Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Teaching organisation

Education Pathways

Unit rationale, description and aim

Students who have a deeper knowledge and awareness of the social and cultural contexts in which they will be studying and working, and an overview of the Australian health care system, will be better prepared for their undergraduate studies in the health sciences and related workplaces. The design and inclusion of this unit supports that learning process, and assists students in gaining a better understanding of the complexities of the health care needs of Australia’s First Peoples.

The unit will explore cultural practices and values within Australia, and common social, geographic, and cultural factors related to the health needs of individuals, groups and communities. Health promotion and education, including that related to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples will be a focus. Students will be introduced to reflective practice, and have the opportunity to investigate factors that influence health care, and build on the language related to health care.  

The aim of the unit is to familiarise students with the Australian Health Care system, and to provide insight into the relevant historical, social, and cultural influences and contexts in which it operates. 

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 common social, geographic and cultural factors related to the health needs of individuals, groups and communities, with particular consideration to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples (GA1, GA2, GA5)

LO2 - Explain key concepts in the Australian health system and the role of health education in preventative health care (GA2, GA5, GA9)

LO3 - Reflect on socio-cultural aspects of Australian society to promote cultural awareness and responsiveness in a health care context (GA1, GA4, GA5, 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

GA4 - Think critically and reflectively

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

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


Topics will include: 

Culture and Identity in Australia

The First Australians and  the impact of colonisation

Migration and Multiculturalism

The Australian Health Care System

Social and Cultural Factors Affecting Health and Health Services

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander health and wellbeing

Health Promotion, and Education in Health Care

Health Professions and Governance Structures

Cultural Diversity and Cultural Competence

Perspectives of Gender Identity

Therapeutic and Clinical Communication

Introduction to Reflective Practice

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The teaching and learning strategies in this unit encourage student collaboration, participation and interaction. Active and collaborative learning strategies are promoted both within and outside the classroom setting, allowing students to explore Australian culture as well as gain an understanding of areas of public health and healthcare which are new to them. Activities involve whole class and small group work, and peer learning is developed through a variety of tasks and activities. These strategies are utilised to consolidate the understanding of content, to foster critical thinking and to promote the development of oral skills and written communication.

Face-to-face mode

This unit is delivered face-to-face on campus in a 3-hour weekly workshop. The workshop format is designed to allow students to explore content and language, and subsequently engage with content and apply skills in a classroom setting. It is aimed at maximising the students’ opportunities for interaction and communication with the tutor and with their peers, and provides practice and feedback on impromptu language use. Face-to-face mode is supported by online resources and activities available on the Learning Management System.

Online Mode

In online mode, a 3-hour synchronous weekly workshop is utilised. The workshop is broken up into sections, combining flipped classroom approaches (individual and group) with tutor-led activities and peer work. This promotes independent learning and online learning activities,  but provides a supported online experience for offshore pathway students. The tutor-facilitated components would be dedicated to extending student understanding, more personalised learning and “hands-on” activities. The aim is to maximise the students’ opportunities for interaction and communication with the tutor and with their peers, and more practice and feedback on impromptu language use.

Assessment strategy and rationale

Assessment will be equitable for students undertaking either face-to-face or online classes.

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed to enable students to demonstrate their achievement of each learning outcome. Their purpose is to assist students in preparing for the content and assessment requirements in undergraduate studies in health sciences, and to build on the knowledge and understanding of Australian culture and of key concepts in health care. Assessment design supports the skills required to communicate about health care in Australia.

The purpose of the mid semester quiz is to assess students’ knowledge of content and relevant terminology taught in the first half of the semester. This establishes a good foundation for the students and supports the assimilation of this knowledge and use of terminology in later assessments and in students’ undergraduate studies.

The purpose of the ePoster presentation and discussion is to expose students to relevant content related to health and society, and to promote collaborative work. A list of possible topics (programs, campaigns, or services) for the presentation will be provided, as well as a reference list containing common sources pertaining to the topics and to health information and statistics in general. Students will be required to undertake further searches of the library databases and academic resources to explore their topic. The presentation promotes peer support and learning, and students benefit from the resource support provided which contributes to their knowledge and understanding of health programs, campaigns and services. Posters are a form of presentation common in the health sciences discipline, and their use will require students to develop clear oral communication, which is essential for all health professionals.

The reflective writing (Assessment task 3), introduces students to the kind of reflective practice required in their learning and in the health professions. The task is scaffolded by class activities and requires students to work step by step through a reflective practice process and explore information provided in a series of texts. The task is designed to draw attention to social values and perceptions, to promote cultural awareness, and to contribute to the students’ development of cultural competence.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Mid-Semester Quiz

This task is designed to provide feedback and to assess students' knowledge and understanding of the content taught in weeks 1 to 5 of the semester. Students will be required to explain and articulate certain key concepts and terminology which will be built on throughout the unit.



GA1, GA2, GA5

Paired ePoster and Tutorial Discussion

Students will be required to work in pairs to create and present an ePoster which represents an Australian health program, campaign or service. They will need to identify what the program does, its rationale (what drove the need for it) and its target demographic. Presenters should then direct two questions to the audience and facilitate a short tutorial discussion. The purpose of this assessment is to introduce students to health needs in Australian communities, concepts of health education, preventative health care, and collaborative projects.


LO1, LO2, LO3

 GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA9

Reflective Writing

Students are required to reflect on short case studies or texts provided. This task requires students to a adopt a formal reflective practice model, and explores further to the kind of reflection required in undergraduate studies and as a health professional. In particular, the task is designed to draw attention to cultural practices and values, and to contribute to the students’ development of cultural awareness and responsiveness.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA9

Representative texts and references

Eckerman, A., Dowd, T., Chong, E., Nixon, L., Gray, R., & Johnson, S. (Eds.). (2010). Binan Goonj: Bridging cultures in Aboriginal health (3rd ed.). Churchill Elsevier Australia.  Available online through the ACU Library database.

Germov, J. (2019). Second opinion. An introduction to health sociology (6th ed.). Oxford University Press. Available online through the ACU Library database. 

Keleher, H., & MacDougall, C. (Eds.). (2016). Understanding health (4th ed.). Oxford University Press.

Langton, M.  (2019).  Welcome to Country. An Introduction to our First Peoples for young Australians. Hardie Grant Publishing. Available online through the ACU Library database.

Panckhurst, H. (Series Producer). 2008. First Australians: The untold story of Australia.

Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). Accessible through

Pascoe, B. (2018). Dark Emu. Magabala Books. Available online through the ACU Library database.

Pascoe, B (2018). The little red, yellow and black book. An introduction to indigenous Australia (4th ed.). Aboriginal Studies Press.

Reynolds, L., Willis, E., & Keleher, HRudge,T. (2019). Understanding the Australian health care system (4th ed.) Churchill Livingstone (Elsevier). Available online through the ACU Library database.

Willis, K., & Elmer, S. (2011). Society, culture and health: An introduction to sociology for nurses. (2nd ed.). Oxford University Press.

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