Human pressure on the planet leading to climate change, environmental degradation, infectious disease and social inequality has seen an unprecedented increase in the occurrence, magnitude, complexity of consequences of disasters. This calls for a fundamental re-examination of disaster management and how we reduce the risk, prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters. Applying a planetary health lens, and within the context of current national and global scenarios, this unit takes a broad and specific exploration of resilience and responses to emergencies and disasters. 
Informed by transdisciplinary approaches and professional experiences, as well as contested First Nation sovereignties, the unit critically reviews concepts including vulnerability, risk ownership and reduction, preparedness, mitigation and developing resilient communities and systems. The focus is upon principles, approaches, systems, ethical and value frames, and, importantly, upon partnerships across disciplines and professions. 
Developing the capabilities of the existing workforce, including emergency, health and community workers, in disaster risk reduction and response is a particular focus of the unit.

Unit details

Online Self Paced
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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Conceptually map and analyse vulnerabilities to emergencies and disasters including risk assessment amongst diverse populations and communities including First Nations peoples of Australia and elsewhere.  
  2. Interrogate contemporary sources of data and discourse on disaster management through a planetary health lens;  
  3. Advocate for the use of specific and practical frameworks and tools to inform disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery that fosters ownership and builds resistance;  
  4. Exemplify a transdisciplinary and planetary health informed strategic response to emergencies and disasters;  
  5. Interpret statements of ethics, human rights and codes of conduct in disaster management and hypothesise their practical impact.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Exercise Respond to an exercise on frameworks for disaster reduction 15%
Report Compose a report from a localised or place-based perspective of a disaster risk reduction or response 30%
Presentation Debate on ethical dilemmas in disasters 15%
Performance Group simulation on transdisciplinary disaster response (Written and oral) 40%

Where to next?

As part of a course

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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