Course Title: Health Issues In Australian Society

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: Health Issues In Australian Society

Credit Points: 12.00

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


150H Health Sciences


Sem 1 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008

Course Coordinator: Professor Stephen Bird

Course Coordinator Phone: 9925 7257

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 203.3.02

Course Coordinator Availability: via email

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

Health Issues in Australian Society is a one-semester course that will explore selected aspects of social, cultural and economic forces that affect health care in Australia. Content will include a critical examination of community views about illness and health, and power inequalities occurring through rationalisation, bureaucratic governance and social status. An opportunity will be provided to focus on the sociology of health issues relevant to young adults. This will include evaluating sociological characteristics that may encourage or prevent learning about health care in schools.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Ability to use theoretical frameworks to increase knowledge base
Ability to identify actual and potential health problems within the framework of health care in Australia 
Ability to identify and discuss specific educational needs for individuals or groups within a school or community
Ability to provide reasoned arguments in support of judgements in relation to issues
Ability to facilitate individual / group decisions within a classroom setting
Ability to utilise educational resources applicable to school / community requirements for health care in Australia 
Ability to contribute to teaching / learning conversations relating to health education in schools and the community
Ability to disseminate, in written and oral forms, the processes and results of scholarly enquiry
Ability to seek, locate and critically evaluate relevant literature / information resources effectively

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:
•examine critically how sociological theory may be applied to health care issues
•determine the social processes of health and illness
•discuss the Australian health care system
•evaluate social structure relevant to health care
•examine critically ideological factors affecting health care in the community
•assess the impact of professionalisation & corporatisation on the health care system
•discuss health care issues related to schools, teaching, and learning

Overview of Learning Activities

Learning activities that will promote and consolidate the areas outlined in the objectives will include lectures, tutorials, on-line learning (where available), classroom seminars, open discussion, student prepared presentations, reflective practice and structured self-directed learning. Within this arrangement students will be expected to develop critical analysis skills that can be applied to the education field. Emphasis will be placed on the application of content to schools, teaching, and learning.
The conceptual framework underpinning this course reflects a constructivist approach, focusing on the student as a self-motivated learner. To achieve this end the learning objectives provides guidance for students to focus their studies on health-related literature as applied to teaching practice. Students will also be encouraged to participate in active dialogue by working together in small groups, especially for the production of presentation studies.

Overview of Learning Resources

Students will be expected to adopt an explorative approach to issues in health care. Non-contact hours are allocated for students to read or prepare material relevant to class content and to prepare presentation topics.
The course content is arranged to allow interaction between the student peer group and the teacher, thus encouraging creativity and critical application of basic knowledge.
Sessions will be a mix of discussion/tutorial/groupwork/presentations and lectures. Students will be asked to lead discussions where appropriate. Although some textbooks are recommended, students are encouraged to utilise internet sites & videorecordings used in class. Thus, resources of knowledge will come from within the group and, more formally, outside group activity.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment for this course consists of three components.

1. Literature Review

2. Student Presentation

3. Exam

These assessments will encourage students to use critical thinking skills to reach conclusions based on available information, or information from prescribed text, or web-based / on-line material. In addition, formalising presentations requires substantiation of judgements made in applying knowledge and theory learned in the course and to assess conclusions and make logical inferences.