Postgraduate Course: Public Health and Health Policy (Distance Learning) (PGSP11339)
|School||School of Social and Political Science
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
|Course type||Online Distance Learning
||Availability||Available to all students
|Summary||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. 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.
Weekly topics (indicative)
1. Understanding health ( including health, public health, global health)
2. Understanding health policy (including definitions, policy processes)
3. Power in policy-making
4. Health inequalities and their social determinants
5. Individual responsibility and state intervention
6. The nation state and globalisation (including state capacity, policy transfer)
7. Engaging with commercial actors to enhance health governance
8. The role of civil society in health policy
9. Introducing evidence-based policy-making
10. Violence as a health policy issue
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| None
Information for Visiting Students
|High Demand Course?
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2022/23, Available to all students (SV1)
|Course Start Date
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 4,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Assessment will be based on two components:
1) 3,000 word Essay (70%)
2) 1,000 word Blog (30%)
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- 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
- 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
- Have a critical understanding of the role of the state, of market actors and of civil society organisations within the policy process
- Understand 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
- 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
- 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.
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
|Course organiser||Dr Amrit Virk
Tel: (0131 6)50 4282
|Course secretary||Ms Maria Brichs
Tel: (0131 6)51 3205