Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Monash University

Postgraduate - Unit

This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2013 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

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FacultyFaculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences
Organisational UnitSchool of Rural Health
OfferedGippsland First semester 2013 (Off-campus)
Coordinator(s)Dr Margaret Stebbing


Environmental change can have both direct and indirect effects on human health. Exploring issues such as global climate change and loss of biodiversity, this unit will examine relationships between human health and anthropogenic environmental change (environmental change accelerated by human activity). Questions underpinning students' exploration will be: What is the relationship between the health of the environment and the health of human communities? Do ecological changes affect human health and well being? What are possible solutions? How do we act in the face of lack of evidence, gaps in knowledge, uncertainty and conflicting evidence. The emphasis of the unit will be on global and regional environmental change and how this manifests at a local level in both individuals and populations. The role of health professionals and policy makers will be explored and students will reflect on their own personal viewpoints and practice as professionals and as global citizens. Students will examine local and regional issues relevant to their professional practice and place these in the larger global context. Multidisciplinary approaches to an ecological perspective of health - the concept of a web of interconnected, interacting and dynamic relationships which embeds humans in their physical environment - will be applied to examine issues such as: health effects of global warming; health effects of loss of biodiversity; vector-borne and zoonotic diseases and agricultural pollutants.


On completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Discuss specific examples of direct and indirect effects of anthropogenic environmental change on human health;
  2. Critically analyse processes of interaction between anthropogenic environmental change and human health at a local, regional and global level using ecological perspectives on health and the physical environment;
  3. Examine the socioeconomic context of environmental change and health in differing vulnerabilities and rural and urban populations;
  4. Critically analyse strategies for dealing with lack of evidence, conflicting evidence and uncertainty;
  5. Reflect on the impact of studying this unit on your own professional practice and personal perspectives; and
  6. Undertake an ecological analysis of a selected issue and develop recommendations that will help to improve practice.


Case study analysis (1500 wds)(20%)
Reflective essay (3000 wds)(40%)
Group discussion activities (2000 wds)(40%)

Chief examiner(s)