• Class Number 6600
  • Term Code 3160
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Liana Leach
    • Dr Liana Leach
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 26/07/2021
  • Class End Date 29/10/2021
  • Census Date 14/09/2021
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/08/2021
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:

  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 an cultural determinants of health, and how we can communicate findings to health workers and policy makers to reduce health inequity.

Recommended student system requirements 

ANU courses commonly use a number of online resources and activities including:

  • video material, similar to YouTube, for lectures and other instruction
  • two-way video conferencing for interactive learning
  • email and other messaging tools for communication
  • interactive web apps for formative and collaborative activities
  • print and photo/scan for handwritten work
  • home-based assessment.

To fully participate in ANU learning, students need:

  • A computer or laptop. Mobile devices may work well but in some situations a computer/laptop may be more appropriate.
  • Webcam
  • Speakers and a microphone (e.g. headset)
  • Reliable, stable internet connection. Broadband recommended. If using a mobile network or wi-fi then check performance is adequate.
  • Suitable location with minimal interruptions and adequate privacy for classes and assessments.
  • Printing, and photo/scanning equipment

For more information please see https://www.anu.edu.au/students/systems/recommended-student-system-requirements

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 during tutorial sessions and within the online 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 SDH and the influence and interaction with policy
6 Work as a SDH
7 Social and Cultural determinants within the context of Indigenous Australians
8 Time and money as SDH
9 SDH within a global context – Thailand as a case study
10 Racism and discrimination as SDsH
11 The social and cultural determinants of obesity
12 SDs of mental health and final ‘wrap-up’

Tutorial Registration

There will be a tutorial with the course convener each week on Wednesday from 9:00am-10:00am. There will be options to attend this tutorial either in-person (on campus at ANU at the Research School of Population Health) or online (via Zoom with links to be sent via Wattle) Students enrolled in the in person delivery of this course will be expected to attend this tutorial in-person on campus at ANU at the Research School of Population Health. While you are not required to register formally for this tutorial, all students are expected to attend whenever possible.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Learning Outcomes
Participation in online discussion space (yourSDHspace) 10 % * 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Peer-teaching presentation slides 20 % * 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Essay/review of three theoretical approaches 35 % 30/08/2021 1, 2, 3
Policy description and impact report 35 % 29/10/2021 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 Academic Integrity . In rare cases where online submission using Turnitin software is not technically possible; or where not using Turnitin software has been justified by the Course Convener and approved by the Associate Dean (Education) on the basis of the teaching model being employed; students shall submit assessment online via ‘Wattle’ outside of Turnitin, or failing that in hard copy, or through a combination of submission methods as approved by the Associate Dean (Education). The submission method is detailed below.

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 %
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 (yourSCDHspace) 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 and point your peers to new online resources or videos 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 150-250 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.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
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. You are required to add audio/narration (i.e. recording) to your slides to make them more engaging (max. 3 minutes per slide). 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. You are required to add audio/narration to your slides (max. 3 minutes per slide).

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).

Assessment Task 3

Value: 35 %
Due Date: 30/08/2021
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: 29/10/2021
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)


Reference consistently using a common referencing style – e.g. Harvard, APA or Numbering.

Max. 1500 words

Returned: Approximately 3 weeks after submission

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically, committing to honest and responsible scholarly practice and upholding these values with respect and fairness.

The ANU commits to assisting all members of our community to 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 be familiar with the academic integrity principle and Academic Misconduct Rule, 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 Academic Misconduct Rule is in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Very minor breaches of the academic integrity principle may result in a reduction of marks of up to 10% of the total marks available for the assessment. The ANU offers a number of online and in person services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. Visit the Academic Skills website for more information about academic integrity, your responsibilities and for assistance with your assignments, writing skills and study.

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) 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. Extensions may be granted 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

By Appointment
Dr Liana Leach

Research Interests

Dr Liana Leach

By Appointment

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