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.
2-day workshop; fully online version available
Multiple choice assessment (50%); Written assignment of 1000 words (50%)