Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Undergraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2012 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

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6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered, or view unit timetables.

FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
OfferedBerwick First semester 2012 (Day)
Caulfield First semester 2012 (Day)
South Africa First semester 2012 (Day)
Caulfield Second semester 2012 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Professor Helen Keleher (Caulfield and Berwick), Prof Geoffrey Setswe (South Africa)


This unit provides foundation knowledge in public health that begins with its historical underpinnings and leads to examination of the principles, practices and values of contemporary public health. Case studies will be used to illustrate the importance of intersectoral, interdisciplinary, systems thinking for the success of public health programs and policy. You will learn to critically analyse the determinants and burdens of disparate rates of illness and disease from the perspectives of health inequalities and vulnerable populations to understand public health priorities, and the core roles and functions of public health systems and programs. While the focus of this unit is on Australia, the learnings from this unit can be applied to public health issues and systems in any country.


  1. discuss the principles underpinning public health and examine public health values from different paradigms;
  2. describe the history and evolution of public health and discuss how they have impacted on the health of the populations;
  3. discuss a range of behavioural, social and cultural, environmental and political determinants that create health and cause ill-health and inequalities;
  4. identify a range of public health interventions and appraise their strengths and limitations;
  5. understand the critical relationship between human rights and public health and discuss critical ethical considerations for public health practice;
  6. examine the intersectoral and interdisciplinary systems that comprise good public health and implications for the workforce.


Report on public health history (Objectives 1-2) - 30%
Essay on determinants of population health and approaches to address them (objectives 1, 3 & 4) - 30%
Examination comprising multiple choice and short answer questions (Objectives 1-6) - 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Professor Helen Keleher

Contact hours

Lecture 1.0 hour and Tutorial 2.0 hours per week plus 9 hours per week