook are relevant.
Again, each answer must be supported with at least one reference to the course textbook unless it is
stated otherwise. You can use APA or MLA citation.
3. If you use the course lecture notes as an additional source, you would cite: (Tettey, 2020, and the title
of the lecture slides).
4. Your answers for each question should be at least 100 to 150 words minimum, but can be longer. You
are numbering the questions, including the question, then providing your answers. Do not just submit
the answer without the question.
a. You are uploading a word document. Do not just submit your answers to the assignment text
box. Assignments submitted this way will receive a zero. You must upload a word or pdf
document.
b. Do not just copy and paste your answers from the internet articles or textbook. You must
summarize in your own words. Copying and pasting is considered plagiarism, and you will
receive a zero if you do this.
c. Provide the titles and links to the internet current event article sources, textbook, and where
relevant, lecture notes you use to answer the question at the end of each answer for each
question and in text. Do not use personal pronouns like I, we..and make sure to proof-read.
So, a sample answer would look like:
Sample Question: Why has coronavirus impacted the United States so much?
Sample Answer: Health disparities are large differences in health based on the social determinants of health (Tettey,
2020). The United States has been impacted by the coronavirus in such a dramatic way because the country was not
prepared to handle such a public health crisis. In addition, policies were not put in place soon enough to slow the spread
of the disease (Johnson, 2020). One factor that created many issues is the lack of strong public policy regarding public
health. Public health policies are essential to properly handling pandemics (Levy, 2019, pg. 21).
Sources:
Johnson, L. (2020). Coronavirus Pandemic in the US. New York Times. Article Link:www.nytimes.com/coronavirus
Levy, B. (2019). Social Injustice and Public Health. Oxford University Press: New York.
Tettey, N. (2020). Lecture: Health Disparities, Race, and Ethnicity.
For the paper you will answer each question below using the guidelines above. You are not writing in paper/essay
format, you are just numbering and writing the question, then answering it.
PART ONE: SEM INDIVIDUAL AND INTERPERSONAL LEVEL ANALYSIS OF THE CORONAVIRUS
1. Why is COVID-19 a social justice issue? (You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines above),
summarize what you find, and support it with information form the course lecture notes and the textbook) (Relevant
Levy text chapter, Chapter 1)
2. How are health disparities based on race being demonstrated through the coronavirus pandemic specifically in
the African American and Hispanic communities, compared to other racial groups? What are some of the current
rates/statistics that show this disparity? (You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines above),
summarize what you find, and support it with information form the course lecture notes and the textbook) (Relevant
Levy text chapters, Chapter 2 and 3).
3. Based on what we have learned so far this semester, use the terms health disparity, social justice, social
determinants of health, poverty, excess death, wealth health gradient, and pile-up effect to explain these racial
differences in the coronavirus. You can either explain each of these concepts separately as they pertain to the
coronavirus or write a paragraph. Either way, you should link the terms to what we are seeing in the news about
these disparities. (This section is based on your lecture notes. Using the textbook to support this answer is optional)
4. What are some reasons that are being given to explain the racial disparities in the coronavirus in the United
States? Provide at least three reasons that have been given. (You will first research this in current news (follow the
guidelines above), summarize what you find, and support it with information form the course lecture notes and the
textbook) (Relevant Levy text chapters, Chapter 2, 3, and 9)
5. How are gender differences being demonstrated through the coronavirus and what are some explanations that
have been given for these differences? (You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines above),
summarize what you find, and support it with information form the course lecture notes and the textbook) (Relevant
Levy text chapters, Chapter 4 and 7)
6. How are issues of mental health, domestic violence, and addiction being impacted at this time of increased
unemployment and orders to stay at home? (You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines
above), summarize what you find, and support it with information form the course lecture notes and the textbook)
(Relevant Levy text chapter, Chapter 16)
7. How is racism a contributing factor in the coronavirus health disparities that African Americans are experiencing?
What are some short term and long-term solutions for improving these health disparities? Provide at least 3
solutions. (You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines above), summarize what you find, and
support it with information form the course lecture notes and the textbook) (Relevant Levy text chapters, Chapters
23 and 24)
PART TWO: SEM COMMUNITY, ORGANIZATIONAL, AND POLICY LEVEL ANALYSIS
8. In our lecture on poverty, we explored the concepts of income inequality, the working poor, living wage, and the
digital divide. How are these concepts being demonstrated through the coronavirus pandemic in regards to:
a. Who is able to work from home (what kind of workers are able to work from home and what kind are
not? What are the racial and economic characteristics of these groups.?)
b. How does the type of job a person has impact the likelihood of contracting the virus? Who is more likely
to have a position as a frontline worker?
(You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines above), summarize what you find, and
support it with information form the course lecture notes and the textbook) (Relevant Levy text chapter,
Chapter 16)
9. What challenges are students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds facing as it pertains to online or remote
learning/online classes?
(You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines above), summarize what you find, and support it with
information form the course lecture notes and the textbook) (Relevant Levy text chapters, Chapters 1, 2)
10. How are incarcerated people being impacted by the coronavirus and what steps are being taken to make
improvements?
(You will first research this in current news (follow the guidelines above), summarize what you find, and support
it with information form the course lecture notes and the textbook) (Relevant Levy text chapters, Chapters 9, 1,
2)
11. What steps are being taken to improve health equity regarding COVID-19? (You can support this with the lecture
notes and other scholarly sources. You do not have to use the textbook for this question unless you would like to).
12. APA or MLA Reference Page

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