Principles of Public Health Practice
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
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
- Critically analyse the various concepts, values and strategies relating to public health practice.
- Outline the often conflicting roles and interests held by the various stakeholders engaged in or affected by public health activities.
- Critically articulate the applicability of various strategies engaged in by public health practitioners at various levels.
- 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.
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).
- Literature Analysis
- Analysis of a Public Health Issue
- Assessment of a Public Health Intervention
Topics and schedule
- Introduction to the subject and How to get good marks
- What is public health?
- What are the practice domains of public health?
- What are the core values underlying public health?
- The determinants of health and public health
- The publics of public health
- Policy, regulation, legislation and treaties on public health
- The desirability and feasibility of interventions
- Strategies and contexts for public health interventions
- Funding and evaluating public health interventions
- ‘Vulnerable’ groups
- Public health practice and health systems
- Challenges and opportunities for public health futures
Topics and schedule 2016
References and Resources
Key for the Subject:
- Australian Indigenous HealthInfonet - A resource that Edith Cowan University can be justly proud of!
- Universal Declaration of Human Rights - Please visit the link throughout the time you are working on the topics of this subject and consider how each might influence the other.
- Public Health: Ethical Issues: Nuffield Council on Bioethics - Please pay special attention to Chapter Two. Again, a great resource for considering ethics in public health; however, there are other points of view.
- 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.
- The Social Determinants of Health: The Solid Facts (2nd Ed.) - A classic text that you should become very familiar with.
- Beyond Bandaids: Exploring the underlying social determinants of Aboriginal health - A classic from the Lowitja Institute (Incorporating the Cooperative Research Centre for Aboriginal Health)
- Environments for Health: Promoting Health and Wellbeing through Built, Social, Economic and Natural Environments: Municipal Public Health Planning Framework - Another classic from the Victorian Government (Australia). This is, in effect, an intervention in its own right. it lays out the various levels at which we can engage issues and is a foundation to municipal public health planning in Victoria. The evaluation of the Framework follows and provides an example of assessing an intervention.
- Evaluation of Environments for Health Municipal Public Health Planning Framework - This is a link to the evaluation of the Environments for Health framework gives you an example of the sorts of things that might be done in terms of your own work.
- 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 Promoting Universities: Concept, Experience and Framework for Action - An older, but still useful, resource for considering interventions in a tertiary setting.
- Health Promotion Glossary 1998 - A very important older resource.
- 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:
- The World Health Report 2000 - Health Systems: Improving performance
- The World Health Report 2002 - Reducing Risks, Promoting Healthy Life
- The World Health Report 2003 - Shaping the Future
- The World Health Report 2004 - Changing History
- The World Health Report 2006 - Working Together for Health
- The World Health Report 2007 - A Safer Future: Global public health security in the 21st century
- The World Health Report 2008 - Primary Health Care (Now More Than Ever)
- The World Health Report 2010 - Health Systems Financing: The path to universal coverage
- Advocacy and Action in Public Health: Lessons from Australia over the 20th century
- Milestones in Health Promotion
- Systems Thinking for Health Systems Strengthening
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.
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