This unit examines the contribution of the social sciences to understanding and improving public health. The influence of culture and society on beliefs, attitudes and behaviours around health and how these shape disease risk and health outcomes is critically appraised. Students will explore the complex relationships between gender, culture and health inequalities. The efficacy of policies and strategies to address such inequalities will be evaluated. Concepts of cultural competence and its relevance to public health practice and cross cultural communication models are examined to facilitate enhanced professional practice when working with diverse communities.

Unit details

Victoria University Online
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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Evaluate theoretical frameworks which explain the influence of society and culture on health and access to health care and defend their application in known and unknown scenarios;  
  2. Critically appraise efforts to address health inequalities through public health policies and programs, taking into account sociological and anthropological perspectives;  
  3. Qualify and apply concepts of cultural competence and health promotion to address health inequalities in specific populations; and  
  4. Substantiate the need and means to communicate effectively across social groups in diverse cultures.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Other Contribution to a discussion board on concepts on issues currently in media that impact beliefs, attitudes and behaviours around health (500 words) 10%
Case Study Case study on specific health inequality (2500 words) 50%
Essay Essay on cultural competence (2000 words) 40%

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This unit is studied as part of the following courses. Refer to the course page for information on how to apply for the course.

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