Health Services 572 & 573
Community Development for Health
Spring Quarter 2009


Amy Hagopian 616-4989
Peter House 616-4985

Supporting faculty: Nancy Amidei (emeritus, Social Work),  Jim Diers (UW Community Partnerships), Alison Eisinger (Ex Dir, Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness), Michaelann Jundt and Rachel Vaughn (UW Carlson Leadership & Public Service Center), Ian Maki (Family Medicine, SPARX program), Scott Morrow (Tent City staff), Matt Sparke (Geography), Daniel Winterbottom (Landscape architecture).

This is a new and improved class that builds on the experiences from a previous series of classes with the same course numbers.  This is a two-quarter class.  We will meet in I-132 on Tuesdays 1:30 to 3 pm,  January 6 through March 10, 2009.  In Spring Quarter, the class will meet Mondays 4:00 to 5:20 pm,  March 30 through June 1.  While the course is designed with the expectation that students will take both the Winter and Spring quarter classes, with permission of the instructors, a student could opt out of the Spring quarter.

Refer to the web page for class schedule and assignment information:

Catalogue Description: Work with an interdisciplinary team of faculty and fellow students to learn techniques and theory of community development for health.  In 2009, we will focus on Tent City III (an advocacy self-help group for Seattle's homeless population)  in an experiential approach to learn concepts and skills.  Students will explore the potential of having the University of Washington host Seattle’s Tent City III by spring or fall of 2009.

The purpose of the class is to bring together an interdisciplinary group of students (undergraduate and graduate students alike) to work with a team of faculty from across campus to gain knowledge of community development theory and build skills while carrying out a project. The course invites students to explore the determinants of health and community organization through the project of bringing Seattle's Tent City III to the U.W. campus in the spring or fall of 2009.
As public health professionals come to recognize the underlying and fundamental determinants of health, we become more interested in the power of social capital and community factors in promoting health. Until fairly recently, the public health profession has focused on the proximate causes of morbidity and mortality (heart disease, cancer, stroke, etc.), rather than the fundamental issues that lead to those manifestations of poor health. These underlying factors include poverty, isolation, alienation, powerlessness, and other factors that are best addressed by social activism rather than medical intervention.

Public health activists have long recognized the power that lies within communities to advance the public's health and well being, and there is a body of literature and experience from which to draw for this course. We hope this class will help students develop skills to work effectively with communities, including both the community of our own neighbors as well as the folks that live near and are served by the agencies for which we work.

A major challenge associated with offering a course addressing community development is the range of material needing to be covered. Community development is an interest of sociologists, organization theorists, political scientists, epidemiologists and psychologists to name a few disciplines contributing to our knowledge of working with communities. Another challenge is resolving what, exactly, to call this concept: some believe the phrase "community development" is paternalistic, thus leading us to some of the political issues in the field.

This course is designed to provide students with a structured overview of community development in the health field while working together on a single community development project. Students will take the lead on organizing to bring Tent City III to the University of Washington while creating joint learning opportunities for Tent City residents and UW students.  This interest grows out of a 2008 Health Services community development course, in which students began to explore the barriers and assets we have to bringing Tent City to the UW.  


1. Students will be provided with an enhanced understanding of the conceptsand structures of community and the field of community development via a review of some of the literature from the various disciplines concerned with communities.
2. Students will learn about, develop, and demonstrate skills to use in community development for health.  Students will be exposed to and have discussion with successful community developers in the health field. Students will be able to analyze community issues in current events.
3. Students will develop their cultural competencies and recognize the importance of culture in working with communities.
4. Students will embrace and value community activism, both in their lives as students, working professionals, and as members of their neighborhoods and society.


Working with communities:
  • Learn and apply asset-based community development techniques.
  • Enumerate and execute various means of engaging stakeholders (for example, students, faculty, administration, neighbors, business) in discussion about large policy issues in the U.S. with immediate effects in their own communities (in this case, homelessness and impacts on University of Washington neighborhoods).
  • Develop skills in engaging the general community in planning a complex and controversial project.

    Assessing communities:
  • Describe the dimensions of homelessness from a study of the literature.
  • Identify the causes and factors that exacerbate homelessness in Seattle. [e.g., declining economy, returning vets, etc.]

    Planning, advocady, policy development and problem solving:
  • Describe the legal, practical, and political barriers to bringing Tent City to UW, and be able to identify means to circumnavigate them.
  • Navigate the politics of the homelessness advocates and bureaucracy in Seattle (and subgroups), with acknowledgement of the balance between both the emergency and long-term structural dimensions of the problem.
  • Develop the skills in advocacy and organizational logistics necessary to engaging the UW in discussions concerning hosting Tent City.

    Cultural competency:
    Develop cultural competency skills with regard to marginalized communities.


    This class will enable students to engage with real live communities, their own and others, to bring about a tangible benefit to people in the city of Seattle.  They will employ the theory and literature of community development, develop community organizing skills, and develop their own creativity. Class time will be spent discussing insights and questions about community development, as well as organizing for the hosting of Tent City.

    It is likely the class will organize into subcommittees and meet outside of class to accomplish their work plans. Students will decide their own organizing strategies and work plans.  For illustration purposes, working groups might consist of Community Relations (press, University District, City of Seattle, other homeless organizations, Tent City relations), University of Washington relations (administration, students, faculty, and crafting an educational plan), and Facilities & Logistics (siting, services, health and sanitation, security).

    Class rhythm:
    Do readings for the class
    Post thoughts on the readings Sundays by 8 pm
    Class activity planned by instructor (see calendar)
    Seminar on readings
    Task force reports and meetings


    To some extent, this is a problem-based learning exercise, and students will need to find literature and materials that are relevant to their immediate learning needs.  That said, we recommend student libraries include:
    Travels with Lizbeth
    by Lars Eighner
    Journal Articles  -- Available as Coursepack "HSERV572-Winter09" and "HSERV572-Spring09" at the Health Science branch of the UW Bookstore, to include:

  • Alinsky, S. Rules for Radicals. 1971. Chapter 1: The Purpose.
  • Norden E. interview: Saul Alinsky, a candid conversation with the feisty radical organizer.  Playboy. 1972 (19)
  • Barr, Stringfellow. Note on Dialogue. St. John's College, Annapolis/Santa Fe, 1968.
  • Burt, M, L Aron, E Lee (Eds.)  Helping America's Homeless: emergency shelter or affordable housing?  Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press, 2001. (Selected readings)
  • Chong, D. Collective Action and the Civil Rights Movement. Chapter 1, and p. 107-109.
  • Diers, J. Celebrating Community, Chapter 7 in Neighbor Power, 2004
  • Dunham, RB.  Nominal Group Technique: A Users’ Guide.  University of Wisconsin.
  • Fisher R, Ury W. Getting to Yes, Chapter Three: Focus on Interests, Not Positions. Penguin Books. 1981.
  • Hwang, SA & Dunn, JR (2005) Homeless People. In Galea, S & Vilahoc, D (Eds.) Handbook of Urban Health: Populations, Methods and Practice. (pp. 19-41). New York, NY: Springer Science+Business Media, Inc.
  • Loeb, P. Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time. Utne Reader. July-August 1999
  • Lyon L. The Community in Urban Society, Chapter 1: The concept of community. 1987.
  • Putnam, R. E Pluribus Unum: Diversity and Community in the Twenty-first Century.
  • Levy, J. Cesar Chavez: Autobiography of La Causa. 1975. Prologue.
  • MINKLER EDITION 2: chapter 9 (mapping community capacity-McKnight)
  • MINKLER EDITION 2: chapter 7 (ethical issues and practical dilemmas-Minkler)
  • Windhield survey materials from skills packet last year
  • Press release materials from last year


    See Readings Assignments link on this web site.

    Optional Readings:

  • Textbook: Community Organizing & Community Building for Health (2nd Edition). Meredith Minkler
  • The Homeless: Opposing Viewpoints by Tamara L. Roleff
    1. Berkes F, Feeny D, McCay BJ, and Acheson JM. The Benefits of the Commons. 1989.
    2. Cottrell, L. The Competent Community. Chapter 11 of Further Explorations in Social Psychiatry. 1976
    3. Erenreich, B. The Snarling Citizen. 1995. Maintaining the Crime Supply, p. 156.
    4. Fawcett SB. Some values guiding community research and action. J Appl Behav Anal. 1991.
    5. Geiger, H. Jack. Community-Oriented Primary Care: A Path to Community Development. AJPH 92:11 (11/02)
    6. Goeppinger, J. Community Competence: A Positive approach to Needs Assessment. American Journal of Community Psychology, 1985.
    7. Kawachi, Ichiro and Bruce Kennedy. The Health of Nations: Why Inequality is Harmful to Your Health. The New Press. 2002. Chapters 3 & 5.
    8. Kemmis, D. Community and the Politics of Place. 1990. Chapter 5, p. 44-49, & chapter 8, p. 109-118.
    9. Shawki Ahmed.  The Fire Last Time: Roots of the civil rights movement.  ISR.  Jan-Feb 2006.  45-51.
    10. Mechanic, David. Rediscovering the Social Determinants of Health. Health Affairs May-June, 2000.
    11. Payne, Ruby. Speaking their Language: working with Students and Adults from Poverty. Infocus.
  • Baker B. Sustainable Community Checklist. NW Policy Center, Graduate School of Public Affairs. 1996.
  • Berry, Wendell. In the Presence of Fear: Three Essays for a Changed World. Orion 2001. (The Idea of a Local Economy, pages 11-33.)
  • Besleme K, Mullin M. Community indicators and healthy communities. National Civic Review. 1997.
  • Bobo, K. Organizing for Social Change. 1991. Chapters 3-4.
  • Coburn, David. Income inequality, social cohesion and the health status of populations: the role of neo-liberalism. Social Science & Medicine 51 (2000).
  • Definition of Social Environment by Eliz Barnett & Michele Casper
  • Duhl LJ. Leadership in American Communities. Nat Civic Rev. 1997
  • Erenreich, B. The Snarling Citizen. 1995. An Epidemic of Munchausen's Syndrome, p. 190.
  • Flower J. Beyond Economics: Healthy Communities and Healthy Economies. National Civic Review. 1997.
  • Galen Institute:
  • Hardin, Garrett. The Tragedy of the Commons. 1968.
  • House, P. In Defense of Grass. Ballard News-Tribune, 11/22/00.
  • Israel BA, Checkoway B, Schulz A, Zimmerman M. Health education and community empowerment: Conceptualizing & measuring perceptions of individual, organizational, & community control. Health Ed Q. 1994
  • Kunstler JH. Auto-Slum Nation. Speech to the 1997 Seaside Property owners Annual Meeting.
  • Putnam, R. Bowling Alone: America's Declining Social Capital. Journal of Democracy. 6:1, Jan 1995.
  • Sarasohn, D. Taking (Back) the Initiative. The Nation. June 18, 2001.


    If you would like to request academic accommodations due to a disability, please contact Disabled Student Services, 448 Schmitz, 543-8924 (V/TDD). If you have a letter from Disabled Student Services indicating you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to us so we can discuss the accommodations you might need for the class.

    You will be expected to:
  • Read relevant book chapters and articles.
  • Conduct regular meetings of your working group.
  • Create a work plan for your working group, negotiated with the instructors.
  • Produce the deliverables in your work plans (eg, press releases, meeting minutes, memos, interview notes, plans, field trips, volunteer hours with Tent City).
  • Post deliverables to the class website in a timely way so that all can see the products prior to each class.
  • Contribute to the class blog.
  • Show up to class on time and actively participate.
  • Be creative, analytical, thoughtful, and active.
  • Keep a "log" of your activities, thoughts, readings, and research based on this class. We will show you how to acquire and maintain a "Log Book."

    Grading is not competitive. You will be graded individually based on your demonstration of learning and advancement beyond the level at which you began the course. Our goal is to ensure that your knowledge base about community development for health has been markedly expanded.

    Grading will be weighted as follows:
    Work plan postings to website 65%
    Readings reflections "thought pieces" 15%
    Class participation 15%
    Book report 5%

    Written assignments (work plan postings, readings reflections "thought pieces," and book report) will be graded on how well students meet the assignment specifications, level of creativity demonstrated, and quality of writing. We're looking for insight, ability to make connections among the readings and to themes in the class, and quality of writing. Class participation is graded on quality of student remarks in class, demonstration that readings were done and understood, and the ability to regularly share insights without dominating.

    All homework is graded as a check, a check-plus or a check-minus. Check-plus work gets a 4.0, check work is a 3.5, and check-minus is between 2.0 and 3.0, depending on the quality of the work. Basically, if you do good work on time and participate in the class sessions, you should earn a 3.5 in the course.


    The Department of Health Services has established descriptive statements for numerical grades are guidelines for the assignment of grades to graduate students. See the Numerical Grade Interpretive Statement.
    Please also refer to: Academic Honesty: Cheating and Plagiarism


    Instructors are available to work individually with students who wish additional sources of information. E-mail is the most efficient way to contact us, either for information or to make an appointment: Amy's email or Peter's email . We can schedule telephone appointments to meet your needs. Peter is located at 4311 11th Av. NE #205, between Roosevelt and 11th Av. NE, just south of NE 45th St. Phone is 685-3676 or 616-4985; campus mailbox 354982.  Amy is located just north of Peter, at 4534 11th Av. NE, with phone 616-4989 and campus box 354809. 

    Return to H-Serv 572 home page.