School of Public Health and Community Medicine

Global Non-Communicable Disease: population approaches (PHCM9786)

image - Global Non-Communicable Disease: population approaches

Course is offered in two different modes:

1) 5-day face-to-face intensive workshop, Mon - Thrs: 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Fri:  9:00 am - 1:00 pm, 20-24 November 2017
2) Externally by distance mode


This course addresses the major non-communicable diseases (NCDs) (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease) and their risk factors (diet, exercise, tobacco, alcohol), which are responsible for considerable morbidity and premature adult mortality globally. The course runs during the Summer School as a 5-day intensive workshop. The course is based on understanding the evidential basis for the cause of NCDs from epidemiological and bio-medical studies, followed by detailed analysis of contemporary population health risk factors and the challenges they pose for population approaches to prevention and control of NCD. The course aims to provide students with the ability to critically evaluate evidence for causation and (cost)-effectiveness of NCD control in populations.  The strengths, weaknesses and challenges of different population approaches to NCD control, and their record of success and failures, will be critically evaluated.

Credit points

This course is an elective available to participants in all stages of the Public Health, International Public Health, and Health Management programs, comprising 6 units of credit. It can be taken by people doing other courses at UNSW or studying at other institutions by arrangement.  There are no prerequisites for taking this course.

Mode of study

This course is offered as an intensive workshop of 5 days duration during the Summer School and externally by distance mode.

Course aim

This course aims to equip candidates with an insight into the realities and challenges of population approaches to the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), and the promotion of health, primarily in developing countries, as well as the wide range of appropriate strategies to manage such challenges. The course aims to provide students with the ability to critically evaluate evidence for causation and (cost)-effectiveness of NCD control in populations, and contribute to NCD control through work with international and non-government agencies, and Ministries of Health.

Course Outcomes
By the end of the course you will be able to:
  • Identify the evolution of the main non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and their risk factors responsible for the greatest burden of disease in developing countries.
  • Analyse the evidence for causation of NCDs and understand the interaction between associated risk factors.
  • Analyse the evidence for population approaches to prevention and control of NCDs.
  • Critically evaluate the key issues and challenges in population approaches to the prevention and control of NCDs in low- and middle-income countries, and in a variety of settings (community, school, workplace etc).
Learning and teaching rationale
This course is based on a model of adult learning where all participants are responsible for actively contributing to the course and drawing on and sharing their depth of knowledge on their own health contexts. It is envisaged that there will be international participants within the course who will, no doubt, know more about the domestic situation in their home country than the presenters, so the presenter’s role will be to provide the tools, insights and concepts that participants can apply to their own situation. Furthermore, there may well be domestic and international students who have direct experience in NCD prevention in the developed or developing country setting, and this background will be utilised during the workshop.
Adult learning theory commences from the proposition that adults have experience of the issue they want to learn more about; it encourages them to reflect carefully on that experience and to identify where they could do better next time, and then to develop some principles to guide their actions when they have that experience again. This is the basis for asking for a review of participants learning experience throughout the course, and to reflect carefully on how it may change the approach to non-communicable disease prevention and control in the future.

Assessment Task 1 - Minor Individual Assessment
Length: 1000 words
Weighting: 40%

Assessment Task 2 - Major Individual Assessment
Length: 2500 words
Weighting: 60%

Readings and resources

Learning resources for this course consist of the following:

  1. There are no required text books for this course.
  2. A reading list will be posted on Moodle with links for you to assess the recommended readings, which are predominantly peer-reviewed journal articles.
  3. Lectures slides will be posted on Moodle after the workshop.