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HEA8301 Fundamentals of Community Health

Semester 2, 2015 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Nursing and Midwifery

Contents on this page


Pre-requisite: Students must be enrolled in one of the following Programs: PMHN or MNRS or MNSG or PDEV or GCHH or GDHH or MOHH

Other requisites

It is preferable for students to complete HEA8001 concurrently or prior to undertaking this course
Students will require access to e-mail and have internet access to UConnect for this course.


The Darling Downs and Southwest Queensland regions, as well as rural and remote regions in Australia and overseas, face a number of complex multi-casual issues related to demographic, economic and social transitions which are more suited to upstream community health or population health approaches. This course is designed to enable students to develop conceptual frameworks necessary to analyze community health issues through trans-disciplinary, cultural and epistemologically-grounded approaches and identify a range of possible community programming responses from primary health, prevention, promotion and development. Three primary bodies of knowledge are drawn on: Community Health, Transdisciplinary Health and Human Ecology.

Students for this course may be members of key local potential communities of need - rural, remote and Aboriginal/Indigenous Communities in addition to practitioners with a regional/urban focus as well as international students whose practice contexts may present similarities.

This course is a core course within the Graduate Certificate of Health (Community Health & proposed Indigenous Health), providing the conceptual foundations for other courses.


The purpose of this course is to provide community health practitioners with a solid conceptual grounding in community health, (including its historical foundations and contemporary genres) as this is framed by trans-disciplinary and culturally informed approaches. Students will become familiar with the scope of community health practice, and implications of applying various practice approaches. The concept of community will be critically examined as this applies to place, ecology, culture and identity and health-risk factors. Students will gain the knowledge necessary to assess community health needs & aspirations, and develop interventions through a range of transdisciplinary approaches and will be able to apply the main tenets of empowerment practice within these processes.

In some respects this course is uniquely positioned as some of its content will be inclusive of health issues pertaining to regional and local communities of South West Queensland, yet it will be structured in a way to give it international relevance. Its focus on critical epistemolgocial perspective and inclusion of the 'ecology of community health' as an analytical lens will make it unique. However it will also be clearly recognizable as community health course.

Key professional competencies primarily focus on knowledge areas and secondarily on skills areas including:
. the parameters and scope of practice of community health
. the importance of transdisciplinary, epistemologically and culturally-informed approaches to community health
. the main tenets of empowerment practice and articulation of these within key areas of community health assessment and project implementation approaches.


On successful completion of this course students will be able to:

  1. Identify the key parameters of community health and explain their implications for practice.
  2. Explain in depth the ecological foundations of community health and ithe implications of this for practice.
  3. Identify the range of trans-disciplinary approaches to community health and differentiate between the potential of each in shaping community health practice, processes and outcomes.
  4. Critically analyse the use of power at individual, group and systemic levels and its application within community health practice.
  5. Demonstrate introductory understanding of assessment, planning, implementation and evaluation skills through critically appraising a community health scenario and explaining the rationale for a proposed intervention.
  6. Demonstrate competence in and appropriate use of language and literacy, including spelling, grammar, punctuation and bibliographic referencing.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Key Parameters of Community Health: including: its historical and conceptual foundations; the relevance of community health determinants; range of practice approaches; and the significance of trans-disciplinary, critical epistemological and culturally-grounded approaches. 20.00
2. The ecological foundations of community health, including: local-global dynamics, the relevance of culture, power and place in framing health issues; self-determination and meanings of human progress; and the influence on application of key community health concepts 20.00
3. A trans-disciplinary approach to community health (meaning and practice) and the potential of various disciplines in shaping community health practice, processes and outcomes. Disciplinary approaches to include: social epidemiology, nursing, health economics, medical anthropology, community psychology, geo-graphic information systems, human ecology, law, sociology, and gender studies. 20.00
4. Key dimensions of power at individual, group, organizational and macro-systemic levels in shaping community health approaches and outcomes, awareness of one?s social and professional locations within these and use of own professional power responsibly to shape positive health outcomes. 10.00
5. Key parameters of community-based research/health assessment (e..g, ethics, issue definition, asset mapping, risk assessment, community and stakeholder-based project planning), project implementation; and evaluation processes (formative, process, summative) professional issues. 30.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

  • Taylor, J, Wilkinson, D & Cheers, B 2012, Working with communities in health and human services, Oxford University Press, Melbourne.
  • A selection of readings will be available online in ?DIRECT?.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Vollman, A, Anderon, E & McFarlane, J 2012, Canadian Community as Partner: Theory and Multi-disciplinary practice, 3rd edn, Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, London.
  • A reference list will be provided on Study Desk.

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 60.00
Directed Study 60.00
Private Study 45.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Written Assignment 1 100 40 24 Aug 2015
On Line Discussion 20 10 14 Sep 2015
Written Assignment 2 100 50 12 Oct 2015

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students? responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks for that item.

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no exams for this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Students must familiarise themselves with the USQ Assessment Procedures (

  2. If electronic submission is specified for a course assessment, students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment irrespective of holidays. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.55pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  3. If hardcopy submission is specified for a course assessment students will be notified of this on the Course Study Desk. The due date for a hardcopy assignment is the date by which a student must submit at USQ or despatch the assignment to USQ irrespective of holidays.

  4. USQ will NOT accept submission of assignments by facsimile unless expressly requested by the course examiner.

Other requirements

  1. Students can expect that questions in assessment items in this course may draw upon knowledge and skills that they can reasonably be expected to have acquired before enrolling in the course. This includes knowledge contained in pre-requisite courses and appropriate communication, information literacy, analytical, critical thinking, problem solving or numeracy skills. Students who do not possess such knowledge and skills should not expect to achieve the same grades as those students who do possess them.