Culture and Society in Public Health

Culture and Society in Public Health

Unit code: HMG7220

Credit points: 12 

This unit examines the contribution of the social sciences in understanding and improving public health. The influence of culture and society on beliefs, attitudes and behaviours around health and how these shape disease risk and health outcomes are critically appraised. You will explore the complex relationships between gender, culture and health inequalities. The efficacy of policies and strategies to address such inequalities will be evaluated. Concepts of cultural competence and its relevance to public health practice and cross-cultural communication models are examined to facilitate enhanced professional practice when working with diverse communities.

Learning outcomes


On successful completion of this unit, students will be able to:

  1. Evaluate theoretical frameworks which explain the influence of society and culture on health and access to health care and defend their application in known and unknown scenarios.
  2. Critically appraise efforts to address health inequalities through public health policies and programs, taking into account sociological and anthropological perspectives.
  3. Qualify and apply concepts of cultural competence and health promotion to address health inequalities in specific populations.
  4. Substantiate the need and means to communicate effectively across social groups in diverse cultures.




Contribution to a discussion board on concepts on issues currently in media that impact beliefs, attitudes and behaviours around health (500 words) - 10%

Case study on specific health inequality (2500 words) - 50%

Essay on cultural competence (2000 words) - 40%


Related course/s


This unit is studied as part of the online Master of Public Health and Graduate Certificate in Public Health.