THE UNIVERSITY of EDINBURGH

DEGREE REGULATIONS & PROGRAMMES OF STUDY 2020/2021

Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of Social and Political Science : Social Policy

Postgraduate Course: Population Health and Health Policy (SCPL11017)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of Social and Political Science CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course examines concepts and debates relating to public health, health inequalities and health policy in a global context. It enables students to understand the policy making process, to analyse the roles of key health policy actors, and to consider the relationship between evidence and policy in relation to health.

Public health emphasizes the dual objectives of population health improvement and the reduction of health inequalities; yet there is a lack of consensus over the principal determinants of health, appropriate policy approaches for achieving these goals, and effective strategies for engaging in the making of public policy. This course will introduce students to key concepts and principles in public health and policy analysis, exploring the role of public policy in meeting population health objectives. It offers a problem-focused and multi-disciplinary approach that draws on public health medicine, epidemiology, political science, public administration, sociology and political theory, with a normative focus on health equity a central theme throughout the course. Students will be provided with a conceptual framework within which to analyse the making of health policy, focusing on the varying distribution of power among different actors and stakeholders. Key theories of the state will be introduced, including its various functions in relation to population health, and we will explore changes in health policy associated with the ┐hollowing out┐ of the state via the increased role of markets, civil society, and international agencies. The course offers different approaches to understanding the policy process, looking at why some health issues obtain a privileged position within the policy agenda and why others are denied access to it, and emphasising the importance of understanding obstacles to effective implementation.
Course description This course examines concepts and debates relating to public health, health inequalities and health policy in a global context. It enables students to understand the policy making process, to analyse the roles of key health policy actors, and to consider the relationship between evidence and policy in relation to health.

Public health emphasises the dual objectives of population health improvement and the reduction of health inequalities; yet there is a lack of consensus over the principal determinants of health, appropriate policy approaches for achieving these goals, and effective strategies for engaging in the making of public policy. This course will introduce students to key concepts and principles in public health and policy analysis, exploring the role of public policy in meeting population health objectives. It offers a problem-focused and multi-disciplinary approach that draws on public health medicine, epidemiology, political science, public administration, sociology and political theory, with a normative focus on health equity a central theme throughout the course.

Outline content

The course is organised around 10 sessions covering key concepts in population health and health policy, with an emphasis on the broader drivers of health (outside of health care). We will introduce key concepts in population health including the determinants of health, the importance of social structure and position in shaping health, and health inequalities. Students will be provided with a conceptual framework within which to analyse the making of health policy, focusing on the varying distribution of power among different actors and stakeholders (including the state, civil society and the commercial sector). The course offers different approaches to understanding the policy process, looking at why some health issues obtain a privileged position within the policy agenda and why others are denied access to it, and emphasising the importance of understanding obstacles to effective implementation.

The course will be taught by a combination of weekly lectures and small-group seminars, with the latter including a mix of face-to-face sessions and online 'discussion' (using Learn discussion boards). In general, each topic will be introduced via a 50 minute lecture and explored in greater depth a week later during small-group seminars. Students will be expected to complete essential readings before participating in seminars, and will have the opportunity to participate in a small-group presentation to the rest of the seminar class.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
Pre-requisitesNone
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2020/21, Available to all students (SV1) Quota:  140
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 200 ( Seminar/Tutorial Hours 20, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 176 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Assessment will be based on two components:

1) Input to online seminar discussions. Towards the end of the course, students will choose a selection of their submitted contributions and present these as a 'portfolio' with a short explanatory note reflecting on how these posts illustrate their learning across the course (30%).

2) Written essay of 3,000 words (70%).
Feedback Assessment will be based on a selection of students' contributions to online seminar discussions (30%) and a 3,000 word essay to be submitted at the end of the course. Essay questions will be released a month before the due date, with students choosing one a range of options. The aim of the essay is to demonstrate your understanding of key concepts and debates introduced during the course, drawing on relevant theory, evidence and argument to develop an analytical response to a specific question.

Formative assessment: Verbal feedback is provided during seminars and guidance and feedback hours. This includes the opportunity for students to seek guidance and feedback on their planned approach to the assessed essay. Students will also receive collective feedback on online discussion posts, on a session-by-session basis
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Have a critical understanding of the range of factors that influence health at a population level, and consider the relevance of these for contemporary public policy
  2. Be familiar with key conceptual frameworks for analysing health policy as well as their critiques, and able to apply these to specific examples of health policy development
  3. Have a critical understanding of the role of the state, of market actors and of civil society organisations within the policy process
  4. Understanding the dual public health goals of improving health and reducing health inequalities; have a critical awareness of key conceptual and methodological issues in measuring health and social position; and be able to interpret and critically appraise information on health and health inequalities
  5. Have a critical understanding of the role of scientific evidence in policy-making and be familiar with competing models of the relationship between research and policy
Reading List
Key Texts
- Buse K, Mays N and Walt G (2005). Making Health Policy. (London; Open University Press)
- Blank R and Buray V. (2010) Comparative Health Policy 3rd edition. (Basingstoke: Palgrave)
- Crinson I (2009) Health Policy: A Critical Perspective (London: Sage).
- Graham H (2007). Unequal Lives: Health and socioeconomic inequalities. Maidenhead; Open University Press.
- Pomerleau J and McKee M (eds) (2005). Issues in public health. Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2005.
- Beaglehole R, Bonita R (2004). Public health at the crossroads (2nd ed). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Contacts
Course organiserDr Eleanor Brooks
Tel: (0131 6)50 4282
Email: ebrooks2@exseed.ed.ac.uk
Course secretaryMs Cath Thompson
Tel: (0131 6)51 3892
Email: cthomps7@exseed.ed.ac.uk
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