Principles of Public Health Practice

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Stamp of Moldova (292) Commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

This subject is based on a critical question: What would the world look like if the basic human rights of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights were actually upheld in your country?

You will work to answer this and related questions around how public resources can be better used to achieve various public goods such as personal, communal and societal health. You will be introduced to the principles of public health, health promotion, primary care and primary health care, and population health as they relate to equity and participation in various social, political and economic contexts. You will identify and evaluate the range of evidence that informs public health practice, evidence on which public health policies and programs are based. The subject will assist you to examine the strategies used in public health in the context of public health planning frameworks. Three essential aspects of public health will be reviewed: protection, prevention and the promotion of health; and for each of these we will consider surveillance and monitoring.

This subject is foundational toward public health action. With continued studies you may also work as an effective clinical or public health practitioner. It can be studied alongside Health education and development. Both these subjects are currently taught within the Public Health major of the Bachelor of Health Science degree offered by the School of Psychology and Public Health at La Trobe University.

Acknowledgement of Country[edit]

This material was originally developed by the staff of a university located on land of which the Wurundjeri People (Woiwurrung language) of the Kulin Nation or Alliance are the traditional custodians. For this reason, we pay our respects to their elders, past and present, and we rejoice in the rising generations.

Subject Intended Learning Outcomes[edit]

  1. Critically analyse the various concepts, values and strategies relating to public health practice.
  2. Outline the often conflicting roles and interests held by the various stakeholders engaged in or affected by public health activities.
  3. Critically articulate the applicability of various strategies engaged in by public health practitioners at various levels.
  4. Examine the limits of public health practice as a discipline with regards to work with vulnerable communities within societies.

The following assignments will be used to assess you have turned these learning objectives into learning outcomes.

Assignments[edit]

This subject revolves around assignments. Your assignments will be used to assess that you have met the Subject intended learning outcomes. Use the topics and resources to guide and inform your assignment work. You will need to devote up to 150 hours to study and assignment work for in this subject (for example: 10 hours per week for 15 weeks).

  1. Literature Analysis
  2. Analysis of a Public Health Issue
  3. Presentation
  4. Assessment of a Public Health Intervention

Topics and schedule[edit]

  1. Introduction to the subject and How to get good marks
  2. What is public health?
  3. What are the practice domains of public health?
  4. What are the core values underlying public health?
  5. The determinants of health and public health
  6. The publics of public health
  7. Policy, regulation, legislation and treaties on public health
  8. The desirability and feasibility of interventions
  9. Strategies and contexts for public health interventions
  10. Funding and evaluating public health interventions
  11. ‘Vulnerable’ groups
  12. Public health practice and health systems
  13. Challenges and opportunities for public health futures

Topics and schedule 2016[edit]

References and Resources[edit]

Key for the Subject:

  • Neurological Disorders: Public Health Challenges - If you only read one thing this semester, please read Chapter One of Neurological Disorders; it covers most of the topics of this subject. However, be aware that there are other ways of looking at public health. Still, this is a very practical look at public health in relation to a set of conditions that we normally think about from only a clinical perspective.
  • Australia's Health 2012 - The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare is an important resource that you should be aware of and explore thoroughly. For this subject, it would be wise to follow this link and explore the tabs and links associated with this report. There is a wealth of information and resources for the public health and health promotion practitioner. Learn what is out there for your context.
  • Health Promotion Glossary Update - An update of the above by original author and others. You will still need to visit the previous link for the fuller document.
  • The World Health Report 2001 - Mental Health: New Understanding, New Hope - The resource is very similar to Neurological Disorders and covers the relationship between health policy and service provision well. Again, remember that all documents and resources should be considered as part of a broader conversation. You should try to 'hear' other sides of the story by fossicking for yourself.

Very helpful for the subject:


If a link is not working, please put the title of the document into a search engine and see if you can find it that way.

Communications[edit]