MPH5042 - Climate change and public 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)

Professor Joseph Ibrahim


Dr Valerie Kay

Unit guides


Alfred Hospital

  • Second semester 2019 (Flexible)


Must be enrolled in a Postgraduate degree


This unit will examine the health impacts of climate change, and the relevance of this to the principles and practices of public health. Informed by an understanding of the fundamental role of climate stability for sustained population health, and of evidence for anthropogenic global warming, the focus of the unit will be on direct and indirect mechanisms through which climate change could impact on health, including extreme weather events, changing patterns of vector-borne disease, water-borne infections, food quality and availability, air quality, and social disruption. There will be an emphasis on evidence for past and predicted health effects, health burden magnitude and distribution, and the complex interplay between population and environmental factors that influence vulnerability. Students will apply this knowledge to critically appraise adaptation and mitigation initiatives from a public health perspective, and will be expected to engage with current climate change issues and communicate their ideas clearly and effectively.


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

  1. Evaluate evidence for anthropogenic global warming and climate change, and analyse and discuss the implications for public health.
  2. Identify and analyse the social and environmental factors that influence the vulnerability of populations to the health impacts of climate change.
  3. Explore and critique public health responses to the impact of climate change on health.
  4. Design local climate change adaptation and mitigation responses using a public health prevention framework and principles.
  5. Critically reflect on their knowledge of climate change and public health, and apply this knowledge to professional practice.
  6. Critically appraise current knowledge in regards to climate change and public health, and formulate responses that extend that knowledge.


  • Critical reflections (2400 words) (40%) (Hurdle)
  • Letter proposal (300 words) (5%)
  • Letter to the editor (450 words) (15%)
  • Critically reflective essay (2400 words) (40%) (Hurdle)

Workload requirements

6 hours of teacher-directed learning activities per week, and 6 hours of self-directed study per week, plus 2 compulsory on-campus Block Days.

See also Unit timetable information

Off-campus attendance requirements

15 hours over 2 block days.

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