AC7028 - Public health intelligence and epidemiology: informing policy and strategy

What will I learn on this module?

This is an essential module in public health that will aid your understanding of the ever changing health patterns of the population and threats to health through outbreaks and epidemics. The module will allow you the opportunity to explore the most up to date information and gathering techniques used in public health to inform policy response to contemporary local and global public health issues. Epidemiological theory is used to explore examples of public health at population levels. The module further aims to develop your abilities to conceptualise and critically appraise the relationships between public health issues and the political, economic, social, technical, legal and environmental dimensions that inform policy response. Specialist experts in epidemiology and public health contribute to this module and enhance both the research rich aspect and the grounded application which is essential to your learning experience.

The content of the module will cover topics such as:

Public health challenges for the 21st century.
Epidemiological investigations of public health.
Disease outbreaks, management and control
Information data identification and analysis.
Data sets at population levels to identify population health needs assessment for planning purposes and or commissioning of services. Identifying aspects of health inequalities at a local level
Exploring data such as deprivation indices.

You will develop your learning of public health along with a deepening appreciation of global health challenges and issues. There will be opportunities to explore with other group members awareness of various global health systems, health priorities and cultural issues.

How will I learn on this module?

A variety of teaching and learning approaches are used including lectures, seminars, electronic learning support and directed study.
There will be structured seminars where there will be opportunities to apply your knowledge to contemporary examples and activities that will enhance your learning. You will learn about surveillance and assessment of the population's health and wellbeing information, data retrieval essential for the preparation of population need assessments and health protection .You will be given the opportunity to scrutinise this data through group work. There will be sessions delivered by public health specialists who are experts in their field and who can help you to develop contacts and networks for the future.
You will be able to access a resource link for the module on the e-learning portal where direct links to electronic books, chapters, videos, webcasts, research articles and websites can be found. In addition, there is a website link to extensive global health organisations.
An online self-learning and assessment on epidemiology will be available for those unfamiliar with this topic and will help to assist you with Masters level epidemiology theory learning. Directed learning activities will enable collegiate learning, where you will be expected to engage in discussion with your peers with formative feedback given by tutors. These group discussions together with opportunities to present in small groups, will feed forward towards your summative assessment.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module team have a wide variety of knowledge and specialist expertise and they will support your learning throughout the module, through discussions in lectures, seminars and tutorials. You will be allocated a named tutor who will provide you with assignment guidance and support throughout the module. Contact details for all academic and administrative team members are available in the module handbook on the e-learning portal.

You will be encouraged to work with your peers throughout the module both within the timetabled sessions and outside the scheduled time. This will help you to work collaboratively in a team and learn from your peers.
The Academic language skills module is available for international students to support them with their academic writing, and all students cab access the study skills resources via the library website.

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:
By the end of the module you will have:

1. Demonstrated a critical understanding of public health intelligence and epidemiological knowledge transfer within the public health policy arena.

2. Demonstrated a systematic understanding of the political, ethical, quality and governance implications of data derived from public health investigation / surveillance.

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
By the end of the module you will have:

3. Demonstrated a comprehensive understanding and critical evaluation of methodologies and techniques used in investigating trends and patterns in population health.

4. Evaluated methods of analysing and translating epidemiological research findings (social and medical) into public health policy, sustainable health development strategies and public health service improvement.

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
By the end of the module you will have:

5. Develop a critical awareness of a range of global population health statistics and other evidence for public health intelligence and epidemiology.

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment will be a production of a 3,000 word assignment.
You will be expected to produce a critical analysis of a chosen (from two) published research study, which will include a discussion of epidemiological issues and political influences on policy response. The objective of the assessment is to enhance your ability to make sound epidemiologic judgements related to a public health issue. (MLOs 1-5)

Formative feedback will be given following completion of a small group presentation about your understanding of the requirements of the final module assignment. You will also be asked to complete and submit a 500 word outline of your final summative assignment. Feedback from your peers and tutor about the presentation and from your tutor with regards to your written work can be fed forward into your final summative assessment.

(MLOs 1-5)





Module abstract

This module aims to conceptualise and critically appraise the relationships between public health policy drivers (including epidemiological evidence and other public health intelligence information) and the political, economic, social, technical, legal and environmental dimensions of resultant health policy responses. These dimensions will be considered with reference to both global and local public health contexts.
More particularly, you will be expected to critically engage with and appraise public health paradigms, specific public health issues, theoretical and technical aspects underpinning epidemiological evidence, and the effectiveness of subsequent public health policy responses, for example the process of commissioning for health inequalities. The research tutored learning on this module will enable you to engage in critically reviewing the research outcomes of others and to provide analyses of your findings, which is a key asset for public health employers.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 1 year Full Time
1 other options available

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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