• Offered by National Ctre for Epidemiology & Population Health
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Classification Transitional
  • Course subject Population Health
  • Areas of interest Public Health, Health
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Charmian Bennett
    • Dr Elizabeth Hanna
    • Dr Elvina Viennet
    • Dr Fan Xiang
    • Dr Robyn Lucas
  • Mode of delivery In Person
  • Offered in First Semester 2014
    See Future Offerings

The course will begin with a general introduction to fundamental concepts in environmental health, health needs assessment, and environmental risk assessment and management. This will be followed by a more detailed examination of each of the major types of environmental risks: water and food quality, sanitation, air quality, occupational health, environmental toxicology and the built environment. The course will provide an introduction to research methodologies used to provide the required evidence, and examine the determinants and management of health protection, community perceptions of risk, and health sector preparedness. Finally, possible interventions and response strategies will be investigated, with examples drawn from both Australian and international approaches to reducing environmental health threats.

The second part of the course includes a brief overview of climate change science and the evidence of a changing climate.. The introduction of relevant facets of human physiology, ecosystems and social systems will enable participants to understand the pathways through which climate change is likely to influence human health. The course will include the likely health effects of rising ambient temperatures, shifting patterns of vector-borne and food-borne diseases, physical and mental health risks of extreme weather events, potential food and water insecurity and occupational health risks. This flows through to an examination of the likely impacts of climate change on health equity, vulnerability and resilience, and the impacts of these factors on the balance of risks and benefits to health. Health-related co-benefits of adaptation and mitigation activities, including Australian health policy responses to climate change, will be examined, particularly the role of the health sector in preparing individuals and communities, and providing adaptation strategies that build resilience in order to protect public health.

Throughout the course, practical work and tutorials are directed towards understanding the literature linking environment to health, the assessment of risks associated with environmental factors, and evaluating frameworks designed to limit environmental risks to health, as well as exploring the health risks and benefits associated with current and future climate change. Small groups will examine individual topics and report back to the class to encourage the involvement of all students. This participatory approach provides opportunities for interactive and peer-assisted learning, and broadens the perspectives and scope of content coverage.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On satisfying the requirements of this course, students will be able to:


1. Recognise environmental risks to health and the key steps and principles of environmental health risk assessment; (LO1)


2. Describe and discuss the direct and indirect pathways that connect human health, environment and climate change; (LO2)


3. Evaluate health protection policy and strategies at local, state, national and international scales, including responses to existing and emerging environmental risks; (LO3)


4. Reflect on the impacts of environment and climate change on health equity, vulnerability and resilience, and the consequences for the balance of risks and benefits to health; (LO4)


5. Critically appraise information on environmental health risks, including impacts of the environment and environmental change on health outcomes, biophysical and social systems and, ultimately, the health of populations; (LO5)


6. Critically appraise the roles, methods and responses of different sectors (research, health, public policy) in raising community awareness of environmental health issues, responding to existing and emerging environmental health threats, and supporting the development of effective climate change adaptation strategies to protect population health. (All sessions and self-directed learning activities). (LO6)

Other Information

Human Health, Environment and Climate Change will involve attendance and participation for 3 contact hours each week during the first semester 2014, with an expectation of 6-7 hours of additional, self-directed work, including course readings, assignments and group work. Part 1 and part 2 of this course will run sequentially over the 13 weeks of Semester 1. Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on understanding the relationship between environmental risks and human health, interpreting published works in the area and evaluating the relevant assessments, strategies and policies.


Lectures and small group tutorials will be used to facilitate learning and provide opportunities to explore specific topics in more detail.

Indicative Assessment

Participants are expected to attend lectures and actively participate in group work and discussions. Assessment of successful completion of the course by participants will be determined as follows ( % contribution to final assessment):


1)       One short-answer assessment (approx. Week 3/4) on concepts and principles of environmental health (15%); (LO 1)


2)       Online reflection/discussion after each session (via Wattle- max 500 words per session) (10%); (LO 1-6)


3)       Assignment 1: Assessing the Evidence - based on a case-study of health-related impacts of an environmental or climate change related factor in a specific contextual setting (2,500 words written assessment, approx Week 8) (40%); (LO 2-4)


Assignment 2: Applying the Evidence - based on an analysis of a specific climate change and health scenario/setting and related policy issues. One topic will be given at the beginning of the course for each group of 4 participants. Each group will explore and critique the key issues, and present their analysis to the class in a 10min presentation (in the final session, Week 13) using the medium of their choice (e.g. debate, poster, oral presentation, film, or role play) (35%). (LO 5-6)

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


The course is based on pre-reading , lectures , tutorials , facilitated group work  and self-directed learning . Each topic is covered in a lecture.


The workload will include:


• Attendance and participation over 13 weeks. Each week will consist of  3.5 contact hours.


• Additional time, pre-reading and preparing for tutorials, self-directed study and completing the assessments (~2 hours per contact hour) is expected.

Prescribed Texts

A reading list will be provided for each session.


Recommended books:


Howard Frumkin (Editor). Environmental Health: From global to local, Jossey-Bass; 2nd Edition. 2010. ISBN-13: 978-0787973834


McMichael A, Campbell-Lendrum D, Ebi K, Githeko A, Scheraga J, Woodward A, eds. Climate change and human health: risks and responses. Geneva: World Health Organization, 2003. p. 250. ISBN-13: 978-9241562485  


Confalonieri, U., B. Menne, R. Akhtar, K.L. Ebi, M. Hauengue, R.S. Kovats, B. Revich and A. Woodward, 2007: Human health. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, 391-431.


Relevant sections of IPCC AR5 - 5th Assessment Report: due for release in September 2013.

Assumed Knowledge

This course is designed for public health professionals and post graduate students from a range of disciplines seeking to gain skills and expertise in the fields of environmental health and climate change, specifically as they relate to health and strategies to optimise health outcomes.


Basic epidemiological knowledge and biostatistics skills would be helpful but not essential.


Recommended courses (not prerequisites):



-          POPH8100: Fundamentals of Epidemiology


-          POPH8101: Biostatistics in Population Health


-          SOCY3123: Policy and Program Evaluation


-          ENVS3020: Climate Change Science and Policy


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Students continuing in their current program of study will have their tuition fees indexed annually from the year in which you commenced your program. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee Description
1994-2003 $1542
2014 $2946
2013 $2946
2012 $2946
2011 $2424
2010 $2358
2009 $2286
2008 $2286
2007 $2286
2006 $2286
2005 $2286
2004 $1926
International fee paying students
Year Fee
1994-2003 $3618
2014 $3762
2013 $3756
2012 $3756
2011 $3756
2010 $3750
2009 $3618
2008 $3618
2007 $3618
2006 $3618
2005 $3618
2004 $3618
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

First Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
4960 17 Feb 2014 07 Mar 2014 31 Mar 2014 30 May 2014 In Person N/A

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