Welcome to Health & Society

If there is one thing that HESO teaches you, it is that you have to look beyond the clouds to see the blue in the sky.

Amanda Pierre
HESO Graduate, Class of 2017

To see health in its social context is to look beyond the limits of medicine, to a much wider set of questions that engage social, cultural, political and moral aspects of human experience.

The Health & Society (HESO) Program provides students with a toolkit for understanding health and illness, both as lived realities and as reflections of larger social, cultural and political processes, on a scale ranging from the interpersonal to the international. We value the kind of practical knowledge gained from experiential learning and seek to combine this with the development of a rigorous critical analysis. Taken together, the courses that comprise a HESO degree give students a truly comprehensive understanding of health.

News and Events


Congratulations to Prof. Emilia Nielsen for her recent publication "The Problem of Standardized Breast Cancer Narratives" in the Canadian Medical Association Journal! Dr. Nielsen also spoke about the subject in a CMAJ podcast (via SoundCloud). 

HESO held a Halloween Mixer on October 31, 2019. 

HESO held a Meet & Greet on October 03, 2019. 

HESO has a new Twitter account at @YorkU_HESO

The Health and Society program in the Department of Social Science is happy to announce our first annual lecture, Thursday, 14 February 2019, at 2:00pm, with Dr. OmiSoore Dryden (Thorneloe University at Laurentian). Her paper, To Notice Blackness: Blood Codes, “Sexual Deviance,” and Health Equity, focuses on the legacies of colonialism and anti-black racism, which shape knowledge about blood and blood safety. Specifically, how contemporary discourses of blood impact Black personhood. Everyone is welcome to this event. Poster.


The School of Nursing is having a talk and book launch featuring Personal and Political: Stories from the Women’s Health Movement 1960-2010 with Dr. Lorraine Greaves- Centre of Excellence in Women’s Health. Friday, November 16 at noon in the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Building, Room 1005. More information in the poster.