Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

We are constantly reminded that health is global in nature, affecting populations irrespective of country, culture and ideology. Responses to challenges in health therefore need to be global as well, transcending national boundaries, governments and health care systems. In addition, global health depends on development and prosperity that is achieved without irreversible depletion of natural resources and exploitation of environments. This unit will equip students with the theoretical and practical knowledge related to global health and sustainable development. Students will learn about health as a human right, the concept of social justice as well as sustainability in health and the sustainable development goals. They will distinguish the terms international, global and globalization; they will identify who are the main players in global health and critique the roles that these players have; they will discuss goal setting for global health improvement as well as global health inequalities, and global health and environmental health; the role of trans-national corporations will be examined; threats to global health and sustainability will be identified. The aim will be to equip students with sufficient knowledge about global health to be able to interpret trends in the global health literature as well as deepen students' appreciation of the interdependence of global health and sustainable development using contemporary examples and case studies.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Demonstrate specialised knowledge of global health and sustainable development including the role of actors in global health, goal setting for global health improvement, and global health inequalities;(GA1, GA5, GA8) 

LO2 - Critically assess  the relationship between global health and the physical environmental  (GA2, GA4, GA5)

LO3 - Evaluate the roles and responsibilities of multi-national corporations in global health (GA3, GA6)

LO4 - Critically discuss a global response/challenge that threatens global health and sustainability (GA2, GA4, GA6, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA3 - apply ethical perspectives in informed decision making

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 


The role of actors in global health 

  • Brief history of global health;  
  • Identification and critiquing of the strengths and weaknesses of the main organisational players in global health; 
  • Role of philanthropic organisations in global health;  
  • Global health governance; role of WHO, World Bank and IMF  
  • Limitations of NGOs in relation to global health 


Goal setting for global health improvement 

  • The history of goal setting (Ottawa Charter, ‘Health for All’, MDGs, SDGs) 
  • The effectiveness of goal setting 
  • Transitioning from MDGs to SDG 


Global health inequalities 

  • Contemporary data on global health inequalities 
  • Health as a human right / social justice issue 
  • Infant, child and maternal mortality 
  • Impact of health care system structure (e.g. USA versus Australia) 
  • Intra-country inequalities in health 
  • Geographic variation in health inequalities  


Global health and environmental health 

  • Air pollution 
  • Water pollution 
  • Global consumption and consumerism as drivers of pollution 
  • Climate change, sustainability and human health 
  • The role of multi-national corporations 


The role of multi-national corporations

Case study: Tobacco 

  • Tobacco as a global commodity 
  • Tobacco companies have global reach 
  • Target poorer countries who have weaker regulatory frameworks 
  • WHO work on Framework Convention for Tobacco Control 
  • Australia versus Philip Morris 


What can we learn from global health events / actions ?


Case studies: e.g. H1N1  and HIV/AIDS 

  • How did global health actors respond and what did we learn? 


Case study: e.g. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative 

  • How successful has it been? 
  • Where and why polio eradication has encountered problems (e.g. Syria, Nigeria and Pakistan, for different reasons)? 
  • What are we learning? 
  • Do these case studies suggest that different global health actors are more able / appropriate to respond to different types of events? 


Threats to global health and sustainability 

The threat of newly emerging and re-emerging diseases 

  • Relationship with vulnerable or failing states 
  • What that means in a globalised world? 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

PUBH640 is offered in both multi-mode and online mode. 


Multi-mode: in multi-mode, this unit is delivered primarily via face-to-face sessions on campus (e.g. lectures, seminars). The unit uses an active learning approach where activities support students to acquire essential theoretical knowledge. Online content (e.g. readings) and infrastructure (e.g. turnitin) via the ACU Learning Environment Online (LEO) also supports this acquisition. Students are supported to synthesize their knowledge by attending face to face sessions. Students will work with each other to develop a deep understanding of content to inform both the critique of global responses to an enviromental health challenge and culminating in the design of an evaluation of a global health initiative. 


Online mode: in online mode, students acquire essential theoretical knowledge via a series of asynchronous online lessons which includes: recorded on-campus lecture content; online readings, online discussion forums and self-directed learning activities. Students are given the opportunity to attend facilitated synchronous online tutorial classes (virtual classroom via adobe connect) to participate in the development and synthesis of this knowledge with other students to develop a level of understanding sufficient to critique global responses to an environmental health challenge and culminating in the design of an evaluation of a global health initiative. 

The learning and teaching strategies of this unit are designed to allow students to meet the aims, learning outcomes of the unit, and graduate attributes of the University. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to engage actively with unit content and learning activities.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Please note assessment is the same for students undertaking either multi-mode or online mode. 


A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks and obtain an aggregate mark of at least 50%. 


The assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to critique global responses to infectious diseases and design an evaluation of a global health initiative. In order to develop the knowledge and skills required to achieve the learning outcomes and Graduate Attributes, students first demonstrate knowledge through an short answer assignment, further develop their understanding through synthesising this knowledge in the development of a critique of global responses to an environmental health challenge, and apply their understanding in an authentic way through the design of an evaluation of a global health initiative. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Written task: Short report which will enable students to acquire, through reflection and written discussion, advanced knowledge of key concepts in global health



GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA8 

Assessment 2: Written task which will enable students to assimilate knowledge and integrate theory and practice of global health challenges by critiquing a global response to an environmental health challenge.  


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA4, GA8, GA9 

Assessment 3: Written task enabling students to apply their understanding of global health and sustainability by designing an evaluation of a global health initiative 


Graded Hurdle

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA6, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Representative texts:

 New Public Health Fran Baum 2017

 Public Health: Local and Global Perspectives. Ed. Pranee Liamputtong 2016 Cambridge University Press

Recommended references

Global Health 2035: A world converging within a generation,

Key Messages:

 Further reading

Jamieson et al Global health 2035: a world converging within a generation The Lancet 2013; 382: 1898–955

 The Guardian Inequality index: where are the world's most unequal countries? Apr 26, 2017

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