Personal Professional Development (Public Health and Primary Care) / Course details

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Engaging the Hard to Reach for Health Gain

Course unit fact file
Unit code POPH60062
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Division of Population Health, Health Services Research and Primary Care
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course unit is one of the blended options we provide. The course will equip students to use the evidence-base to design, deliver and evaluate services which are accessible and appropriate, in order to improve the health and wellbeing outcomes of patients and communities. Students choosing ‘Engaging the Hard to Reach for Health Gain’ will need to be available for the face to face teaching block from 6pm 4th April - 6pm 7th April at the University of Manchester  This will involve live webinars, presentations and group work. It will also include a group presentation as the mid-term assignment. In the event of a change in government policy preventing face to face teaching, the teaching block will be moved online.  We will keep you informed of any changes via My Manchester and regular Programme communications.


The course aims to enable students to develop skills to identify and understand the factors that make populations hard to reach.  Students will use the evidence-base to evaluate and develop methods of engaging with hard to reach populations, in the UK and international settings. and demonstrate their application in real world settings to improve population health.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit, successful students will be able to:
  • Systematically describe and analyse hard to reach populations in a variety of settings.
  • Critically evaluate the factors that make populations hard to reach.
  • Critically analyse the impact of hard to reach populations on public health.
  • Appraise the way that service delivery andculture can impede access to services.
  • Critically appraise current practices for engaging hard to reach populations.
  • Develop and apply evidence-based strategies for accessing and engaging hard to reach populations in a range of settings.
  • Work collaboratively on a range of activities.
  • Apply principles of evidence-based practice.
  • Transfer knowledge gained to influence local practices and become ambassadors for better understanding of hard to engage/reach groups and change within their own workplace.


  • Describe and analyse hard to reach populations in a variety of settings and evaluate the factors that make populations hard to reach. 
  • Analyse the impact of hard to reach populations on public health.
  • Examine the relationship between access to services and health inequalities. 
  • Analyse the impact of socio-economic, cultural and other factors on access to services.
  • Appraise current practices for engaging hard to reach populations. 
  • Examine the role of Public, Patient and Professional involvement and engagement in developing accessible services.
  • Develop evidence-based strategies for accessing and engaging hard to reach populations in a range of settings

Teaching and learning methods

This blended course involves working through the course notes provided online, linked references and other online sources of information including short videos. It also involves attending a 3- day teaching face to face component (starting with an introductory session on the evening of day 0 and ending after the afternoon session on day 3). During the face-to-face teaching we will use techniques designed to encourage students to work in groups, deliver presentations and be active learners and you will be expected to prepare for the face to face sessions by completing reflective study tasks. You will use self-reflection to help you think about the ideas discussed and the relevance to you everyday practice. Discussion boards will give you an opportunity to share your learning with fellow students. Generally those students who participate in discussion boards do better in their written assignments as this interaction with tutors and peers is an important part of the learning process.  We will use webinars and recorded interviews to give students access to experts in the field. You should work through the unit in a logical sequence using the calendar in Blackboard. It is essential you follow this guidance so that you are doing the same topic at the same time as your fellow students.

The face to face teaching will take place 6pm 4th April - 6pm 7th April 2022. Further details will be made available closer to the time.

Employability skills

Analytical skills
Students will critically analyse and evaluate approaches to engaging hard to reach populations, and develop evidence-based strategies.
Group/team working
Students will play an active role, collaborating with experienced trainers and other students to examine the challenges presented by working with hard to engage populations and exit the course with a greater understanding of the issues involved as well as ideas for potential applications.
Problem solving
Students will examine real-life situations and be supported to generate innovative solutions, developing skills that can be transferred to other settings and populations.

Assessment methods

Assessment task     


Weighting within unit (if relevant)

Group presentation during residential

20 minute presentation and 10 minute Q&A (Group mark)


Final Assignment

3,000 words



Feedback methods

Students will be provided with personalised feedback for their summative assignments, within 15 working days for the group presentation and 20 working days for final submission.

Further opportunities for formative feedback (on non-assessed work) will also be provided during a course unit.

Recommended reading

To be confirmed.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Practical classes & workshops 30
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Annie Harrison Unit coordinator

Additional notes

If you have any questions about the content of this unit, please contact the course unit leader, Annie Harrison, via email on If you have any other queries, please contact the PGT programme administrators via email on

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