Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PUBH100 Foundations of Public Health AND PUBH200 Globalisation, Environment and Health

Unit rationale, description and aim

To promote and protect population health, public health professionals must understand and respond to contemporary and emerging health challenges. These issues change over time, and are reflected in the concerns of public health agencies worldwide. In this unit, students will gain an in-depth understanding of key contemporary and emerging public health challenges, their determinants and approaches to addressing them. Drawing on the expertise of public health staff, it will help students to gain knowledge about public health challenges such as the growing burden of non-communicable disease risk factors; emerging and resurgent infectious diseases; urbanisation and environmental change; gender and health; and global health equity. This knowledge will be applied though case studies in Australia and internationally. The unit aims to provide students with advanced skills and insights for future public health practice.

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 - Describe key contemporary public health challenges and their determinants (GA: 5, 8) 

LO2 - Analyse the public health implications of current policies and programmes (GA: 4, 5, 8) 

LO3 - Evaluate current evidence to identify pressing public health issues and evidence-based approaches to addressing them (GA: 4, 5, 8) 

LO4 - Develop and advocate for healthy public policy and effective public health interventions that reduce health inequities (GA: 3, 4, 5, 6, 8) 

Graduate attributes

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 


Topics will include (but are not limited to): 


Overview of contemporary issues in public health 

  • Contemporary disease trends, including the double burden on infectious and non-communicable diseases 
  • Key policy and environmental determinants of contemporary disease patterns 


Identifying and addressing contemporary issues in public health 

  • Mechanisms by which key issues are identified, quantified and communicated 
  • Processes by which key issues are prioritised 
  • The role of advocacy in priority setting 
  • Case studies of current national and international public health priorities 
  • Evidence-based public health practice and problem-solving 
  • Identifying and addressing health inequities 
  • Designing effective public health interventions 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is offered in attendance mode to ensure high quality interactive and constructive peer learning. This unit comprises weekly lectures and tutorials during the semester, using an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of contemporary public health issues and practices. The unit uses on-campus lectures to teach essential theory and concepts (lectures are also recorded to allow asynchronous access). This learning is then reinforced through facilitated tutorial activities that support students to synthesise knowledge and develop deep understanding of contemporary and emerging health issues, and develop and justify evidence-based public health interventions. Online content (e.g. readings, videos and lecture recordings) via ACU’s Learning Environment Online (LEO) also supports this acquisition.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment tasks will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. To complete this unit successfully, students need to obtain an aggregate mark of greater than 50%. Assessment in this unit will comprise two assignments and an end of semester exam. 


This assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they can apply key public health principles to the analysis and development of evidence-based public health strategies. The first two assessment tasks focus on researching a contemporary public health challenge, and then developing an evidence-based strategy to address the issue in a particular context. The first assessment task is a report plan, which requires students to identify key evidence and outline their planned arguments. For the second (major) assessment, they will then develop this into a fully-researched written report. The final assessment for this unit will comprise an end of semester take-home exam that assesses understanding and application of knowledge gained in this unit. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Report plan 

Require students to demonstrate research skills and development of key arguments 


LO1, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Report: develop an evidence-based strategy to address a contemporary public health issue 

Require students to apply evidence and knowledge to develop and advocate for an effective public health strategy  


LO3, LO4 

GA3, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA8 


Require students to demonstrate understanding and application of knowledge gained in this unit 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA8 

Representative texts and references

Baum F. (2016). Part 8: Public health in the twenty-first century. In The New Public Health. (4th ed.) 

South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 


Dyakova, M., Hamelmann, C., Bellis, M. A., Besnier, E., Grey, C. N. B., Ashton, K., ... & Clar, C. (2017). Investment for health and well-being: a review of the social return on investment from public health policies to support implementing the Sustainable Development Goals by building on Health 2020. Copenhagen: WHO Regional Office for Europe. 


Somerset S, Robinson P, & Kelsall H (2017). Foundation competencies for public health graduates in Australia (2nd ed.). Canberra: Council of Academic Public Health Institutions Australia. 


Watts, N., Adger, W. N., Agnolucci, P., Blackstock, J., Byass, P., Cai, W., ... & Cox, P. M. (2015). Health and climate change: policy responses to protect public health. The Lancet, 386(10006), 1861-1914. 


World Health Organization, & UN Habitat. (2016). Global report on urban health: equitable healthier cities for sustainable development. Italy: World Health Oorganization. 

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