PBH1103 - Introduction to health policy and politics - 2017

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - 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

School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine


Dr Charles Livingstone

Not offered in 2017


In this unit, students will examine the political foundations of health promotion and public health policies in Australia. They will be introduced to health policy, policy development processes and theories that underpin them. Interest groups and the challenges they pose to decision-making processes, will be discussed. The social and political impacts of health policy will be introduced, as will the jurisdictional responsibilities held by different levels of government for health policies. Preliminary concepts of power, authority and influence will be discussed. Students will learn fundamentals of the critical skills for policy analysis in the context of case studies of effective advocacy that have influenced health policy development in Australia.


On successful completion of this unit students will:

  1. Develop an understanding of health policy as a key dynamic element of the determinants of health, with effects on the health of populations and societies.
  2. Identify the major structures, systems and institutions that contribute to the health policy environment with emphasis on health promotion and public health policy.
  3. Describe how different processes can be engaged to inform public health policy.
  4. Discuss types of health policy within the context of Australia's federal system.
  5. Explain the role of government and their agencies, non-government organisations (NGOs) and the community in the development and implementation of health policy.
  6. Distinguish between different types of stakeholder influence and involvement, and how these are used in policy development.


  • Group presentation (20 minutes) (15%) & critical analysis (900 words) (15%)
  • Written case study (1,800 words) (30%)
  • Examination (MCQs and short answer questions) (2 hours) (40%) Hurdle

Hurdle requirement:

80% attendance at tutorials

80% participation in online tasks.

Workload requirements

1 hour lecture, 2 hour tutorial, 3 hours of directed online student learning activities, plus 6 hours of self-directed study per week.

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

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