MPH5255 - Health and human rights - 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

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


Must be enrolled in a Postgraduate degree


This unit examines the interrelationship between public health and human rights. It begins be providing a overview of the development, content and application of human rights. Human rights aspects of contemporary local and international health concerns are then considered.


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

  1. Familiarity with the theoretical foundations of human rights.
  2. Discuss the development international human rights instruments, their status, mechanisms for their enforcement and their corresponding practical limitations.
  3. Explain the interrelationship between human rights and health through exploration of current human rights dilemmas.
  4. Investigate the different mechanisms by which human rights can shape public health programming and practice generally and their respective limitations.
  5. Identify the human rights issues of particular situations including complex humanitarian emergencies, armed conflict and particular group issues.
  6. Critically apply different human rights approaches to health and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
  7. Apply human rights knowledge to a diversity of public health issues including family violence, asylum seekers and indigenous health.


  • 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

Weekly reading as required and contribution to online discussion forum.

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

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