• Class Number 7318
  • Term Code 3360
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Mike Roettger
    • Dr Mike Roettger
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/07/2023
  • Class End Date 27/10/2023
  • Census Date 31/08/2023
  • Last Date to Enrol 31/07/2023
SELT Survey Results

This course is designed to introduce students to the social and socio-structural factors influencing the health of individuals and populations. The first portion of the course will centre on how to measure and interpret common metrics of health, such as measures of morbidity, illness, disability, and life expectancy. Subsequently, we will explore human health from a historical perspective, learning about the primary factors that have driven massive health improvements over the past century. Emphasis will be placed on the similarities, and differences, in these health transitions across high-, middle-, and low-income contexts. We will then explore the social and structural factors underlying health disparities both across populations and between individuals, including the roles of gender, wealth, educational attainment, occupation, ethnicity, and immigrant status. We will discuss emerging trends that threaten these continued improvements—obesity, cardiovascular disease, smoking, drug overdose, and dementia. In these discussions, we will focus on the role of social relationships in affecting health, and the ways that inequality, social stigma, and biases can perpetuate detrimental health behaviours. 

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. calculate and explain population health measures to describe infant and child health, adult health, disability, and mortality;
  2. generate and understand quantitative findings through figures, graphs, and tables;
  3. identify the primary determinants of population health in both high and low-income contexts;
  4. understand the role of quantitative and qualitative research methods for exploring disparities in health; and
  5. characterise the current barriers to improved population health faced by high and low income contexts.

Examination Material or equipment

Three sheets of notes up to A3 size are permitted for use in the examination.

Required Resources

Mel Bartley. Health Inequality: An Introduction to Concepts, Theories and Methods, 2nd Edition. ISBN: 978-0-745-69110-7

A number of required readings will come from this text, which is available as an e-book and at ANU Library

Whether you are on campus or studying online, there are a variety of online platforms you will use to participate in your study program. These could include videos 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/or photo/scan for handwritten work and drawings, and home-based assessment.

ANU outlines recommended student system requirements to ensure you are able to participate fully in your learning. Other information is also available about the various Learning Platforms you may use.

Staff Feedback

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

  • written comments
  • verbal comments
  • feedback to whole class, groups, individuals, focus group etc

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). Feedback can also be provided to Course Conveners and teachers via the Student Experience of Learning & Teaching (SELT) feedback program. SELT surveys are confidential and also provide the Colleges and ANU Executive with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement.

Other Information

DEMO2004 Policy for Using Artificial Intelligence

The use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools, like ChatGTP and Google Bard, are permitted in limited circumstances to aid in your learning. However, you are encouraged to engage in their own creative thinking, analysis, and expression of ideas wherever possible. The following course policy is in place for using AI:

Permitted Uses of AI:

  1. AI tools may be used to aid in generating ideas for writing assessments, such as requesting assistance with an outline or identifying potential sources.
  2. Students are allowed to utilize AI to enhance the clarity of language and grammar in their written assessments.

Prohibited Uses of AI:

  1. The use of AI in timed exams and quizzes, both online and in-person, is strictly forbidden. This includes using AI tools for language, grammar, or any other aspect of the exam.
  2. Using AI-generated content in the place of your own work in assessments. This includes using AI, fully or in part, to "ghost write" an assessment.
  3. As a general rule, where AI serves the role as a person helping in a way that would traditionally constitute collusion or passing their work off as your own.

Using AI, where prohibited, will be a considered a potential breach of academic integrity and will be subject policies and procedure outlined in the ANU Academic Integrity Rule of 2021.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Introduction to the study of health disparities
2 Measuring mortality, morbidity, and illness
3 Framing health inequalities in the life course
4 How inequality gets under the skin
5 Psycho-social explanations for health disparities
6 Public policy, structural inequality, and health Policy Brief Outline and References
7 Development and health inequalities
8 Axes of inequality: gender, education, class
9 Axes of inequality: race and racism, bias and stigma
10 Social inequalities across the life course
11 So what can we do? Policies, programs, and change efforts Policy brief (19 October 2023)
12 Emerging issues in health inequalities
13 Final exam (to be scheduled)

Tutorial Registration

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.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Quizzes 10 % * * 1,2,3
Policy Brief Outline & Annotated Bibliography 10 % 23/08/2023 31/08/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Policy Brief 45 % 20/10/2023 03/11/2023 1,2,3,4,5
Final Exam 25 % * * 1,2,3,4,5
Student Tutorial Participation 10 % * * 1,2,3,4,5

* 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 Integrity 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 Skills website. 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.


Tutorial participation is expected and will constitute 10% of the final grade.


A final exam will be scheduled for the course. Please see details of the exam, as outlined in Assessment Task 5.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3


Students are to complete 10 brief weekly quizzes (each worth 1% of the final grade) in weeks 2-11. Quizzes will comprise a mix of multiple choice and short answer, and are designed to monitor student progress on readings and online materials and preparation for tutorial discussion.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 10 %
Due Date: 23/08/2023
Return of Assessment: 31/08/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Policy Brief Outline & Annotated Bibliography

This assessment is meant to help you develop ideas and sources for writing your Policy Brief (Assessment Task 3) due on 20 October.

To complete this task, you are asked to do the following:

1) Write a 200-300 word overview of the social inequality in health you wish to examine in the Policy Brief.

2) Using bullet points, list 2-4 policy or intervention ideas to ameliorate the social inequalities in health you are writing about.

3) Provide an annotated bibliography with 3-5 references on the topic.

Note that the submission must be written in your own words, but that the use of AI tools is permitted to aid in developing your topic and identifying potential sources.

Due date: 23 August

Assessment Task 3

Value: 45 %
Due Date: 20/10/2023
Return of Assessment: 03/11/2023
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Policy Brief

The policy brief provides an opportunity for you to write on a topic of your choice related to social inequalities in health. Your task is to provide an an overview of the topic, along with policy recommendations or intervention strategy to ameliorate the issue of concern. The policy brief should be written to address the following:

1)   That your chosen issue is a pressing population health issue nationally and locally;

2)   That the problem you selected is a cause and/or consequence of social inequality and thus important to concepts of justice, fairness, and/or equity;

3)   That you propose an intervention or policies would contribute to addressing the underlying causes of the problem in ways that would improve population health.

4) That the policy brief be structed to have an introduction, body, policy recommendations, conclusion, and references.

For this assessment rubric, please see the course Wattle site.

Presentation Requirements:

  1. Back up your arguments with data and sources. The use of tables and/or figures is strongly encouraged, but such material must be cited and the source and/or data referenced appropriately.
  2. Use in-text citation to document your work. Provide a bibliography/references section. Citation and referencing must be in either APA or Harvard formatting styles.
  3.  In your policy brief, you should draw on course readings and concepts. You should also integrate non-assigned, external readings and materials.
  4.  Please use Times New Roman or Arial size 12 font, 1-inch margins, and 1.5 spacing

Word limit:

1750 words, excluding references.

(Work within ±10% word count will be accepted without penalty. A 10% penalty will apply to work exceeding this margin, on top of the assessment rubric.)

Value: 45%

Due Date: 20 October

Return date: 4 November

Assessment Task 4

Value: 25 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Final Exam

The final exam is designed to provide students with an opportunity to review topics and knowledge gained during the course. This assessment is comprised of an in-person exam containing multiple-choice, true/false, and/or short-essay questions. The exam is cumulative in knowledge-content.


The final exam will be "closed book" meaning you may NOT consult any readings, lecture material and online content. However, you may bring up to 3 pages of notes (three pages front and back) to use for the exam. These notes may be typed or hand written.

Students must complete the exam without direct help or discussion from human or Artificial Intelligence tools (i.e., no collusion).

Value: 25%

Word limit: Not applicable

Value: 10%

Est. return date: To be determined.

Assessment Task 5

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 1,2,3,4,5

Student Tutorial Participation

Students are expected to actively engage in tutorial sessions and discussion forums by actively engaging in discussions. Participation in tutorials will comprise 10% of the final grade.

Students should read the required weekly readings prior to lectures and come to tutorials prepared to make contributions to discussions.

1) Assessment rubric, tutorials (10%)

Marks will be awarded for active participation in weekly tutorials (5%) and posting questions for the final exam (5%).

Word limit: Not applicable

Value: 10%

Est. return date: Not applicable

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of the ANU culture as a community of scholars. The University’s students are an integral part of that community. The academic integrity principle commits all students to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support, academic integrity, and to uphold this commitment by behaving honestly, responsibly and ethically, and with respect and fairness, in scholarly practice.

The University expects all staff and students to be familiar with the academic integrity principle, the Academic Integrity Rule 2021, the Policy: Student Academic Integrity and Procedure: Student Academic Integrity, and to uphold high standards of academic integrity to ensure the quality and value of our qualifications.

The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 is a legal document that the University uses to promote academic integrity, and manage breaches of the academic integrity principle. The Policy and Procedure support the Rule by outlining overarching principles, responsibilities and processes. The Academic Integrity Rule 2021 commences on 1 December 2021 and applies to courses commencing on or after that date, as well as to research conduct occurring on or after that date. Prior to this, the Academic Misconduct Rule 2015 applies.


The University commits to assisting all students to understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. All coursework students must complete the online Academic Integrity Module (Epigeum), and Higher Degree Research (HDR) students are required to complete research integrity training. The Academic Integrity website provides information about services available to assist students with their assignments, examinations and other learning activities, as well as understanding and upholding academic integrity.

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 permitted. 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

The Academic Skills website has information to assist you with your writing and assessments. The website includes information about Academic Integrity including referencing requirements for different disciplines. There is also information on Plagiarism and different ways to use source material.

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.

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 Mike Roettger

Research Interests

Dr Mike Roettger

By Appointment
By Appointment
Dr Mike Roettger

Research Interests

Dr Mike Roettger

By Appointment
By Appointment

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