EPM5023 - Foundations of international health - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Postgraduate - Unit

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


Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Organisational Unit

Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine


Associate Professor Bebe Loff

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital

  • Second semester 2017 (On-campus block of classes)


This unit examines the colonial history that produced the policies informing international health practise and the contemporary issues that arise out of this history.

A range of topics are considered including problematic ambiguities hidden within the term "global health"; contemporary approaches to international development; geopolitics and the neocolonial features of the current international health landscape; pandemics and complex humanitarian crises; and approaches to justice, exploitation and vulnerability.

Specific attention will be given to recent debates concerning ethical issues in international health research.


Upon successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

  1. Determine the impact of colonisation on health priorities and practices during the 18th and 19th centuries and the continuing geopolitics that produce the neocolonial features of the current international health landscape
  2. As there is no agreed definition of the term "global health," analyse meanings of the term in light of the political and economic agendas that inform it
  3. Determine key approaches to international development as they have emerged over time and in response to different social movements
  4. Analyse the impact and governance of pandemics and complex humanitarian crises
  5. Critique approaches to theories of justice, exploitation and vulnerability in the context of controversies that arise when medical research, sponsored by an industrialised country, is conducted in a developing country.
  6. Participate and communicate effectively within a group to evaluate and apply interrelated concepts of ethical issues.


  • Group presentation (10%)
  • Individual reflection on group work and readings (1,500 words) (30%)
  • Major paper (4,000 words) (60%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

40 hours over 4 block days + required reading 9 hours per week over 12 weeks.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

Off-campus attendance requirements

Reading as required and contribution to weekly online discussion forum.

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study

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