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  • Term Mode
  • Semester 1Campus Attendance


PUBH100 Foundations of Public Health OR PUBH102 Foundations of Health Promotion

Unit rationale, description and aim

Applied Public Health 1 is the first unit in a full-year professional (two semester) placement where students gain first-hand knowledge and experience in public health practice. Students can undertake placements within one of a range of partner organisations with established and successful engagement with local communities. Students can also undertake projects related to University research, scholarship or outreach activities, subject to students’ interests and project availability. Students thus gain insight into professional public health practice, which relies heavily on effective community engagement. The fieldwork sites generally have a focus on marginalised and otherwise disadvantaged communities, either within Australia or internationally. Through this experience, students gain substantial insight into the cultural, social, moral, spiritual, economic and environmental aspects that underpin the health and well-being of communities and individuals. The aim of this unit is to enable students to apply their own core curriculum learnings within the cultural safety of well- established community based organisations, thus facilitating their development as competent and caring public health professionals. 

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.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome DescriptionRelevant Graduate Capabilities
LO1Analyse, evaluate and link public health and health promotion theory to practiceGC1, GC2, GC7
LO2Reflect critically upon the values underpinning the relationships, roles and functions of staff and clients within a community organisation/sGC2, GC6, GC7
LO3Demonstrate progress towards meeting industry expectations of professional competency relevant to public health and health promotionGC1, GC2, GC5
LO4Demonstrate enhanced communication and interpersonal skillsGC4, GC11, GC12
LO5Demonstrate an understanding of the importance, policies and strategies for building safe and supportive environments for working with specific vulnerable populationsGC2, GC6, GC8


Fieldwork will be organised in government, university and/or non-government health and/or community development organisations. Prior to fieldwork, a preparation workshop will be conducted based on content from PUBH222, and incorporating the experiences of those students who have previously completed fieldwork through that unit. Within the workplace, students will be allocated a series of tasks related to a specific project of relevance to public health or health promotion. The actual content and nature of the project will be determined by negotiation between the host organisation, the student and the state based or national public health professional practice coordinator. It is anticipated that each student will make a positive contribution to the public health work of the host organisation and develop a greater knowledge and appreciation of the potential this work may have for community well-being. Over the course of the fieldwork duration, students will be introduced to progressively advanced tasks and responsibilities, correspondent to their development as public health professionals. 


Building safe and supportive environments working with specific vulnerable populations (For students in double degrees who have not previously completed the online module) 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit is delivered primarily through a work-integrated learning framework, supplemented by four face-to- face workshop sessions on campus. The unit uses an active learning approach where activities support students to acquire essential theoretical knowledge in public health practice relevant to the specific workplace of their placement. Online content (e.g. readings) via Canvas also support this acquisition. Workshops provide students the opportunity to apply workplace experiences to broader public health contexts/scenarios, and progressively develop higher level skills of analysis and application of theory in public health practice. 

Students will be placed in host organisations approved by the ACU Public Health National Professional Practice Coordinator and the campus LIC. Learning and performance will be determined by the University and the appointed fieldwork supervisor through a predefined and monitored set of criteria including skills and outcomes expected to be achieved. The fieldwork will comprise a minimum of 200 hours (combined over PUBH302 and PUBH305). 

Assessment strategy and rationale

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 to obtain an aggregate mark of greater than 50%. In addition, this unit has four ungraded hurdle requirements that students must complete in order to pass the unit. PUBH302 assessment tasks are designed to document and contextualise the work within a specific public health setting. This assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level consistent with the competencies outlined in the 2016 revised CAPHIA competencies for public health graduates. 


The first assessment is designed to prepare students for submission of the major essay part 1 (assessment 3). It provides a structure for students to follow to enable the production of a high quality piece of work. In the assessment task 2, students will be required to conduct a semi-structured interview with their placement supervisor aiming to investigate real world public health work and the supervisor’s career pathway. Through the process of this assessment, students will be able to enhance their communication and interpersonal skills. It will help students to develop an understanding of the role of public health officer, their daily activities, and professional competencies relevant to public health and health promotion.  


In the third assessment task, students will prepare a critical analysis of a contemporary public health issue that their host organisation is working on with emphasis on the determinants of health. This assessment will help students to think critically on how public health organisations are addressing emerging health issues by analysing and evaluating scientific evidence and proposed interventions. 


‘ACU Child-safe Organisations’ online module: This content is assessed using online multiple choice or short answer questions. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes

Assessment 1: 

Research plan 

To enable and assess ability to plan public health- related activities. 


LO1, LO2

Assessment 2: 

Semi-structured interview of fieldwork supervisor to enable and assess ability to document and summarise an example of career progression in public health. 


LO3, LO4

Assessment 3: 

Major Essay Part 1 

To enable and demonstrate the ability to analyse a contemporary public health issue. 


LO1, LO2

Hurdle requirement 1: 

Learning contract 

To demonstrate ability to plan public health-related activities. 



Hurdle requirement 2: 


To demonstrate completion of mandated hours of attendance. 


Hurdle requirement 3: 

Host organisation supervisor survey 

To evaluate ability of student to function in a public health work environment. 


Hurdle requirement 4: 

‘ACU Child-safe Organisations’ Online Module (if not completed previously through PUBH222) 

To assure safety of vulnerable groups. 



Representative texts and references

Gladwell, M. (2011) Outliers: The story of success. New York: Back Bay Books. 

Guest, C., Ricciardi, W. Kawachi, I, & Lang, I. (Eds). (2013). Oxford handbook of public health practice (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. 

Lin, V., Smith J., Fawkes, S. (2007). Public health practice in Australia: the organised effort. Crows Nest: Allen & Unwin. 

Mackay, H. (2013). Good life: what makes a life worth living? Sydney: Pan MacMillian. 

Prilleltensky, I., & Prilleltensky, O. (2006). Promoting wellbeing: Linking personal, organization, and community change. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley. 

Singer, P. (2010). The life you can save: acting now to end world poverty. Melbourne: Text Publishing. 

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