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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh Futures Institute : Edinburgh Futures Institute

Postgraduate Course: Introduction to Planetary Health (fusion online) (EFIE11186)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh Futures Institute CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe concept of 'planetary health' - defined as the interdependency between the health of humanity and the state of the planet's natural systems - is an exciting emerging field of research and study. This course introduces you to the key social, economic and environmental concepts associated with it, and to and some of the themes of planetary health governance; e.g., systems thinking, planetary boundaries, pandemics, public health, climate change, food and nutrition security, sustainable futures.

This course will have broad appeal to students with both humanities and science qualifications and those interested or currently employed in careers across public health, human, animal and environmental health, and global governance.
Course description This course will examine the ways in which human development has an impact on the earth's natural resources and life sustaining boundaries, examining the underlying drivers such as consumption, demographic shifts and technologies. It will introduce key ecological challenges including climate change, global pollution, biodiversity loss, fundamental life-resources scarcity and insecurity, and altered biogeochemical systems and cycles, considering these alongside changing disease spread, food production patterns, and air quality.

Students will become familiar with the cross-cutting, intersectoral nature of these drivers and causes, their scale and the urgency to take action. They will develop knowledge of underlying concepts and cross cutting principles of planetary health such as policy, communication, inequality and inequity, bias, governance, unintended consequences, global citizenship and identity.

Through a combination of intensive teaching and self-directed learning, students will be invited to research, assess, and debate case-studies, and simulate evidence-based decision-making processes. They will be introduced to a range of tools (such as social network analysis, future mapping such as modeling, multi-disciplinary coordination, co-creation strategies) that can be used to understand crisis from a Planetary Health perspective, and how these tools can be used effectively for suggesting action and policy approaches.

Students will develop a critical understanding of the key terms used in the course through the development of an interactive glossary.

Edinburgh Futures Institute (EFI) - Online Fusion Course Delivery Information:

The Edinburgh Futures Institute will teach this course in a way that enables online and on-campus students to study together. This approach (our 'fusion' teaching model) offers students flexible and inclusive ways to study, and the ability to choose whether to be on-campus or online at the level of the individual course. It also opens up ways for diverse groups of students to study together regardless of geographical location. To enable this, the course will use technologies to record and live-stream student and staff participation during their teaching and learning activities. Students should note that their interactions may be recorded and live-streamed. There will, however, be options to control whether or not your video and audio are enabled.

As part of your course, you will need access to a personal computing device. Unless otherwise stated activities will be web browser based and as a minimum we recommend a device with a physical keyboard and screen that can access the internet.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Academic year 2023/24, Not available to visiting students (SS1) Quota:  None
Course Start Semester 1
Timetable Timetable
Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info) Total Hours: 100 ( Lecture Hours 5, Supervised Practical/Workshop/Studio Hours 5, Online Activities 3, Formative Assessment Hours 3, Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2, Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours 82 )
Assessment (Further Info) Written Exam 0 %, Coursework 100 %, Practical Exam 0 %
Additional Information (Assessment) Summative Assessment:

The course will be assessed by means of the following assessment components:

1) Report on Application of Tool (50%)

Learners will be guided in using a range of tools to address the planetary health crisis and will write a short (1200 words) report on how the tool of their choice enables the application of a planetary health approach and the potential solutions that can be identified through the use of that tool. For example: Using Social Network Analysis to explore the adoption of a particular health intervention in a specific population.

2) Story Telling Artefact (50%)

The planetary Health Alliance has issued a call for storytelling which can engage the wider public in understanding the urgency of planetary health crisis. Creating stories that are embedded in cultural histories and that engage the public in how to mobilise to action is a powerful tool that touches on many or the cross-cutting principles of planetary health. Students will be guided through the process of exploring storytelling and applying it to a crisis in a way that is creative and engaging. Artefacts can be illustrated, audio recordings, narrative, performances. There will be a requirement for a critical element outlining the wider context of the artefact. These will be short - an equivalent of 5mins or 1000 words. Assessment criteria will focus on explaining a specific Planetary Health scenario/crisis to a defined audience in an appropriate way.

Both components due in week 6 (after completion of taught element).
Feedback Formative Assessment:
Formative feedback embedded in practical sessions introducing tools used to explore planetary health approaches, and given during a planetary health story telling workshop in intensive element of the course.

Summative Assessment:
Students will receive detailed feedback on summative assessments against the marking criteria.
No Exam Information
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate a critical understanding of the underlying concepts of the planetary health approach including its development timeline and key cross cutting principles.
  2. Analyse a range of case studies using the planetary health lens and communicate using appropriate methods.
  3. Evaluate and develop potential solutions to the challenges faced relating to planetary health.
  4. Develop original and creative responses to specific challenges by implementing planetary health approaches.
Reading List
Essential Reading:

2015. Safeguarding human health in the Anthropocene epoch: report of The Rockefeller Foundation-Lancet Commission on planetary health. Lancet

Stone, Myers and Golden. 2018. Cross-cutting principles for planetary health education. The Lancet Planetary Health

Myers and Frumkin 2020. Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves

Shen et al 2021. Social network research hotspots and trends in public health: A bibliometric and visual analysis. Public Health In Practice

Harris. 2017. Telling the story of climate change: Geologic imagination, praxis, and policy. Energy Research and Social Science.

Behl et al 2022. Threat, challenges, and preparedness for future pandemics: A descriptive review of phylogenetic analysis based predictions. Infection, Genetics and Evolution.

Nicolas and Kallab. 2021. Effective Forms of Environmental Diplomacy. Routledge

Recommended Reading:

Selected current articles from The Lancet Planetary Health relating to:

- Cross cutting principles
- Future Mapping
- Social Network Analysis
- Coordination and collaboration
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills The underlying principles and concepts of Planetary Health emphasise the urgency of working with communities and creating change, these align with the graduate attributes of making a positive difference and the passion to engage locally and globally.

This course has been designed to enable students to use curiosity to explore planetary health crises that are embedded in their professional and lived experiences and to explore new and creative ways of problem solving as well as communicating with a wide audience. There are opportunities embedded in formative and summative assessments to think critically about the methods of analysis and communication presented in this course.
KeywordsPlanetary Health,Data,Governance,Policy,Public Health,Environment,Planetary Boundaries,Climate,EFI
Course organiserDr Rowan Jackson
Tel: (0131 6)51 4340
Course secretaryMiss Yasmine Lewis
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