• Class Number 8886
  • Term Code 3060
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Richard Burns
    • Dr Richard Burns
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 27/07/2020
  • Class End Date 30/10/2020
  • Census Date 31/08/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 03/08/2020
SELT Survey Results

The course will help students gain a broad understanding of the overarching principles of population health, and the role of the discipline in improving health and reducing health inequities. This course will provoke interest in undergraduates around population health and will introduce the subject to students interested in pursuing a career path in public health at the graduate level. It will also lead to an appreciation of population health within the context of other health sciences, thus broadening the foundation for students in other cognate disciplines. This course therefore covers community assessment, health systems in Australia, point of care data collection, preventive strategies, and population level health interventions.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Define and explain basic principles and concepts of epidemiology.
  2. Calculate and interpret rudimentary measures of risk.
  3. Describe basic epidemiologic study designs and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each design to identify cause and effect relationships between exposures and health outcomes.
  4. Judge the quality of evidence in primary research from the epidemiologic literature.
  5. Critically evaluate population level interventions in action to a problem/scenario that aims to prevent future disease, potential epidemics, reduce mortality or lead to health gains.
  6. Evaluate the scientific basis for policy recommendations to a major public health issue and develop and propose a policy recommendation to that major public health issue within an Australian context.

Research-Led Teaching

This course will use primary references (research articles) to highlight key concepts and issues. Several guest speakers from the Research School of Population Health will highlight their population health and intervention research and applied work. Students will search and select a case study from primary sources that summarises a population health intervention.

Katz, D.L., Elmore, J.G., Wild, D.M.G., Lucan, S.C. (2014) Jekel's Epidemiology, Biostatistics, Preventive Medicine, and Public Health, 4th Edition, Elsevier Publishing.

The course textbook can be purchased directly from Elsevier: http://store.elsevier.com/Jekels-Epidemiology-Biostatistics-and-Preventive-Medicine-E-Book/David-Katz/isbn-9781455706563/

NOTE: A 5th edition has just been published. The course will continue to follow the 4th Edition

At the time of writing, the paperback version was $58.00, whilst an eBook version cost $53.99. With the paperback version, you also have access to the online version which you can access here: https://www.clinicalkey.com.au/#!/browse/book/3-s2.0-C20100656549

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

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 Basic Epidemiological Concepts and Principles; Introduction to Public Health
2 Epidemiological Data Measurement; Surveillance & Outbreak investigation
3 The Study of Risk Factors and Causation; Common Designs and Issues in Epidemiology
4 Assessment of Risk and Benefit in Epidemiology; Case-Study: Interpreting findings from the scientific literature (Statins for Primary/Secondary Prevention)
5 Introduction to Preventative Medicine; Primary Prevention
6 Secondary Prevention; Tertiary Prevention
7 Prevention of Chronic Disease and Infectious Disease
8 Mental and Behavioural Health
9 Australia’s Health Care System; Disease Burden in Australia
10 Theories of Behaviour Change; Predictors of Adherence
11 Psycho-social Barriers to Treatment Adherence; Promoting Dietary Change
12 Adherence to Physical Activity; Addressing Tobacco Use

Tutorial Registration

Students will be able to register for tutorials through WATTLE.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Learning Outcomes
Oral Presentation and Reflection 15 % 1,2,4,5
Literature Review 35 % 1,5
Mid-Semester Exam 25 % 1,2,4,
End of Semester Exam 25 % 1,3,4,5

* 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: 15 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,5

Oral Presentation and Reflection

This assessment item comprises two components: an oral presentation and a reflection.

For the first component, students will develop a Rapid Oral Presentation as would be required if attending a health conference. Presentations are an important and effective way for researchers to present their research findings. Students will:

1) select ONE peer-reviewed journal article that describes an intervention to improve health and well-being in a population.

2) The article must present a quantitative or qualitative study, and NOT a review or summary document. A good starting point for finding an article is to browse through the latest editions of peer-reviewed health and medical journals. 

3) Develop a presentation that briefly, concisely and critically communicates the article and findings.  

4) Include two original sections in the Presentation which include:

a.   A critical evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of the article. 

b.   A ‘proposed research’ section outlining methodology to extend the research

5) Display and present a 5 minute oral presentation to their tutorial group. 

The presentation is designed to develop student's

1) interest and understanding of the different fields of health research and the primary literature in an area of your choosing.

2) critical thinking skills with regards to peer reviewed literature by questioning experimental and research questions, designs and outcomes and understanding studies strengths and limitations.

3) ability to determine and extract the relevant information from the literature.

4) communication skills and ability to present information in a succinct and concise visual AND verbal manner, using a combination of text, graphics and pictures. 

Students will present on different dates and will be randomly allocated to one of these presentation times in tutorial 1. The presentations will be given during the Tutorial time in Weeks 6 THRU 11.

For the second component, students will submit up to FIVE 100-150 word reflections on a presentation they were presented during their tutorial group each week. Students must submit their reflections before Monday 9pm, Week 12.

Students' oral presentation and reflections will be assessed by the tutor and reflect 10% of the available marks. The remaining 5% of marks allocated to this assessment item will be awarded for the submission of 5 reflections.

Returned: Marks will be uploaded to Wattle by the end of the teaching period.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 35 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,5

Literature Review

This assessment item is designed to allow students to undertake a systematic investigation of a single research topic of ongoing interest to the community at large, to present the resultant information in a cogent and critical manner, and to apply the findings within a policy setting.

Students will be required to write a structured research report addressing the topic “Policy implications of a key population health issue” on ONE of of several set topics that will be made available in Week 1.

Students will be expected to:

·     Discuss what is known about the rate/status of the disorder/behaviour/issue and the epidemiology of the issue within society.

·     Summarise and critically review the key known research related to the issue, namely that which assesses approaches to reduce/increase/change the behaviour.

·     Include discussion of possible criticisms of current knowledge-base and approaches to the problem, and the means used to evaluate them. From the results of the review suggest and justify a possible policy recommendation which would benefit population health.

Whilst some questions may be specifically focused on an Australian health policy issue, students should consider the impact of international experience and research which could inform Australia’s health policy position.

Due: 9am Tuesday 6th of October (Week 9)

Returned: Marks and comments will be uploaded to Wattle after 3 weeks

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,4,

Mid-Semester Exam

There will be an examination of the material covered in weeks 1-6. The mid-semester exam is an online exam which will be open to students for 5 days in mid-semester break and accessible on WATTLE. Students must complete the exam in one session. Multiple attempts are not permitted. The mid-semester exam will cover material from set readings and lectures for the first half of the semester. The format of the exam will include multiple choice, short and longer response questions. Students will need a basic calculator.

Due: Online examination accessible between 9am Thursday 10th of September (1st Week of Teaching Break) and 5pm Monday 14th of September (2nd Week of Teaching Break).

Returned: Marks will be uploaded to Wattle after 3 weeks

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,3,4,5

End of Semester Exam

There will be an examination of the course material with a focus primarily on material covered in weeks 7-12 . The end-of-semester exam is an online exam which will be open to students for 5 days from the end of Week 12. Students must complete the exam in one session. Multiple attempts are not permitted. The final exam will primarily cover material from set readings and lectures from the second half of the semester although important and integral epidemiological concepts introduced in the first half of the semester (e.g. understanding different types of research design) may be incorporated into the exam. The format of the exam will include multiple choice, short and longer response questions.  

Due: Online examination accessible between 9am Friday 30th of October (Week 12) and 5pm Tuesday 3rd of November (week after the regular teaching period has ended).

Returned: Marks will be uploaded to Wattle after 3 weeks

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

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.

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

Resubmission of assignments is not 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 Richard Burns

Research Interests

Mental Health, Well-Being & Flourishing; Psycho-Social-Determinants of Health and Well-being across the Life-course with a focus on Work and Ageing; Structural Equation Modelling; Longitudinal Modelling; Bayesian Analysis

Dr Richard Burns

Dr Richard Burns

Research Interests

Dr Richard Burns

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