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    Principles of protecting human health from environmental hazards and application to environmental health practice in New Zealand. Strong emphasis on developing conceptual, analytical and field-based skills for health protection.

    This paper covers the principles of health protection (HP) and their application to environmental health practice in New Zealand. Topics studied include: an overview of the important environmental hazards and diseases affecting New Zealand and our region; water and air quality; food safety; indoor and work environments; infectious disease control; and environmental health emergencies. There will be a strong emphasis on developing critical skills for HP, including: environmental epidemiology; risk assessment and management; basic toxicology; HP law; HP practice to reduce health inequalities; HP indicators; public health surveillance; outbreak investigation; cluster investigation; emergency management; environmental research methods; and effective use of evidence.

    About this paper

    Paper title Health Protection
    Subject Public Health
    EFTS 0.125
    Points 15 points
    Teaching period 1st Non standard period (26 February 2024 - 26 April 2024) (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,551.63
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    Limited to
    MA, MHealSc, MPH, MSc, DPH, PGDipArts, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPHC, PGCertPH, PGCertPHC
    Includes one field day in Wellington.

    Students who have completed an undergraduate degree in any discipline or recognised equivalent.


    Department of Public Health, Wellington campus:

    Teaching staff

    Professor Michael Baker (Overall Convenor)
    Dr Lucy Telfar-Barnard

    Paper Structure

    Individual sessions will include coverage of:

    • Introductory concepts - the nature of HP, hazard and risk
    • Applying a systematic approach to HP threats and opportunities
    • HP practice at the national level in NZ
    • HP practice at the local level (field trip)
    • HP in outdoor environments
    • HP in the workplace
    • HP in the home
    • Infectious diseases and HP


    • One assignment (in two parts) - 50%
    • Five webinar-based quiz assessments - 50%
    Teaching Arrangements

    The Distance Learning offering of this paper is a combination of remote and in-person teaching.

    Distance taught - Monday afternoon webinar sessions, 4pm - 6pm.

    Compulsory, full-day field trip in Wellington, Monday March 4, 8:30am - 5:30pm.


    Reading lists are provided for all sessions via Moodle. They include some specific chapters from the textbook: Frumkin, 2016. Environmental Health: from local to global.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Interdisciplinary perspective, Lifelong learning, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Cultural understanding, Ethics, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will:

    • Understand the principles of environmental health practice, environmental epidemiology and environmental health risk assessment and management, with particular reference to New Zealand's HP framework.
    • Understand and apply the major tools available to prevent or minimise environmental hazards and diseases.
    • Understand and apply the major HP tools available to control and respond to important environmental health hazards and associated diseases.


    1st Non standard period (26 February 2024 - 26 April 2024)

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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