Sex and Gender Basis of Life, Wellness and Disease

I.     Course Prefix/Number: BIO 110

       Course Name: Sex and Gender Basis of Life, Wellness and Disease

       Credits: 3 (3 lecture; 0 lab)

II.    Prerequisite


III.   Course (Catalog) Description

Non-laboratory course explores the intersection of sex and gender with health and disease states.  Content includes an overview of the factors that influence the development of disease states; the differences between sex and gender and how they influence health and disease; history of gender and sex differences in medicine, and how sex and gender influence the development of selected disease states.

IV.   Learning Objectives

After successfully completing this course, a student should be able to:

  1. Compare the different factors that influence the maintenance of wellness and development of disease states.
  2. Evaluate the history of gender and sex differences in medicine.
  3. Analyze the factors that direct the sexual development and maturation of males and females.
  4. Differentiate between the influence of sex and gender on human health and disease states

Learning Outcomes

By the completion of your biology courses at Oakton, you will have gained the experience to.....

  1. Think critically – identify, define, analyze, interpret, and evaluate ideas, concepts, information, problems, solutions, and consequences. This includes the ability to compute and comprehend quantitative information and to engage in the scientific process.
  2. Communicate – communicate ideas, concepts, and information through written and oral means. Collaborate with people of diverse backgrounds and abilities.
  3. Demonstrate literacy – demonstrate the ability to read critically within content areas. Use technology to locate, evaluate, and communicate data, information, ideas, and concepts. Assess, critique, and select from a variety of information resources.
  4. Demonstrate responsibility – demonstrate an understanding of personal responsibility and ethical behavior in one’s own academic and civic life.

V.    Academic Integrity and Student Conduct

Students and employees at Oakton Community College are required to demonstrate academic integrity and follow Oakton's Code of Academic Conduct. This code prohibits:

• cheating,
• plagiarism (turning in work not written by you, or lacking proper citation),
• falsification and fabrication (lying or distorting the truth),
• helping others to cheat,
• unauthorized changes on official documents,
• pretending to be someone else or having someone else pretend to be you,
• making or accepting bribes, special favors, or threats, and
• any other behavior that violates academic integrity.

There are serious consequences to violations of the academic integrity policy. Oakton's policies and procedures provide students a fair hearing if a complaint is made against you. If you are found to have violated the policy, the minimum penalty is failure on the assignment and, a disciplinary record will be established and kept on file in the office of the Vice President for Student Affairs for a period of 3 years.

Please review the Code of Academic Conduct and the Code of Student Conduct, both located online at

VI.   Sequence of Topics


  1. Introduction to sex and gender in health (corresponds to learning objective 1-2)
    1. Overview of sociological factors that can influence the development of disease states (class, race, sex, gender)
    2. Biological sex vs. gender (social and cultural influences) on health
    3. Development of gender medicine and comparison to women’s health
  2. History of gender medicine and women’s health (corresponds to learning objective 2)
    1. Historical use of clinical studies to understand sex and gender differences of health
    2. Women’s health movement in United States
  3. Introduction to the Reproductive System through the life cycle (corresponds to learning objective 3)
    1. Hormones and reproductive organs
    2. Sexual development
      1. Prenatal and postnatal sexual differentiation
      2. Puberty
    3. Menstrual cycle
    4. Spermatogenesis
    5. Reproductive aging – menopause
    6. Reproductive aging – andropause
  4. Body Systems and Gendered Medicine (corresponds to learning objective 4)
    (instructors are not restricted to the following disease states; however, 6-8 disease states should be covered in at least three different physiological systems)
    1. Nervous system
      1. Overview of anatomy and physiology of brain
      2. Development of the female brain and the male brain
      3. Overview of the disease state
      4. Sex and Gendered differences in diseases, prevention and education
        1. Migraines, headaches
        2. Stroke
        3. Epilepsy
        4. Sleep
        5. Alzheimer’s disease
    2. Cardiovascular system
      1. Overview of anatomy and physiology of heart and blood vessels
      2. Overview of the disease states
      3. Gendered differences in diseases, prevention, and education
        1. Heart attack
        2. Coronary artery disease
        3. Hypertension
    3. Endocrine system
      1. Overview of anatomy and physiology of diabetes, obesity and osteoporosis
      2. Gendered differences in diseases, prevention and education
        1. Osteoporosis
        2. Diabetes
        3. Obesity

VII.  Methods of Instruction

This course will be presented by way of three hours of lecture-discussion period each week.  Supplementary audio-visual material and handouts are used. 

Course may be taught as face-to-face, hybrid or online course.

VIII. Course Practices Required

  • Reading: handouts
  • Writing:  notes, homework assignments, exams
  • Oral presentation: poster presentation

IX.   Instructional Materials

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

Readings compiled by instructor for each topic consisting of reviews from current literature

Note: Current textbook information for each course and section is available on Oakton's Schedule of Classes.

X.    Methods of Evaluating Student Progress

This will vary depending on instructor.  In general, methods of evaluation are based on objective/subjective examinations and quizzes concerning lecture material.  Homework assignments may also be included in final course evaluation.  Final grades are determined on a percentage basis.  Percentages below sixty are not passing. 

XI.   Other Course Information

This will vary depending on instructor and may include:

  • Review sessions during and outside class time.
  • Required lecture attendance.

If you have a documented learning, psychological, or physical disability you may be entitled to reasonable academic accommodations or services. To request accommodations or services, contact the Access and Disability Resource Center at the Des Plaines or Skokie campus. All students are expected to fulfill essential course requirements. The College will not waive any essential skill or requirement of a course or degree program.

Oakton Community College is committed to maintaining a campus environment emphasizing the dignity and worth of all members of the community, and complies with all federal and state Title IX requirements.

Resources and support for
  • pregnancy-related and parenting accommodations; and
  • victims of sexual misconduct
can be found at

Resources and support for LGBTQ+ students can be found at

Electronic video and/or audio recording is not permitted during class unless the student obtains written permission from the instructor. In cases where recordings are allowed, such content is restricted to personal use only. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited. Personal use is defined as use by an individual student for the purpose of studying or completing course assignments.

For students who have been approved for audio and/or video recording of lectures and other classroom activities as a reasonable accommodation by Oakton’s Access Disabilities Resource Center (ADRC), applicable federal law requires instructors to permit those recordings. Such recordings are also limited to personal use. Any distribution of such recordings is strictly prohibited.

Violation of this policy will result in disciplinary action through the Code of Student Conduct.