The Big Think on Wellness
Professor Annalise Roberts
HC S126 College Ave Campus
"Wellness is an optimal state of health of individuals and groups. There are two focal concerns: the realization of the fullest potential of an individual physically, psychologically, socially, spiritually and economically, and the fulfillment of one’s role expectations in the family, community, place of worship, workplace and other settings."
-The World Health Organization.
This course explores the vast macrocosm that makes up the $4.2 trillion wellness industry. With an eye to the past, we will examine current and future trends, discover tech interfaces, including the growing importance of block chain technology, and research how business, government, and non-profit interests have incorporated wellness into their products and services, as well as into their own workplaces.
Although it’s difficult to find a commonly agreed upon definition of “wellness,” the idea of it has penetrated almost every facet of daily life. Not only has it become a touchstone for a variety of interdisciplinary lifestyle issues (the food we eat, the clothes we wear, how and where we live, the way we learn, work, and sleep, and how we spend our leisure time), but the tenets of wellness traverse many different disciplines including medicine, engineering, food science, nutrition, education, pharmacy, psychology, politics, urban planning, architecture, industrial design, music, art, and theater.
We will develop an understanding of how the array of products and services, everything from wellness tourism, personalized vitamins, medical wearables, and plant-based meat and fish alternatives, to elder-care robots, brain optimization, music-therapy for child refugees, wellness real estate, and examples of law-suit-inspiring pseudoscience, are all parts of the burgeoning wellness marketplace.
Students will research the economic, political, social, and cultural forces impacting wellness, develop an understanding of how social ecology and heuristic and systematic thinking affect decision-making about wellness, and learn about how Design Thinking is helping providers develop better products, services and ways of communicating.