KE7008 - Public Health

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What will I learn on this module?

You will learn about public health through the key issues and debates that shape current thinking, research and policy. You will build a critical understanding of the approaches to promoting and protecting health and well-being, preventing ill health and prolonging life through a societal approach. You will explore the underlying socio-economic and wider determinants of health as well as disease looking at systematic evidence based approaches to improve population health. You will focus on the key domains of public health practice through topics including:
• Health inequalities and the wider determinants of health
• Assessment and surveillance of population health and wellbeing
• Public health policy and the influence of power, politics and ideology
• Evidence based approaches across the life course to reduce risk factors
• Social Marketing as an approach to influence, make and sustain behaviour change
• The role of epidemiology to plan and evaluate approaches to prevent ill health
• Outbreak investigation and management
• Environmental hazards, resilience and emergency response

In addition to learning about current issues and debates, you will develop your critical analysis skills and abilities to acquire, assimilate and apply knowledge using risk based approaches.

On completion of the module, your improved ability to link theory, practice and application will serve to enhance your employability prospects within a broad environmental health / public health job sector. Students seeking to achieve Environmental Health Practitioner status can use the module assessments to support completion of two intervention areas of the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health ‘Portfolio of Professional Practice’ (PH1 and PH5).

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through lectures, seminars, IT workshops, independent learning and directed tasks. Lectures and seminars will cover theories and concepts, case study material, key exemplars, and module staff’s own research. Learner centred approaches are used to allow you to explore topics and issues in greater depth and tackle guided exercises. You will work on these during hands-on sessions including some within Northumbria’s computer labs where you will explore current public health datasets. Beyond timetabled sessions, your independent study will be guided and supported through your engagement with a range of directed resources and/or tasks available online via the module eLP site. You will be given rapid research exercises and be expected to engage and deliver short presentations on your findings to your peers.

Formative feedback opportunities in lectures and seminars will consolidate your learning as well as helping to improve your performance in the module assessments. You will be supported and encouraged to critically reflect and develop your skills through independent research, facilitated discussions, report writing and presentations to develop your reflective practice skills.

The module is structured around current Environmental Health / Public health employment areas and develops recognition of key skills and knowledge required to determine evidence based approaches to tackling contemporary public health issues and the role of professional practice.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided during lectures and particularly seminars where you will engage in small group activities and receive guidance and feedback from academic staff. For example during the student led seminars, you will present on key topics and receive feedback allowing you to feed this forward into your own learning and preparation for the summative assessment. This will also allow you to learn from your peers. Further resources will be available on-line via the module eLP, this includes an interactive reading list with on-line access to a number of key textbooks, articles, links and other materials that are aligned with each lecture or seminar. Academic staff will respond to questions by email and will share common issues with the wider group so all can benefit.

Teaching staff operate an ‘open door’ policy for students meaning you can approach them anytime during normal office hours, or via email, to answer questions, receive feedback and support your learning on the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
MLO 1: Evaluate how health and wellbeing needs are assessed and used to inform and deliver evidence based policy and practice to improve and protect public health.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
MLO 2: Employ existing data and evidence bases to create bespoke health profiles or needs assessment for defined communities and/or populations.

MLO 3: Critically assess the role of Environmental Health Practitioners and other professionals in protecting populations against the health impact of incidents presenting potential for exposure to environmental hazards.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• MLO 4: Defend the application of ‘proportionate universalism’ for fair and equitable access to public health interventions and services across the life course.

How will I be assessed?

In semester 1 you will be summatively assessed via an individual 3,000 word written report and in semester 2 by a group presentation. Each assessment represents 50% of the assessment weighting.

In semester 1 you will select and research a geographical area of your choice and create a health profile for that locality. Your health profile should set the local context, assess the current health of that population and identify the key public health priorities. Your findings will be presented in class and you will receive formative feedback to help inform your summative written report. Your individual, written report of 3,000 words will critically evaluate a life course approach to reducing premature mortality for an identified priority within your chosen locality. The written report is summatively assessed and represents 50% of the assessment weighting for this module and assesses MLOs 1, 2, and 4.

In semester 2 you will work in small groups to complete as part of a team responding to a (desktop) emergency incident which will be given to you. As part of this work you will be expected to generate a public health risk assessment and communicate this to the ‘gold commander’. This is a summatively assessed piece of work where your individual contribution will be considered alongside the group’s response. This represents 50% of the assessment weighting for this module and assesses MLOs 1, 2 and 3.





Module abstract

‘Public Health’ focuses on building a critical understanding of current approaches to promoting and protecting health and well-being, preventing ill health and prolonging life through a societal approach. You will explore opportunities to contribute to health improvement and protection at a population level. Underpinned by professional and ethical values and alongside developing practical skills and knowledge you will connect theory to current Environmental Health/Public Health practice. Teaching involves lectures and seminars to critically debate contemporary issues alongside practical exercises, case studies and rapid research activities. Your learning will be supported and enhanced through engagement with learning resources on the module eLP site. Assessment in semester 1 is via a written report following formative feedback of a mid-point presentation and in semester 2 by a desk top exercise assessed by a group presentation. You will receive formative guidance throughout the assessment process to support achieving your potential.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year full-time
1 other options available

Department Geography and Environmental Sciences

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

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