Making Decisions in Public Health (PUBH5032)


This unit introduces students to the methods by which evidence is translated, used and abused when governments make decisions affecting public health. Students will become familiar with the main tools used by health economists and policy analysts. The unit will emphasize the role of different forms of evidence and values for priority-setting and policy-making. Unit technical content is unified by common themes and case studies. Students will apply methods and principles of health economics e.g. resource scarcity, opportunity cost, efficiency and equity to practical real-life examples (including specific indigenous health issues) to critically consider the role of economic evidence in health decision-making in Australia.
Students will then use policy analysis methods to critically examine the Australian health care system and decision-making in public health. The unit will pay particular attention to questions of power and equity, including the position of indigenous peoples. Finally, it will look at how evidence is framed and used in decision-making. Teaching will make use of contemporary case studies so students learn how technical analytical tools are used in practical examples of policy development, decision-making and public debate. The unit gives public health students an essential basic knowledge of both disciplines (health economics and health policy) and lays the groundwork for more advanced studies.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2-day workshop; fully online version available


Multiple choice assessment (50%); Written assignment of 2000 words (50%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.