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HSC2031 - Epidemiology and public health

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Dr Santha James


Peninsula First semester 2007 (Day)


This unit embraces a population view of health. In the first half, students are introduced to the science of population health: basic concepts in epidemiology, the role of epidemiology in surveillance of health status, patterns of health, disease and service utilisation. It also provides an overview of the application of epidemiology at international, national and local levels. In the second half, emphasis is placed on a range of public health responses including the new public health movement and critical perspectives on theory and practice. The unit is prepares students for problem solving and guide the way toward a more innovative and reflective practice in public health.


By the completion of this unit, it is expected that the student will be able to:

  1. distinguish between individual health and population health;
  2. define the scope, limitations and significance of biostatistics and epidemiology in the theory and practice of public health;
  3. Perform simple statistical exercises to summarize and analyse population data;
  4. Interpret and use epidemiologic data appropriately to portray the health status of populations (including morbidity, mortality, burden of disease, risk factors and the utilization of health services), and key public health issues for particular population groups;
  5. present accurate demographic, statistical and scientific information for professional and lay audiences;
  6. apply appropriate epidemiologic research designs to the study of public health problems in the community;
  7. critically appraise epidemiologic literature with respect to major sources of bias and errors;
  8. compare and contrast local, national and international health priorities of various populations;
  9. provide an overview of factors contributing to health promotion and disease prevention, surveillance and control measures for a range of health issues, and factors influencing the use of health services;
  10. critically reflect on the complex interrelationships of politics, law, economy and media which frame public health issues; and 1
    1. explain the need for intersectoral action in creating positive and sustainable changes in public health.


Computer lab report: 20%
Critical appraisal report: 15%
Seminar presentation: 25%
Examination: 40% Hurdle requirement: 80% Tutorial attendance

Contact hours

12 hours per week including contact time (lectures, tutorials, fieldwork or small group classes 2 x 2 hrs per week) and self directed study for 8 hrs.