MSc International Disaster Management

Year of entry: 2024

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
Available as a free choice unit? No


Who gets sick, what disease afflicts them, what treatments are available and what outcome they will have are determined by an interaction of social, political and economic forces. In the past modules, you have learnt about Social determinants of health and the fundamentals of good health systems. This module takes the learning from the previous modules by bringing the ‘community’ - defined both in the broadest and the narrowest sense - at the core of the analysis of health. Why are there regional disparities in certain diseases despite global campaigns to handle them? How are these global campaigns received locally? Why do some of them fail in certain regions? These are some of the questions that this course will answer. 

Academically, this module will draw from literatures in sociology of health and illness, medical sociology/anthropology and social psychiatry. 

This is a distance learning module and is therefore tailored to the needs of those working in remote locations.


Session 1: “Health for all”– Community Approaches to Health

Session 2: Understanding Community Health

Session 3: Illness Perception and Help Seeking: The Role of Culture

Session 4: Medical Pluralism/ Systems of Medical Knowledge 

Session 5: Mental Health and PTSD

Session 6: Diseases in Context

Session 7: Stigma and Discrimination

Session 8: Health Promotion and Behaviour Change

Teaching and learning methods

This is a distance learning course unit. All lectures will be available via Blackboard in a variety of formats. Live sessions will only take place at the convener’s discretion. 

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

Assessment Task

Formative or Summative


Discussion Board Contributions

Formative and Summative


Critical Essay




Feedback methods

Feedback Method

Formative or Summative

Office hours


Written feedback on discussion board posts


Written feedback on critical essay



Recommended reading

Marmot, M. (2006) ‘ Health in an Unequal World’, The Lancet, 368.

Pilgrim, D. (2005) Key Concepts in mental Health, Sage.

Bilton, T. (2002) Introductory Sociology, chapter 13.

Kleinman, A. (1978) ‘Concepts and a model for the comparison of medical systems as cultural systems’, Social Science and Medicine.

Study hours

Independent study hours
Independent study 150

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Rubina Jasani Unit coordinator

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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