EPM5023 - Foundations of international health - 2019

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

Chief examiner(s)

Associate Professor Bebe Loff


Associate Professor Bebe Loff

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital

  • Second semester 2019 (On-campus block of classes)


Must be enrolled in a Postgraduate degree


This unit is about the international frameworks that influence health at a local level.

The unit seeks to provide students with an understanding of international mechanisms that have an impact on health, including how they are created, their content, the kind of strong or weak influence they exert over governments, mechanisms of enforcement, and the problems and benefits presented by these different mechanisms.

The unit begins by considering the emergence of "tropical medicine" as a colonial specialty and the lasting influence of this on health and approaches to it in low and middle income countries.

The concept of development and the role of public international law will be introduced as a background to policy making by international agencies as it affects health.

This may include, for example, the role of the World Health Organization, the International Health Regulations, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the impact of international trade and investment institutions including World Trade Organization, the World Bank and IMF, human rights, disarmament and the Sustainable Development Goals.


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

  1. Analyse the impact of colonisation on health priorities and practices during the 18th and 19th centuries, and its continuing influence over health.
  2. Determine the impact of the global political, economic, and social order on the shape of international frameworks and mechanisms governing health.
  3. Determine the impact of key international agencies and processes that influence health at a local level.
  4. Identify and analyse ethical issues in international health and health research.
  5. Collaborate and communicate effectively within a group.
  6. Evaluate and apply international frameworks and mechanisms governing health to case studies.


  • Team presentation (5 minutes per student, plus question time) (10%)
  • Critical reflection (1800 words) (30%)
  • Research essay (3600 words) (60%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

6 hours of teacher-directed readings per week, and 6 hours of self-directed study per week. Students must attend 4 on-campus Block Days.

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

Reading as required and contribution to weekly online discussion forum.

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

Additional information on this unit is available from the faculty at: