Public Health Genomics

Subject POPH90226 (2013)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2013.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2013:

August, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: One week intensive – 40hrs (weekend in between)
Total Time Commitment:

Estimated total time commitment 120 hours


Students without science/genetics background will need to complete an online tutorial covering basic genetic concepts.

Corequisites: None
Recommended Background Knowledge: None
Non Allowed Subjects: None
Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering requests for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Overview, Objectives, Assessment and Generic Skills sections of this entry.
It is University policy to take all reasonable steps to minimise the impact of disability upon academic study, and reasonable adjustments will be made to enhance a student's participation in the University's programs. Students who feel their disability may impact on meeting the requirements of this subject are encouraged to discuss this matter with a Faculty Student Adviser and the Disability Liaison Unit:


Prof Jane Halliday


Academic Contact:

Assoc Professor Jane Halliday
Phone: 03 8341 6260

Administrative Coordinator:

Vicki Hirt
Phone: 03 8341 6336

Subject Overview:

The aim of the course is to provide a level of understanding around genetics and new genomic technology and how these fields may impact the community, individual health, public health and health service delivery. The course will provide an introduction to genomic testing and screening methods; will outline the utility of genomics throughout the life stages; discuss the interplay between genes and the environment; debate the various ethical and social issues associated with genomic technology and examine current and future service delivery issues. Students will also gain an understanding of the assessment of genomic technology from clinical, financial and policy perspectives. The course will be of relevance to a range of professional backgrounds, including law, policy and public health, journalism, science, nursing, ethics, medicine and social work.

  • Comprehend concepts of genetic science and be able to explain the role genes play in contributing to health and illness.
  • Distinguish between the contribution of genes and the environment to the development of disease and be able to identify the interplay between these factors (e.g. epigenetics).
  • Apply knowledge of genetic science and technology to the delivery of public health programs (e.g screening, family history).
  • Recognise how genetics relates to the practice of public health more broadly and be able to integrate this knowledge into decisions around service delivery and funding, policy and technology assessment.
  • Identify the various social, ethical, legal and financial issues that accompany the use of genetic technology within health and society in general.
  • Undertake a case study/evaluation (against provided criteria) of an emerging genetic technology with relevance to public health (e.g. newborn screening for non treatable or late onset conditions, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to select a disability or gender, direct to consumer marketing, non-invasive prenatal diagnosis for down syndrome, population whole genome carrier screening, pharmacogenetics). This will include critical analysis of the ethical, legal and social issues involved (70%, 3000 words, due November) and a mock up of a ministerial briefing.
  • Online quiz/exam – general knowledge at completion of subject. (20%, equiv 500 words, 30 mins)
  • Participation in class discussions and group activities throughout the five days (10%)
Prescribed Texts:

No prescribed text but a pack of selected readings will be available.

Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:
  • Critical thinking and development of logical arguments.
  • Recognition of the importance of research evidence in health policy development and translation into public health practice.
  • Review and interpretation of published literature.
  • Communication skills – ability to translate and convey complex information to a broad audience.
Related Course(s): Master of Genetic Counselling

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