MSc International Disaster Management

Year of entry: 2023

Course unit details:
Community Approaches to Health

Course unit fact file
Unit code HCRI71000
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Full year
Offered by Humanitarian Conflict Response Institute
Available as a free choice unit? No


This unit will understand the socio, political and economic processes that influence health and health outcomes. All health practitioners are confronted with the problem of adverse outcomes and non-compliance and disengagement with what is perceived as the right thing to do under given circumstances. The unit will engage with broader ways in which medicine is constructed socially and how there might be limitations to bio-medicine and physiology. This will allow practitioners to locate medicine broadly and understand the larger processes that have an impact on health outcomes.             


This course aims to introduce students to the theory and practise of community medicine in order to understand how practitioners can work with communities in order to change some of the adverse health outcomes. It will also allow practitioners to understand why outcomes of certain illnesses are different in different countries and why they vary widely within the same country.    

Knowledge and understanding

  • Understand the theoretical underpinnings within sociology and anthropology as they are applied to health and medicine.
  • To understand how social, economic and political factors affect health outcomes.
  • To engage critically with the role of culture and other non-biomedical models of health and well being.
  • Understanding these processes will help in the delivery of health care on local, national and global scene.   

Intellectual skills

  • Re-think the concept of community health by locating medicine and medical practices socially.
  • Understand the role of culture in the practise of health 
  • Understand health as a holistic process and engage with other explanations of health and illness. 

Practical skills

  • Identify the causes of adverse health outcomes.
  • Integrate culture and context in planning health initiatives at the community level.  

Transferable skills and personal qualities

  • Critical analysis of health and illness
  • Locate community health holistically. 

Assessment methods

Contribution to Discussion Board - 10%

Critical Review of Article - 15%

Final Essay - 75%

Additional notes

Please note that these units are intensive 8-week short courses, predominately independent-study, with no face-to-face learning

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