Queen's University
BMED 473 Developmental Origins of Health and Disease

BMED 473, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, will cover how the early-life environment contributes to later-life health.  Specifically, students will learn about how prenatal, neonatal, and early childhood exposures and environments contribute to health and disease later in life, including the development of numerous non-communicable diseases affecting numerous organ systems. Mechanisms of how these exposures are thought to contribute to the development of these diseases will also be discussed.

Minimum 4th year (Level 4) standing and PHAR 100/3.0 and BMED 372/3.0, or equivalent courses with permission from the instructor.

After completing BMED 473 Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, students will be able to:

  1. Define the hypothesis and mechanisms of the Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHAD) to explain the connection between the in utero environment and different adult diseases.
  2. Describe how and which insults to the in utero environment can disrupt development and lead to adult disease.
  3. Discuss the types of adult diseases that are associated with the DOHAD hypothesis to collaborate and discuss causes and prevention.
  4. Identify impacts of developmental disruptions and associated long-term health to advocate for policy change with health care professionals and governmental agencies.


As Collaborators, health professionals work effectively with other health care professionals to provide safe, high-quality, patient-centred care.


As Communicators, health professionals form relationships with patients and their families* that facilitate the gathering and sharing of essential information for effective health care.


As Advocates, health professionals contribute their expertise and influence as they work with communities or patient populations to improve health. They work with those they serve to determine and understand needs, speak on behalf of others when required, and support the mobilization of resources to effect change.


As Leaders, health professionals engage with others to contribute to a vision of a high-quality health care system and take responsibility for the delivery of excellent patient care through their activities as clinicians, administrators, scholars, or teachers.


As Scholars, health professionals demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and by teaching others, evaluating evidence, and contributing to scholarship.


As Professionals, health professionals are committed to the health and well-being of individual patients and society through ethical practice, high personal standards of behaviour, accountability to the profession and society, physician-led regulation, and maintenance of personal health.

Assessment 1 – Module tests (30%)

Upon the completion of each module (a total of three), students will be write short tests, ensuring comprehension of the material covered in each module. These questions will consist of short or long answer questions, focusing on integration of material as opposed to strict memorization. Each test will be worth 10%.

Assessment 2 – Written Report (20%)

Students will be expected to write a report based on a specific type or group of in utero exposures that are related to later-in-life diseases. Students will need to conduct independent literature searches to gain information pertaining to mechanisms of disease progression, as well as characteristics of the adult disease.

Assessment 3 – Advocacy Presentation (20%)

Working in small groups, students will research and orally present adult disease states that have a connection to in utero origins to a small tutorial group. In addition to discussing the impact of this disease state on society as well as the characteristics of the disease, students will need to determine the current support groups, prevention strategies, and policies in place for combating the impact of these diseases, and advocate for change as each group sees fit.

Assessment 4 – Advocacy Report (20%)

As a continuation from Assessment 3, groups will receive feedback in the form of discussion and writing from other members of their tutorial group. Groups will be expected to consider and incorporate appropriate feedback into a written summary of their group presentation. In addition to being evaluated on their written assignment, students will also be evaluated based on the professionalism and quality of feedback provided to other groups.

Students will be required to participate in a TA-facilitated tutorial/discussion to facilitate peer feedback in the group assignment. Students will also have the opportunity to interact with the instructor through regular online “office hours”.

Required Texts

BMED 473 course notes via modules posted online.

Queen’s students, faculty, administrators and staff all have responsibilities for supporting and upholding the fundamental values of academic integrity. Academic integrity is constituted by the five core fundamental values of honesty, trust, fairness, respect and responsibility (see http://www.academicintegrity.org) and by the quality of courage. These values and qualities are central to the building, nurturing and sustaining of an academic community in which all members of the community will thrive. Adherence to the values expressed through academic integrity forms a foundation for the "freedom of inquiry and exchange of ideas" essential to the intellectual life of the University.

Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with and adhering to the regulations concerning academic integrity. General information on academic integrity is available at Integrity@Queen's University, along with Faculty or School specific information. Departures from academic integrity include, but are not limited to, plagiarism, use of unauthorized materials, facilitation, forgery and falsification. Actions which contravene the regulation on academic integrity carry sanctions that can range from a warning, to loss of grades on an assignment, to failure of a course, to requirement to withdraw from the university.

Specifically, for BMED 473 Developmental Origins of Health and Disease, students must express themselves in their own words, and cite sources when they use outside information. Verbatim copying of the module text or textbook is considered plagiarism and is a breach of academic integrity. Further, lying and misrepresentation are dishonest and violate the core values of academic integrity.

All components of this course will receive numerical percentage marks. The final grade received for the course will be derived by converting the student’s numerical course average to a letter grade according to Queen’s Official Grade Conversion Scale.