POPLHLTH 111 : Population Health

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

To introduce frameworks and tools for measuring and understanding and improving the health of populations, both locally and globally. These frameworks and tools are derived from epidemiology, demography, public health, environmental health and global health sciences.

Course Overview

Population health is just what it suggests – the health of populations – and the goal of studying population health is to improve the health of populations. Students on this course will be introduced to frameworks and tools for measuring the frequency, understanding the causes and controlling the impact of dis-ease (i.e. poor health) in populations, both locally and globally. We use frameworks and tools to describe the distributions of dis-ease (how frequently it occurs in different populations) and the determinants (the causes) of different distributions of dis-ease in populations. This knowledge helps to inform ways of controlling the impact of dis-ease through health promotion and disease prevention programmes in whole populations, through planning better health services for specific populations and through improving health care practice for groups within populations.

Traditionally health sciences and practice have been most concerned with each individual patient as an ‘island’, and with the biomedical disciplines such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry and pathology, that “look inside” that individual to identify causes of dis-ease and possible treatments (the microscope approach). Although medicine’s approach to the health of individuals extends beyond a simply biomedical model, the study of population health brings another important dimension to both health science and health practice by “looking outside” the individual to groups (and populations) and to the effects of the physical and social environment on health of individuals and groups (the telescope approach).

This course introduces future health professionals (both clinical and non-clinical) to:
  1. Epidemiology, which is the science of measuring the distribution and determinants of dis-ease frequency in populations and the effectiveness of interventions to control dis-ease;
  2. The social and environmental determinants of dis-ease and their distributions in populations;
  3. Population health interventions to improve population health through health promotion and through the prevention and management of dis-ease; and
  4. The distribution, determinants and control of important local and global population health

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Course Director: Roshini Peiris-John
Course Coordinator: Dennis Hsu
E-mail contacts: poplhlth111@auckland.ac.nz

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 2: Sustainability
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 7: Collaboration
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Apply epidemiological measures to identify and describe the determinants of population health. (Capability 3.1, 3.2, 4.1 and 4.2)
  2. Identify the determinants of the determinants of health and apply this knowledge to describe the socio- demographic profiles of populations. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2 and 4.1)
  3. Evaluate population-based and high-risk individual interventions designed to address population health issues and inequities. (Capability 1.2, 1.3, 2.3, 3.2, 4.1 and 5.2)
  4. Critically evaluate particular approaches to improve population health locally and globally by using the course concepts, to enable problem solving and decision-making. (Capability 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 3.1, 3.2, 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 5.1, 5.2 and 5.3)
  5. Demonstrate academic integrity and develop team-working skills and apply these to explore population health problems. (Capability 4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 5.3, 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 7.1, 7.2, 8.1 and 8.3)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Mid-Term Test 20% Individual Test
PHP Workshops 30% Group & Individual Coursework
Online Quiz 10% Individual Test
End of Course Assessment 40% Individual Examination
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5
Mid-Term Test
PHP Workshops
Online Quiz
End of Course Assessment

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 36 hours of lectures, a 10 hour tutorial, 3 hours per week of reading and thinking about the content and 5-6 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities including workshops to receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including workshops and office hours will not be available as recordings.
The course will not include live online events including workshops.
Attendance on campus is required for the test and exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

This course DOES NOT have a prescribed textbook; however we advise students to read Essential Epidemiology (4th Edition) by Webb, Bain and Page, as the suggested supplementary text for Blocks 1 and 2.
The required readings stated on the lecture outlines can be found through Reading Lists.

Student Feedback

At the end of every semester students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback and respond with summaries and actions.

Your feedback helps teachers to improve the course and its delivery for future students.

Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the department and faculty staff-student consultative committees.

About 12.5% of the 2023 cohort completed the anonymous SET evaluations. We are delighted that students has reported the following:
  • felt well informed on how their learning would be assessed
  • assessments supported the aims of this course
  • satisfied with the small-group teaching activities
  • the learning environment provided students with opportunities to communicate and/or collaborate with their peers and allowed effective communication between teaching staff and students
  • found it easy to find the information and resources you needed on the Canvas course website.

We have also received some helpful suggestions about improvements that we could make, and we will endeavour to address these in time, in future iterations of the course, and in our teaching. We will also endeavour to provide more helpful feedback on student learning progress, including on the performance at the mid-semester test.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed for potential plagiarism or other forms of academic misconduct, using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 06/11/2023 10:06 a.m.