Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


PUBH100 Foundations of Public Health OR PUBH102 Foundations of Health Promotion

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning

Unit rationale, description and aim

It is widely recognized within the Public Health that progressive social advocacy is a requirement to address a myriad of social determinants of health. Along with traditional scientific population health knowledge, it is understood that skills in influencing social policy and programs is central to illness prevention effectiveness. This unit introduces students to the concepts of progressive social advocacy and its application to organisational structures and cultures in the public health sector. Social advocacy entails innovations designed to explicitly improve societal well-being, housed within advocacy organisations, which initiate, guide or contribute to change in society. It provides an understanding of how organisations work, how power works; how decisions are made and how resources are allocated which are all instrumental to be able to effectively address the social determinants of health. The characteristics of successful organisational actors will be illustrated. This unit exposes students to major theories and concepts of organisational dynamics, ways of applying these to public health issues requiring leadership, and provides an opportunity for students to develop skills and resources for further developing their organisational competence. It also critically evaluates ethical issues in leadership; social advocacy and accountability. Strategies to ensure creative and effective policies and programs addressing social determinants of health within the limits of organisational contexts will be examined. Students will understand how to raise the visibility of public health issues and lead social change. Where appropriate students will learn about the skills, knowledge required for culturally appropriate, respectful and social justice informed Public Health advocacy responses to support indigenous communities. The overall aim of the unit is to enhance students' ability to raise the visibility of public health issues and lead social change.

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 the key concepts, frameworks and terminology associated with Public Health Advocacy (GA: 2, 4, 5) 

LO2 - Discuss the relationship between Public Health Advocacy and contemporary political, economic, social and global contexts (GA: 4, 5) 

LO3 - Summarise the skills and strategies required for effective Public Health Advocacy to address social determinants of health (GA: 2, 3, 4, 5) 

LO4 - Apply knowledge of Public Health Advocacy practice to different programs, health issues and settings. (GA: 7) 

Graduate attributes

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 

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 


Topics will include: 


  • Link between social determinants of health and public health advocacy organisations. 
  • Theoretical frameworks for analysing organisational dynamics 
  • Theories of leadership and public health advocacy. 
  • Examples of Community Advocacy in public health 
  • Tools to analyse organisational problems 
  • Case studies on public health organisational structures and culture Australia and internationally to enable effective analysis of public health work 
  • Improving effectiveness, efficiency and equity within public health activities 
  • Strategic planning within public health to ensure social determinants of health are addressed effectively 

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 both lectures and tutorials, using an active learning approach to support students in the exploration of the essential knowledge associated with critical understanding of relevance of social determinants of health. Students are able to explore this essential knowledge in a series of on-campus lecture style classes, which will also be recorded allowing asynchronous access. Students are required to attend facilitated tutorial classes to participate in the co-construction and synthesis of this knowledge with other students so as to develop a level of understanding sufficient to critically interrogate the various modes of advocacy within public health. This approach is designed to ensure learning within a proximal social environment and allows for essential skill development with expert support. An issues-based curriculum ensures that students are actively engaged in applying economic concepts.   

Should this unit be offered in multiple modes then a learning and teaching strategy and rationale is required for each mode of delivery. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks. In addition to this, students must obtain an aggregate mark of greater than 50%. In order to reward students for engagement and performance, they will be awarded a final graded result.  


The assessment strategy used allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to apply alternative social advocacy models to public health issues. The assessment strategy commences with a lower (Blooms) level and lower weighted assessment in the form of a brief online quiz to scaffold understanding. Students are then required to demonstrate deeper learning by assimilation of this knowledge in an essay that synthesises key advocacy concepts including their strengths and shortcomings. Students are then given the opportunity to progress to the more sophisticated application and analysis of a public health issue from the perspective of an public health advocate. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Quiz. To enable and assess students’ comprehension of key concepts 



GA2, GA4, GA5 

Assessment 2: Written Critical Analysis of Public Health program activity. To enable and assess students’ ability to compare and evaluate programs to demonstrate their ability to draw conclusions about 



LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7 

Assessment 3: Written Health Advocacy Project Proposal. To enable and assess students’ ability to apply understanding and skills to a specific health issue and 



LO2, LO3, LO4 

GA2, GA3, GA4, GA5, GA7 

Representative texts and references

Donohoe, M. (2012). Public Health and Social Justice A Jossey-Bass Reader (Public Health/Vulnerable Populations). New York: Wiley.  


Taket, A. (2012). Health Equity, Social Justice and Human Rights (Routledge studies in public health Health equity, social justice, and human rights). Hoboken: Taylor and Francis  


Jones, A., & May, J. (1995). Working in Human Service Organisations: A Critical Introduction. Longman. 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs