By Sam Swart – The Collegiate Staff
Grand Rapids Community College has been focusing more on approving new classes that transfer to four-year universities.
One such class that has recently been approved, is a social sciences class called History of Medicine and Diseases (HS220), proposed and secured by GRCC’s Professor Susan Williams.
Williams has high hopes for this new class.
“I’ve taught a couple of seminars in the past about the Black Death,” Williams said. “So this one is going to be a bit more broad in focus.”
HS220 will focus on the evolution of ideas, within the realm of medical advances. At the same time, there will be more extensive emphasis based around the history of past epidemics, such as the Black Death, one of history’s most catastrophic plagues. And others going back as far as 600 A.D.
“We’re going to use three major outbreaks of the past as framework, to talk about how ideas about science and medicine and the human body change over time,” Williams said. “The idea about how things work were very, very different in the 600’s than they are in the modern day.”
This class is not only relevant for students with interests in history, itself, but it will also be relevant to student pursuing a degree relating to various medical fields. As Williams explains, today, in order to understand why patients react the way they do, one must understand the history behind what we once believed.
“It’s important for people who plan to be health care providers, or plan to work in medicine, just because you know what causes a disease, or an ailment, doesn’t mean the average people do,” Williams said. “Certain diseases have been socially constructed in the minds of people for centuries. Having a better understanding of the social construction of these illnesses, helps them to better communicate with the populations which they’re trying to heal.”
Williams earned her A.B.D from Indiana University, Bloomington, majoring in East European History with a minor in History of Gender and Sexuality. From there, she earned her M.A. of European History from the University of Cincinnati before she began teaching at the GRCC campus. Williams has been a professor of European History and Gender Studies Coordinator at GRCC in the Social Sciences building.
HS220 is a three-credit class and will be available for enrollment this winter semester and is a three-credit class. For more information, follow the link below.