Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences

POPLHLTH 700 - Community Health Development

15 Points

Semester 1



Provides a comprehensive overview of the principles, theories, and frameworks for undertaking community-level health development. Special emphasis on empowering and critical perspectives and the implications for health and determinants at a community-level of focus. Informed by current research and a comparative case study approach, the paper examines the opportunities and challenges in the delivery of health for, and by, diverse communities in New Zealand and globally.


Corequisite: POPLHLTH 722 

Course information

Goals of the Course

This course aims to provide students with an advanced understanding of current theory and practice in community development with a focus on improvements in health and wellbeing. A strong emphasis will be placed on the social and economic determinants of health and the role of inequalities. The course will focus primarily on New Zealand contexts but will also draw on international case studies as comparators. 


Learning Outcomes 

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • Critically evaluate theory and practice used in community development for health.

  • Apply research methods and theory to explain how the social and economic determinants of health interact with systems at a community level.

  • Critique key interventions and strategies for engaging appropriately and ethically with communities and assisting them in health development.

  • Demonstrate an understanding of appropriate ways of working in diverse communities including those with low income families and ethnic diversity. 


Content Outline 

The content of the course will be divided into five content areas, each covered in the four separate one-day blocks: 

  • What is community and cultural development?

  • How are communities empowered?

  • How do we work together?

  • How to engage with diversity?

  • How do we know things have changed?

Learning and Teaching

The course will consist of five block teaching days on Mondays 9:00am-3:pm plus self-directed reading and assignments. The reading will focus both on a general knowledge of the field and the development of specialist interests. The teaching assumes that students will devote time between each block to read the prescribed text and readings. Students will be encouraged to develop their own perspectives and interests and to relate these to their work environment. Assignment work assumes significant self-directed reading into specialist interest areas.  Class teaching will involve a mixture of presentations and discussion. Students are encouraged to participate actively in discussions and to clearly communicate both consenting and dissenting viewpoints. 

The block teaching is intended to facilitate access for students working full-time and/or coming from outside Auckland. Students are expected to engage in a minimum of six hours of reading per week. The remaining 54 hours will be devoted to assignments and examination preparation (a total of 150 hours for the course as a whole). 

Block days will be interspersed with a mixture of learning activities including lectures, group discussions debates. Students will be asked to present on their applied intervention project during the final block.


Campus Teaching Dates

This course is held at Tāmaki Campus. The lecture dates are available on the web site.

Please see your timetable on SSO or Building 730 Reception noticeboard on the day for the room details. 


Learning Resources

Required reading will be comprised of a set of recent and relevant journal articles. 

Selected articles are provided at the first class during the course. 



There will be 4 assignments and the course is 100% internally assessed. 


Programme and Course Advice

This is a core course for Postgraduate Diploma in Health Science and Master of Health Practice programme specialisations in Population Mental Health, Pacific Health and Health Promotion.

Course Coordinator