This unit provides students with an understanding of the interactions between public health and the natural and built environment. Students will examine current and emerging environmental risks to human and ecosystem health with a focus on climate change as a defining issue for public health in the 21st century. Students will study the science of climate change and examine the direct and indirect pathways through which climate change impacts health outcomes and health equity. Students will critically appraise local, national and global frameworks, strategic actions and policy solutions designed to protect public health from environmental risks and build resilience. Considering the concepts of mitigation and adaptation students will use systems thinking to design local level public health responses to environmental risks including climate change.

Unit details

Victoria University Online
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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Cross-examine the direct and indirect pathways that connect human health, the environment and climate change;  
  2. Diagnose the impact of environmental risks and climate change on the health of diverse populations;  
  3. Articulate the concepts of vulnerability, mitigation, resilience and adaptation as they apply to environmental risks and climate change;  
  4. Critically appraise Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander approaches to public health protection frameworks, policies, strategies and responses to environmental risks; and  
  5. Using systems thinking, plan public health local responses to identified environmental risks.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Assignment Identify an effect of climate change that negatively impacts population health (500 words) 10%
Essay Diagnose the impact of environmental events on public health (2500 words) 50%
Report Plan a public health response to an environmental risk (2000 words). 40%

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