Digital and social media have changed the way we communicate, increasing access to, and authorship of, information across both traditional and social media – so much so that we are living in what the World Health Organisation calls an 'infodemic'. Now more than ever, public health professionals need knowledge and skills to communicate their messages for maximum effect as they strive to: protect and promote the health of individuals and groups; promote positive health changes through advocacy; and influence decision makers. In this unit, students will deepen knowledge of public health communication as it applies to health protection, health promotion and illness prevention. Informed by communications theory, social marketing theory and concepts such as health literacy, they will critically appraise the effectiveness of contemporary public health messages. Working in a small group – a simulated public health communications team – students will select, design and justify public health communication strategies aimed at maximum impact for diverse social and cultural groups across diverse settings.

Unit details

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Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:
  1. Critically appraise the characteristics of effective public health communication for achieving behaviour change, advocating for positive health changes, and influencing decision makers;  
  2. Evaluate how the changing media landscape affects public health messaging across varying settings;  
  3. Analyse how health literacy models can inform public health messaging with culturally and socially diverse populations; and  
  4. Apply theoretical learning to design, justify and present a contemporary public health communication strategy.  


Assessment type Description Grade
Other Rapid review: evidence appraisal of media strategies for public health (1500 words) 30%
Other Public health communications strategy proposal (1,500 words) 30%
Presentation Group work: Communication strategy launch/press conference (20 minute presentation, preparation for q&a and question time) 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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