Amsterdam, Netherlands

Epidemics and Social Science: a Holistic Approach

online course
when 4 July 2022 - 15 July 2022
language English
duration 2 weeks
credits 4 EC
fee EUR 800

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa (2014-2016) was a turning point for the role of the social sciences in disease outbreak control. The emergency response was led by a biomedical approach, focusing on the treatment of the outbreak and not the culture surrounding it. But for many West-African people, the clinical response was feared as much as the disease itself, and community resistance even led to the killing of healthcare responders and amplified the outbreak. This course investigates the contribution of the social sciences to disease outbreak preparedness, response and recovery – encouraging participants to approach epidemic threats from a variety of sociocultural perspectives.

Course leader

Dr. Danny de Vries
Aphaluck Bhatiasevi

Target group

For current university students (advanced Bachelors, Masters, Postgraduate) and Professionals in the social and behavioural sciences and medicine with an interest infectious threats, international development, and health.

Course aim

At a conference in Luxembourg in 2015, Dr Margaret Chan, then Director of the World Health Organization, urged for increased attention in the realms of community engagement and culture to combat the outbreak: “we need to invest more time to understand the culture… we need to work with anthropologists, so we can communicate with the communities.” So, how do social scientists contribute effectively to epidemic preparedness and response?

This three-week summer course trains social scientists in the social aspects of epidemic preparedness and responses from global and local perspectives, to enable them to develop research and expertise for developing relevant studies during or after outbreaks on various continents. This “epidemic social science” is a holistic engagement with social, cultural, economic and political factors as they affect, and are affected by outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics, with a focus on how people (communities, responders, and others) experience, engage and negotiate these circumstances.

Fee info

EUR 800: Tuition fee. Including all course materials and access to the University's digital learning environment (for example the digital library).