New Health Science Course

Black and gold graphic bar
  March 19, 2004

Margie Yu
Public Affairs Specialist 
(323) 343-3047



Cal State L.A. 
Office of Public Affairs 
(323) 343-3050 
Fax: (323) 343-6405

For immediate release:
Cal State L.A. to Offer Course
on "Sex, Drugs and Hip-Hop"’

Los Angeles, CA -- California State University, Los Angeles, has assembled a team of experts to teach “Sex, Drugs and Hip-Hop,” a new course offered as part of the health science curriculum beginning this spring quarter. The HS491 course will critically examine hip-hop in the United States, focusing on the influence of this cultural genre on debates about drug use, sex, gender relations, poverty and discrimination.

Beginning with an overview of the social and political foundations of hip-hop culture, this four-unit course will utilize debates about hip-hop music as a tool for examining some of the most pressing health issues facing young people today. In addition to substance abuse, the class will examine the relationship between drug use and sexual behavior among young people and the health-related consequences for youth and their communities.

Course co-instructor Justeen Hyde, assistant professor of pediatrics at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, notes: “Moving beyond simple cause-and-effect relations between drugs, sexual behavior and negative health consequences, the course is designed to stimulate thinking about the socio-political contexts in which risk behavior among young people occurs.”

Although hip-hop music is heavily criticized for its promotion of health-compromising behaviors among youth, the course concludes with a discussion about its creative potential, says Hyde. “With the potential to reach across boundaries of gender, race, class, and socioeconomic status, hip-hop is a potentially powerful medium for engaging young people in efforts to create positive change within themselves, their families, and their communities.”

The following are objectives of the course: (1) to trace the roots of hip-hop music and its influence on contemporary youth culture; (2) to examine the cultural influences of hip-hop music on dominant representations of drug use, sexual behavior, and gender relations among minority youth in the United States; (3) to identify the impact of drug use in the United States on youth, their families and their communities; (4) to discuss the relationship between drug use and sexual behavior among young people, focusing particularly on the potential consequences on health; and (5) to identify ways in which popular culture can be used for positive youth development.

The HS491 class will meet every Monday, 4:20-8:10 p.m., during spring quarter from March 29-June 12 (location to be determined). For more information on the course, contact Angela Hegamin, Health Science Program, Cal State L.A., at (323) 343-4711.

WORKING FOR CALIFORNIA – California State University, Los Angeles: A comprehensive university at the heart of a major metropolitan city. The 175-acre hilltop campus is located five miles east of Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. Since 1947, Cal State L.A. has been a leader in providing quality higher education. Today, the campus comprises a faculty of internationally recognized scholars and artists, and more than 21,000 students with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds that reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Cal State L.A. is one of 23 campuses in the CSU system.

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