Public Health In Pandemics (PUBH7116)

This course is designed to provide students with a broad understanding of the role of public health in identifying and responding to emerging infectious diseases in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. The course will cover: Communicable disease control including surveillance, outbreak investigation and interventions; Public health impacts both direct and indirect; Broader social, economic and health impacts in the population.

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The speed of movement of infectious disease in populations globally has increased in modern times with worldwide travel of large numbers of people.  Our current systems are not well designed for the rapid rise of disease where there are no current vaccines/antibiotics to reduce burden and control pandemics, especially where pathogens can spread exponentially and/or are highly infectious.  The rapid arrival of Covid-19 has exemplified that pandemics are more than just high numbers of people becoming infected in many countries. To understand both the origins of the disease and the problems coping with it, how to inhibit its transmission, as well as preparing to deal with this virus in the long term, we will take lessons from the past and apply it to a new landscape.

While much can be learned from earlier pandemics of disease, not all the answers will be forthcoming as subtle differences in both the pathology of infection, and the populations it is infecting have to be taken into account to map out a course to increased health and wellbeing in our communities.  Understanding the interrelatedness of health and economics, civil structures, law, and human behaviour is necessary to fully appreciate the true meaning of social determinants of health in this area, providing a complex picture of living in a time of pandemic.

After successfully completing this course you should be able to:

  1. Understand the role of public health responses in their management of pandemics
  2. Develop knowledge and understanding of the key elements of infectious disease pandemics
  3. Create a qualitative systems model revealing the relationships between different determinants that drive infection spread and limit containment during pandemics.
  4. Understand core principles of risk communication and evaluate the effectiveness of public health messaging for the intended audience.
  5. Demonstrate effective reflection, written and oral communication skills
  6. Work as a team to understand actions that can be undertaken to limit an infectious disease pandemic
  7. Synthesise information and apply to a future scenario for public health in the post-pandemic era
  • Health professionals (public health professionals, medical doctors, veterinarians, health economists, public administrators, planners, social scientists and health system specialists) who are interested in this multidisciplinary field.
  • Administrators and leaders in government (State, Federal and Local), businesses (small and large) and NGOs who require a firm foundation on pandemics and the tools to move through them
  • Postgraduate students who wish to gain a broader understanding of the impact and management of a pandemic
  • Master of Public Health (MPH) students from The University of Queensland and other academic institutions who are currently undertaking their MPH or similar degrees.
  • MSc and PhD students in epidemiology, health economics, public health and veterinary sciences.

Workshop dates

Monday 4 December – Friday 8 December 2023 (assessment due in January)


9am - 5pm (students must attend all sessions either in-person or online)


The University of Queensland, Herston Campus


Closes 31 October 2023

Register now

Entry requirements

For non-UQ students:

  • Work experience in population health
  • An interest in communicable disease control
  • Enrolled in postgraduate degree in a related field or completed postgraduate degree in a related field.

For current UQ students:

  • Enrolled in a postgraduate degree at UQ


  • Domestic non-award* students: $3,060
  • Domestic cross-institutional students: $3,060
  • International non-award* students: $4,560
  • International cross-institutional students: $4,560

*Non-award students are those students who are undertaking the course, but are not currently enrolled in a postgraduate program at The University of Queensland, or at another university. Non-award students may receive credit for the course should they wish to later enrol in a related program at The University of Queensland, such as the Master of Public Health.

Interested in undertaking the 5-day workshop, but would prefer not to complete the assessment?

You are welcome to participate in the 5-day intensive workshop as continuing professional development, rather than as formal non-award study.

To register your interest, please contact the School of Public Health’s Learning Partnership Manager, Rebecca Johnson –


About the course


Course Coordinator
Associate Professor Nick Osborne


Closes 31 October 2023

Register here