POPLHLTH 733 : Health Promotion Theory and Models

Medical and Health Sciences

2024 Semester One (1243) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Examines the values, theories and practice models of health promotion and in particular, an approach to the social determinants of health and health equity that seeks to empower individuals and groups to deal with these issues.

Course Overview

Health Promotion, a core subject in the study of public health, is community-focused action to address health inequity.  POPLHTLH 733 exposes students to contemporary and interdisciplinary theories used in health promotion to understand the drivers and determinants of inequality and approaches that best redress them, highlighting, in particular, the influence of socio-demographic characteristics such as income, gender, ethnicity, age, etc. in generating marginalization.  While the central focus in health promotion is empowering action at the level of community, its scope extends from organizational units such as schools and workplaces to the macro concerns of policy and politics. 

The course is most appropriate for those who are already in or who intend working in the health promotion workforce as well as for students wishing to undertake research in areas related to critical analysis of public health concerns.   

POPLHLTH 733 is a compulsory course for students enrolled in the Masters of Health Practice (Health Promotion specialisation). It is an elective course for those enrolled in the Diploma or Masters in Public Health or Health Sciences. It is also an elective course for students in BHSc Honours. Honours students wishing to take this course will need a Personal Course of Study approved by the programme director.

The course is offered over 5 full-day sessions, each devoted to specific theoretical focus. In the tradition of post-graduate courses, the class is a mix of lecture, class activities and discussions, and high levels of interaction are expected. Students intending to take POPLHLTH 733 must be prepared to keep up with prescribed readings, attend lectures and tutorials, participate in class discussions, be prepared to engage intellectually in wider current affairs on subjects of relevance to the class, and complete all graded assessments and ungraded tasks and activities. 

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Course Contacts

Dr Rachel Simon-Kumar, Course Director
Associate Professor
Email: r.simon-kumar@auckland.ac.nz
Phone: +64 (0) 9 923 7645

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: People and Place
Capability 3: Knowledge and Practice
Capability 4: Critical Thinking
Capability 5: Solution Seeking
Capability 6: Communication
Capability 8: Ethics and Professionalism
Graduate Profile: Master of Public Health

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Develop and demonstrate an understanding of the principles and foundations of health promotion as a discipline of study and as practice. (Capability 3, 4 and 8)
  2. Explain drawing on ‘determinants’ frameworks, the multi-level nature of the social and political structures that cause ill-health and the linkages between them. (Capability 1, 3, 4, 5 and 8)
  3. Describe and critique power and empowerment, appreciating the complexity of what constitutes ‘empowerment’ and how it might play out in localised health contexts. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  4. Undertake critical social analyses of health problems by applying theoretical frameworks to the analysis of health inequity within and between countries. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)
  5. Appreciate diversity and discuss diverse and gender approaches in health promotion. (Capability 3, 4 and 6)
  6. Strategically think about what might constitute a health-promoting society through an understanding of the structural and political basis for health and ill-health. (Capability 1 and 4)
  7. Critically appraise health promotion as practice. The paper encourages students to think about assumptions underlying the ‘doing’ of health promotion – what it reveals about the values and assumptions that underpin health in society. (Capability 3 and 4)
  8. Use and apply theories and conceptual models in the analysis of health inequity within and between population groups. (Capability 3, 4 and 5)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Article critique 10% Individual Coursework
Interventions Essay 25% Individual Coursework
Class engagement activities 10% Individual Coursework
Concept Mapping Assignment 30% Individual Coursework
Peer Review 10% Individual Coursework
Presentation 15% Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
Article critique
Interventions Essay
Class engagement activities
Concept Mapping Assignment
Peer Review

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 6-10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in. This includes weeks in which there are no lecture sessions. 

For this course, you can expect 30 hours of lectures and a further 3-5 tutorial hours (by agreement). In addition, during the semester, expect to set aside around 75 hours for reading and thinking about the content and working on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Attendance is required at scheduled activities to receive credit for components of the course.
Lectures will be available as recordings. 
The activities for the course are scheduled as a block delivery.

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.

Students are provided access to online course pages in CANVAS which is the University’s online Learning Management System. These pages give the course outline, objectives for each session and recommended reading. All PowerPoint presentations and additional course materials are available through CANVAS. 

Students are encouraged to use the internet for access to literature. Required books are on short term loan in the University Library.

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.


Other Information

Additional mandatory tutorial sessions are a part of the course. The one-hour long tutorials focus on assignments and writing skills, and will be run immediately after class on lecture days. 

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.

This is a graduate class and student preparedness, participation and independent learning skills are emphasized.


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.