• Class Number 8675
  • Term Code 2960
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Liana Leach
    • Prof Catherine Banwell
    • Dr Liana Leach
    • Prof Lyndall Strazdins
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 22/07/2019
  • Class End Date 25/10/2019
  • Census Date 31/08/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 29/07/2019
SELT Survey Results

Understanding the social determinants of health is important for health promotion, health prevention and also for crafting an approach to treatment and health care that considers people’s uneven exposures to social and cultural risks or resources. The social determinants of health are important from a public health perspective because they point to the causes of health risks and hence the necessary interventions; explain chronic disease policy failure; explain differentials in health outcomes; address questions posed in philosophy regarding pathways to equity and equality. The social determinants of health framework has been adopted by the World Health organisation and governments, and this course aims to supply an in-depth understanding of the field and its importance.

Learning Outcomes

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

Upon successful completion of this course students will have the knowledge and skills to:

1. Understand the history of  social determinants of health in relation to other key theories and approaches in population health
2. Critically evaluate primary social determinants of health concepts and approaches
3. Develop skills in social determinants of health research methods and approaches
4. Apply key social determinants of health concepts to contemporary population health problems
5. Critically appraise and articulate policies and interventions that could address the SD of population health.

Research-Led Teaching

This course focuses on applying theory and research methods to understand how social, cultural and economic factors impact on health. Students will hear from prominent researchers (i.e. guest lecturers) about how their research is assisting to understand the key social determinants of health, and how we can communicate findings to health workers and policy makers to reduce health inequity.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:

  • Formal written feedback on assessment items
  • Informal verbal and written feedback from lecturers and online sessions (including the discussion forum)

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 What do we mean by the 'Social Determinants of Health (SDH)' and how did this field come about?
2 Understanding the key theories and what they propose about the SDH
3 The role of the Commission (World Health Organisation)
4 Identifying the key methodologies and approaches commonly used in SDH research
5 Social and Cultural determinants within the context of Indigenous Australians
6 SDH within a global context – Thailand as a case study
7 SDH and the influence and interaction with policy
8 Work as a SDH
9 Time and money as SDsH
10 Racism and discrimination as SDsH
11 The social and cultural determinants of obesity
12 SDs of mental health and final ‘wrap-up’

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Participation in online discussion space (yourSDHspace) 10 % 22/07/2019 28/11/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Peer-teaching presentation slides 20 % 22/07/2019 28/11/2019 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Essay/review of three theoretical approaches 35 % 26/08/2019 16/09/2019 1, 2, 3
Policy description and impact report 35 % 28/10/2019 11/11/2019 3, 4, 5

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using 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. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website. Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 22/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Participation in online discussion space (yourSDHspace)

All students are required to post at least 4 reflections (posts) on to the online discussion space (yourSDHspace) throughout the course. Please post at least 2 reflections before the mid-semester teaching break, and 2 after the teaching break.

There is a lot of flexibility in what your reflections can be about and what form they can take. For example, a reflection could be based on some of the material from a particular lecture/online session. Alternatively, you could base your reflection on the peer-teaching power-point slides provided by your peers. Lastly, if you want to get creative in your reflections, it would be great if you could move beyond the material provided in each lecture/session/reading and point your peers to new online resources, videos or media stories about the SDH (include links and comments). At the end of the course, a grading out of 10 will be allocated summarising the overall quality of your reflections. You should aim for 100-200 words per post/reflection. High quality reflections are those that are thoughtful, constructive and creative. Please keep your reflections respectful and remember your peers will be able to see what you post in your reflections in Wattle.

Students are expected to contribute on an on-going basis throughout the semester. The date range for this task comprises the start of the semester and the date final results are published on ISIS. These posts are due throughout the course, final posts due 1st November

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 22/07/2019
Return of Assessment: 28/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Peer-teaching presentation slides

All students will be required to provide ~10 presentation slides (using power-point or another similar tool) to teach their peers about a class reading. Students will be assigned one reading over the semester (from session/weeks 3-12). Your presentation slides will take the form of a summary and critique of the reading. Consider adding audio/narration to your slides to make them more engaging. Your presentation slides are to be uploaded on to Wattle (in the relevant session section) by 10pm on the Monday of the week/session you have been allocated. And remember your presentation slides will be available to your peers online via Wattle to help teach your peers about the reading for each week/session. We will also usually take a look at the slides at the start of each tutorial to remind us of the reading.

Please create ~10 presentation slides (using power point or a similar tool) which follow the structure outlined below. Consider adding audio/narration to make your slides more engaging.

Important elements:

  • Introduction: Briefly, introduce what the paper is about (what is topic/problem is the paper addressing? What are the key words that keep coming up?).
  • Methods: If the paper conducts original research, identify the methods the paper used (e.g. survey data, qualitative description, systematic review).
  • Diagram/List: Draw a diagram or provide a list of the key points in the paper.
  • Conclusions: What did the paper find (what is the main conclusion of the paper)?
  • Critique: What did the paper do well and what could it have done better? (e.g. focusing on the ideas and the methodology).
  • Your thoughts: Finally, include your own reflections and/or your critique of the paper (e.g. compatibility with your worldview and experience).

Students will present on different dates which will be discussed in class. The date range for this task comprises the start of the semester and the date final results are published on ISIS. The presentations will be given online each week/session (you will be allocated your due date).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 26/08/2019
Return of Assessment: 16/09/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3

Essay/review of three theoretical approaches

Prepare a 1500 word essay critically comparing these three key theoretical approaches to the Social Determinants of Health: a) Psycho-social factors approach, b) Political economy of health approach, c) Ecosocial approach. You will need to demonstrate your understanding and application of these three theoretical frameworks. Key articles to be supplied on the Wattle site (under the assessment section).

 Your review should address the following elements:

  • Provide a brief summary of each of the three theoretical approaches as described in the source materials.
  • Give examples of how each theory has been applied in original research studies (provide details of this research).
  • Compare the similarities and differences in each of these three approaches.
  • Consider the advantages and limitations of using each of these three approaches.
  • Provide some possibilities for future directions.
  • Reference consistently using a common referencing style – e.g. Harvard, APA or Numbering.

Max. 1500 words

Returned: Approximately 3 weeks after submission

Assessment Task 4

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 28/10/2019
Return of Assessment: 11/11/2019
Learning Outcomes: 3, 4, 5

Policy description and impact report

Prepare a 1500 word short report outlining a specific social or economic policy, and the evidence that the policy has impacted health (either positively or negatively). Students may choose from the following topics: a) bans/taxes on tobacco/smoking (health/behavioural outcomes), or b) parental leave (maternal and child wellbeing).Students will be provided with ‘starting-point’ papers on Wattle.

Your report should be structured using the following headings:

  • Introduction to socio-economic policy and health impacts (e.g. many policies that don’t primarily target health impact on health)
  • Description of specific policy (e.g. history and policy details)
  • Evidence of impact on health outcome (e.g. national statistics and/or graphs)
  • Conclusions
  • Reference consistently using a common referencing style – e.g. Harvard, APA or Numbering.

Max. 1500 words

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

You will be required to electronically sign a declaration as part of the submission of your assignment. Please keep a copy of the assignment for your records. Unless an exemption has been approved by the Associate Dean (Education) as submission must be through Turnitin.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Returning Assignments

Assignments will be returned via Wattle.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure. The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Resubmission of Assignments

No resubmission permitted.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information.
In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service – including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy.
If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes.

Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).

Dr Liana Leach

Research Interests

Social causes and consequences of mental health problems; work environments and health; work and family roles and health

Dr Liana Leach

Wednesday 12:00 13:00
Prof Catherine Banwell

Research Interests

Prof Catherine Banwell

Dr Liana Leach

Research Interests

Dr Liana Leach

Wednesday 12:00 13:00
Prof Lyndall Strazdins

Research Interests

Prof Lyndall Strazdins

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions