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Contemporary Medicine and Society

Code: 106236 ECTS Credits: 6
Degree Type Year Semester
2504235 Science, Technology and Humanities OB 3 2


Jorge Molero Mesa

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Objectives and Contextualisation

This subject approaches the analysis of medicine as a political, social and cultural phenomenon, and examines historical conceptions of health and illness, the relationship between health professionals and patients, or the emergence of public health and current challenges of global health. Among other issues, the subject explores the influence of sociocultural factors in the construction of the concepts of health and illness and the appearance of the determinants of health.


  • Develop and communicate orally and in writing the objectives and results of research projects on science, technology and society, using techniques for managing scientific information.
  • Explain the basic concepts related to life, its origin and evolution, especially those referring to health and illness throughout history.
  • Identify the various philosophical, ethical and sociological conceptions of science and technology and recognise their evolution throughout history.
  • Recognise the political, social and cultural dimension of science and technology development in the different historical periods.
  • Work collaboratively in teams.

Learning Outcomes

  1. Correctly use databases and bibliographic, encyclopaedic and lexicographical reference works in the health sciences.
  2. Describe the historical factors conditioning the globalisation of health problems and international strategies on health.
  3. Develop a critical attitude by studying controversies in the history of medicine.
  4. Develop a diachronic view of the role of care centres and social and health care agents, in order to assess their past and present contribution to fighting illness and improving health in the population.
  5. Identify the origins and the institutionalisation of scientific activity, together with the epistemological bases of scientific thought in the health sciences.
  6. Notice how closely living conditions and the social distribution of health and illness in the population are intertwined.
  7. Produce papers as part of a group.
  8. Recognise the essential elements of the medical profession as a result of a scientific, social and cultural evolution, including ethical principles, legal responsibilities and patient-centred professional practice.
  9. Recognise the states of health and illness as socially determined constructs which change from culture to culture and over time.
  10. Specify the historical factors conditioning the configuration of the various national health systems.
  11. Understand the human being as a multidimensional entity, in which the interrelationship of biological, psychological, social, ecological and historical factors has an impact on states of health and illness, together with the manifestations of these.


1: Introduction. Health and disease in the history of human populations.

2: Medicine as a sociocultural phenomenon.

3: Social history of medical assistance.

4: Political thought and medicalization process.

5: Medicine and gender: Androcentrism in medical theories and practices.

6: Health in the Welfare State and in an unequal world.

7: Evidence-based medicine


The teaching-learning methodology of the subject includes three types of activities: directed face-to-face activities, supervised activities and autonomous activities. Directed face-to-face activities will consist of theoretical and practical classroom classes where the teaching team will explain the framework in which the contents and basis of the subject included in the program are framed. Supervised activities will consist of scheduled academic counseling sessions. The independent activities will be dedicated to the students' study, reading and academic works.

Annotation: Within the schedule set by the centre or degree programme, 15 minutes of one class will be reserved for students to evaluate their lecturers and their courses or modules through questionnaires.


Title Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Type: Directed      
CLASSROOM PRACTICES (PAUL) 16 0.64 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, 1
THEORY (TE) 33 1.32 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 5, 6, 8, 9
Type: Supervised      
ORAL PRESENTATION / EXPOSITION OF WRITTEN WORKS 8 0.32 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, 1
Type: Autonomous      
PREPARATION OF WRITTEN WORKS 25 1 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, 1
SELF-STUDY 14 0.56 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 5, 6, 8, 9


The evaluation of this subject consists in:

1. Written works: 30%

2. Resolution of problems and oral defence of works 20%

2. Final evaluation exam: 50%.


On carrying out each evaluation activity, lecturers will inform students (on Moodle) of the procedures to be followed for reviewing all grades awarded, and the date on which such a review will take place.

In the event of a student committing any irregularity that may lead to a significant variation in the grade awarded to an assessment activity, the student will be given a zero for this activity, regardless of any disciplinary process that may take place. In the event of several irregularities in assessment activities of the same subject, the student will be given a zero as the final grade for this subject.

Students will obtain a “Not assessed/Not submitted” course grade unless they have submitted more than 30 % of the assessment items.

A minimum grade of 5 out of 10 points in the final exam is an indispensable requirement to pass the subject. It is also an indispensable requirement to evaluate the subject to have delivered all the jobs and practices requested during the course.




The single assessment consists of a written test with questions relating to theory and classroom practices with a weight of 50%, preparation of a work with a weight of 30% and oral defense of the same work with a weight of 20%.

In order for the assessment to be effective, the student must pass each one of the different tests separately and must obtain a minimum final grade of 5 out of 10.

Assessment Activities

Title Weighting Hours ECTS Learning Outcomes
Seminars: Evaluation through practical cases and resolution of problems and oral defence of works 20% 2 0.08 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, 1
Theory: Assessments written 50% 2 0.08 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 5, 6, 8, 9
Written works 30% 0 0 11, 2, 3, 4, 10, 7, 5, 6, 8, 9, 1


Specific bibliography

López Piñero, José María. La medicina en la historia. Madrid: La Esfera de los Libros; 2002.

López Piñero, Jose María; Terrada Ferrandis, Maria Luz. Introducción a la medicina. Barcelona: Crítica; 2000.

Barona Vilar, Josep Lluís, editor. Manual de Historia de la Medicina. Valencia: Editorial Tirant lo Blanch; 2023.

Barona Vilar, Josep Lluís. Introducció a la medicina. València: Universitat de València; 1992.

Rodríguez Ocaña, Esteban. Por la salud de las naciones. Higiene, microbiología y medicina social. Madrid: Akal; 1992.

Harding, Sandra G. Ciencia y feminismo. Madrid: Morata; 1996.

Han, B.-C. La sociedad paliativa. Madrid: Herder Editorial. 2021

Han, B.-C. La sociedad del Cansancio. Barcelona: Herder Editorial. 2022.


Reference bibliography

Cooter, Roger: Pickstone John V. Companion to medicine in the twentieth century. London-New York: Routledge; 2003.

Porter, Dorothy. Health, Civilization and the State : A History of Public Health from Ancient to Modern Times. London-New York: Taylor & Francis Group; 1999

Ripoll Miralda, Jaume. Grec mèdic: guia per identificar termes. Barcelona: Publicacions de l'Abadia de Montserrat; 2018.

Bernabeu Mestre, Josep. El llenguatge de les ciències de la salut. Introducció a la formació de termes mèdics. València: Conselleria de Sanitat i Consum de la Generalitat Valenciana / Universitat d'Alacant; 1995.

Cueva Martín, Alejandro de la; Aleixandre Benavent, Rafael; Rodríguez i Gairín, Josep Manuel. Fonts d'informació en ciències de la salut. Valencia: Universitat de València; 2002.

Fausto-Sterling, A. Sexing the body Gender politics and the construction of sexuality. New York: Basic Books; 2000.

Aresti Esteban, N. Médicos, donjuanes y mujeres modernas: los ideales de feminidad y masculinidad en el primer tercio del siglo X. Zarautz: Universidad del País Vasco; 2001.

Sánchez Villam, M. C. Entre materia y espíritu. Modernidad y enfermedad social en la España Liberal (1833-1923). Madrid: CSIC. 2017.

Schiebinger, L. ¿Tiene sexo la mente? Las mujeres en los orígenes de la ciencia moderna, Madrid: Cátedra. 2004.


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