PBHL13002 - Public Health Disaster Management

General Information

Unit Synopsis

Since the 1960s, the occurrence of natural disasters globally has more than tripled. Extreme weather events are predicted to become even more frequent as our environment continues to change and communities will need to become more resilient if they are to withstand and recover from the effects of disasters. Disaster risk reduction and resilience is based upon a combination of risk reduction strategies combined with increasing intra- and inter-personal resilience, including building on existing strengths and relational networks. Individuals and communities are the starting point to build disaster resilience, consistent with Australia’s National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (2011) which underscores “shared responsibility” between governments and communities for disaster resilience. Connecting and working in partnership with the community is the aim in disaster risk reduction (DRR); building on existing networks, resources and strengths; identifying and supporting the development of community leaders; and empowering the community to exercise choice and take responsibility are some of the practical actions that can be undertaken to build a more resilient community. In this unit, you will review the historical aspects of disaster management, contrasting the traditional command and control method against the increasing involvement of the public/community in disaster management. You will examine the benefits and barriers to partnering with the broader community, identifying their level of commitment, making use of the community’s emerging skill base, and access to largely underutilised resources. By learning from authentic examples of emergency services and community interaction, you will be able to explore the concepts of engagement, preparedness and resilience and be able to participate in contemporary public health disaster management practices.


Level Undergraduate
Unit Level 3
Credit Points 6
Student Contribution Band SCA Band 2
Fraction of Full-Time Student Load 0.125
Pre-requisites or Co-requisites

Pre-Requisite of 96 credit points

Important note: Students enrolled in a subsequent unit who failed their pre-requisite unit, should drop the subsequent unit before the census date or within 10 working days of Fail grade notification. Students who do not drop the unit in this timeframe cannot later drop the unit without academic and financial liability. See details in the Assessment Policy and Procedure (Higher Education Coursework).

Class Timetable View Unit Timetable
Residential School No Residential School

Unit Availabilities from Term 2 - 2023

Term 2 - 2023 Profile
Term 2 - 2024 Profile

Attendance Requirements

All on-campus students are expected to attend scheduled classes – in some units, these classes are identified as a mandatory (pass/fail) component and attendance is compulsory. International students, on a student visa, must maintain a full time study load and meet both attendance and academic progress requirements in each study period (satisfactory attendance for International students is defined as maintaining at least an 80% attendance record).

Assessment Overview

Recommended Student Time Commitment

Each 6-credit Undergraduate unit at CQUniversity requires an overall time commitment of an average of 12.5 hours of study per week, making a total of 150 hours for the unit.

Assessment Tasks

Assessment Task Weighting
1. Online Quiz(zes) 20%
2. Group Work 45%
3. Written Assessment 35%

This is a graded unit: your overall grade will be calculated from the marks or grades for each assessment task, based on the relative weightings shown in the table above. You must obtain an overall mark for the unit of at least 50%, or an overall grade of ‘pass’ in order to pass the unit. If any ‘pass/fail’ tasks are shown in the table above they must also be completed successfully (‘pass’ grade). You must also meet any minimum mark requirements specified for a particular assessment task, as detailed in the ‘assessment task’ section (note that in some instances, the minimum mark for a task may be greater than 50%).

Consult the University’s Grades and Results Policy for more details of interim results and final grades

Past Exams

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Previous Feedback

Term 2 - 2022 : The overall satisfaction for students in the last offering of this course was 66.67% (`Agree` and `Strongly Agree` responses), based on a 27.27% response rate.

Feedback, Recommendations and Responses

Every unit is reviewed for enhancement each year. At the most recent review, the following staff and student feedback items were identified and recommendations were made.

Source: Unit Evaluation
The new tile format in Moodle was considered difficult to follow.
Further clarification of the tile format in tutorials and in the discussion forums should be considered.
Action Taken
No further action possible, as the new template has been mandated.
Source: Unit Evaluation
The self and peer review was considered unfair by one student.
The self and peer review for assessment 2 should remain, but its purpose could be clarified in tutorials and in the discussion forums.
Action Taken
A new self and peer assessment tool was trialed with students. No feedback was provided by students on the usefulness of the tool, though it did appear to meet the needs of the unit.
Source: Personal reflection
Seminars previously held with professionals working in the field of Disaster Management were not possible this year and previous recordings were posted.
Contact professionals in the field of Disaster Management and ask them to share their professional perspective with the students in online seminars during the term.
Action Taken
Unit learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, you will be able to:

  1. Identify prominent public health issues during and after disasters
  2. Analyse the history and focus of disaster management from a global and domestic perspective.
  3. Compare and contrast traditional command and control concepts of disaster management with contemporary community based disaster management frameworks.
  4. Evaluate and apply the community based disaster management framework as a means to build and maintain partnerships within the context of disaster management.
  5. Collaborate to plan a response to a disaster scenario based on current and emerging evidence.
  6. Communicate information relating to disaster management to a wide variety of audiences using both “air and ground” strategies, including through a variety of information technologies and engagement strategies, respectively.

This unit relates to the following underpinning skills and knowledge as specified in the Environmental Health Australia Course Accreditation Policy (2019) Table 1:

C1 Knowledge of written and verbal communication techniques and strategies suitable for diverse audiences, purposes and contexts, 

C2 Knowledge of strategies to build collaboration, work in teams, mediate, educate, advocate, and influence outcomes and deal with difficult situations,

C3 Basic principles of reflective practice and self-development for effective communication,

E1 Understanding of the core principles, frameworks for and procedures involved in risk assessment for environmental health contexts,

E2 Critical evaluation of evidence underpinning environmental health risk assessment,

E3 Introduction to risk management principles and evaluation of risk management options,

L1 Introduction to legislative frameworks for environmental health,

L4 Knowledge of public and environmental health legislation,

L14 Overview of the jurisdiction and role of agencies relevant to environmental health in all tiers of government,

M1 Introduction to decision support tools (e.g. risk analysis, cost-benefit analysis, etc.),

M4 Introduction to key government protocols in the context of environmental health,

P2 Introduction to population/public health and health promotion principles, theories, strategies, frameworks and tools,

P4 Introduction to linkages between environment and health demonstrated through health policies and programs,

P9 Introduction to the impact of development on environmental health,

R5 Problem solving using systems thinking and critical judgement,

S12 Introduction to treatment and monitoring technologies e.g. wastewater treatment, air pollution control, etc,

S13 Introduction to hazardous materials used in construction (e.g. asbestos).

The unit also relates to the applied area of Emergency Management in the Policy (section 3.2.2).

3.2.2 Applied areas

Part 3 of the enHealth ‘Environmental Health Officer Skills and Knowledge Matrix’ describes the following nine applied work-related areas of skills and knowledge:

• safe and suitable food;

• prevention and control of notifiable and communicable conditions;

• water management;

• environmental management;

• land use management;

• built environment;

• Indigenous environmental health;

• sustainability and climate change; and

• emergency management.

Universities must demonstrate how they are preparing their graduates to apply the underpinning skills and knowledge in the applied areas.

Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Learning Outcomes
Assessment Tasks Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Online Quiz(zes)
2 - Group Work
3 - Written Assessment
Alignment of Graduate Attributes to Learning Outcomes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Graduate Attributes Learning Outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
1 - Communication
2 - Problem Solving
3 - Critical Thinking
4 - Information Literacy
5 - Team Work
6 - Information Technology Competence
7 - Cross Cultural Competence
8 - Ethical practice
Alignment of Assessment Tasks to Graduate Attributes
Introductory Level
Intermediate Level
Graduate Level
Assessment Tasks Graduate Attributes
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10