Public Health Law and Policy
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Established in 1991 after amalgamating four eastern Australian Catholic tertiary institutes, Australian Catholic University now has seven campuses, from Brisbane to Melbourne and welcomes students of all beliefs. Specialising in arts, business, education, health sciences, law, theology and philosophy, ACU encourages its students to think critically and ethically and bring change to their communities and offer this online through Open Universities Australia.
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On successful completion of the Public Health, Law and Policy unit, students should be able to:
- Describe examples of law and policy that promote or protect public health in a diverse range of settings (GA1, GA2, GA3)
- Demonstrate an integrated understanding of the law and policy making processes, especially the contribution of public health practitioners and other key actors (GA3, GA5)
- Critically apply legislative and policy responses to complex public health challenges (GA4, GA5, GA6)
- Evaluate and critique law and policy making processes in contemporary areas of public health programmes and interventions (GA4, GA5, GA6)
- Public health law
- - Introduction to the Australian legal system: history, institutions, concepts, relationships, international comparisons; fundamental legal principles
- - Law and health generally: health rights, theoretical obligations, practical applications and examples (e.g. negligence)
- - Reading and interpreting law: definitions, rules, case examples
- - Common legislative objectives and powers used in public health
- - Legislative schemes and institutions directly relevant to public health:
- Public health policy
- - Health policy: areas, structure and jurisdictional influences
- - Policy development: policy-making, policy models and frameworks describing the cyclical nature of policy development
- - Interests and influences on policy: politics, stakeholders and advocacy groups
- - Evidence and the policy-making process: evidence-based vs evidence-informed policy
- - Policy implementation, monitoring, analysis and evaluation
- - Evaluation of public health policy
- Advocacy and public health law and policy
- - Advocacy and its influence on law and
- - Law reform and policy change: key points in parliamentary, political and public-sector processes
- - Case studies: examples of public health (or other interest group) advocacy in debates on law reform or policy change
In order to enrol in this subject, you must be accepted into one of the following degrees:
No additional requirements
If public health embodies the organised effort of society to protect and promote health, then public health law and policy is fundamental to achieving that organised effort. The aim of this subject is to enable students to develop the knowledge, understanding and skills necessary to use law and policy to improve public health. Following introduction to fundamental legal concepts, students will examine key areas of public health law relating to health protection, practitioners, systems and services, as well as specific issues or situations that pose a risk to health. Students will also consider policy development, implementation and analysis, and the role of politics, interests, evidence and economics in shaping policy. Students will then apply their knowledge and understanding to the process of law reform and policy change, with emphasis on public health advocacy for improving law and policy and thus improving public health and wellbeing.
A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. In order to successfully complete this unit, students need to complete and submit three graded assessment tasks and obtain an aggregate mark of greater than 50%. Assessment task one comprises discussion forums and quizzes designed to support acquisition of knowledge needed to understand fundamental public health law and policy concepts and principles relating to protecting and promoting population health. These formative tasks will be scheduled early in the semester to provide students with timely feedback to monitor progress and allow opportunities for improvement. Assessment task two enables students to integrate their understanding of public health law and policy making processes by simulating the work of a public health practitioner working as a Policy Analyst providing policy and regulatory analysis and advice, in the form of a formal briefing for an organisation. The third assessment task, allows students to consider the unit content as a whole, and to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to critically evaluate and apply policy and law processes to a particular public health issue or intervention.
- Short Written Posts/Discussion forums (20%)
- Written Paper - integrate understanding of law and policy making processes in relation to Public Health. (30%)
- Essay - Critically evaluate and apply policy and law processes to a particular public health intervention. (50%)