Contemporary Global Health Challenges

Unit code: HMG7001 | Study level: Postgraduate
(Generally, 1 credit = 10 hours of classes and independent study.)
City Campus
St Albans


This unit examines current and emerging global health challenges in the context of a complex and changing world and how today’s threats to human health risk erasing the public health gains of the last century. Globalisation, demographic transition, urbanisation, climate change and environmental degradation are driving changes in global patterns and burden of disease with a growing global epidemic in non-communicable disease and the re-emergence of infectious diseases as a global problem, as evident with the COVID-19 pandemic. Colonisation continues to have a profound impact on the health and wellbeing of First Nations people in Australia and across the world. Through a health equity lens, students will study the differential impacts of global health threats on diverse population and using strength-based approaches will investigate how populations can adapt to become more resilient. Global health commitments and how they can be translated to local action are explored using real life scenarios. Global health and sustainable development are interdependent and this unit will examine how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) provide an opportunity to engage the whole of society to address the determinants of health for a healthy planet and better health for all.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Critically review and reflect on the patterns and the burden of diseases in the global context and predict their impact on the health and well-being of diverse populations;
  2. Conceptually map and commentate on the drivers of the global burden of disease and their causal pathways;
  3. Evaluate strategies and approaches that respond to emerging trends in global health using a health equity lens;
  4. Translate and apply global health commitments to policies and strategies to tackle current and emerging threats to health and well-being; and
  5. Advocate for approaches that place health at the centre of efforts to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


For Melbourne campuses

Assessment type: Journal
Grade: 20%
Reflections on local versus global trends in disease burden (1000 words)
Assessment type: Other
Grade: 40%
Vodcast on drivers of global health (8 minutes)
Assessment type: Assignment
Grade: 40%
Individually evaluate progress towards health outcomes in the SDGs (2000 words) and as a group present a course of action (3 mins).

Required reading

Required readings will be made available on VU Collaborate.

As part of a course

This unit is studied as part of the following course(s):

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