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Your life expectancy depends more on where you live and how you live your life than on your own decisions. If you ‘choose’ your parents unwisely and are born into a very poor, or very unequal, or very unjust society, you will not live as long as if you had ‘chosen’ more astutely.
‘From Womb to Tomb’ follows the human life course as a public and population health issue. It explores each stage of the life course from conception, foetal life, birth, infancy, childhood and adolescence through the key stages of adult life to old age and death from a range of disciplinary perspectives: biology, development, demography, population health, epidemiology, public health and policy. Each life stage has its unique characteristics and is intimately affected by the outside world—by its physical and social environment and by its experiences at previous life stages. Institutions, politics and historical change mediate those experiences. Life course epidemiology links those stages into chains of effects.
The subject will be framed around six life course public health case studies that will be set within the broad literature of the demography, social epidemiology and public health of that life stage. The case studies will involve both local and global contexts and draw on specialists from across the Melbourne School of Population & Global Health to participate in the seminars.
Intended learning outcomes
- The subject introduces students to the interdisciplinary life course approach to health, human development and ageing, with particular relevance to public health.
- It will introduce students to demography of the life course, of cohorts and historical context
- It will develop an understanding of the distinctive characteristics and public health issues of each stage of the human life course.
- It will provide an overview of the significance of ‘critical periods’, accumulation and sequences of exposure in human development and of risks that are within the realm of public health.
- It will train students in literature searching, problem-analysis and synthesis of relevant literature for specific problems via. case studies.
- It will enable students to combine the life course perspective and methodology with public health policy and interventions.
- Students will obtain a basic knowledge of the literature of the life course approach to public health and specific life stage problems in both local and global contexts.
- Students will improve their practical research skills for problem-focussed investigations, and to summarise, analyse and communicate the findings of the most current literature in the field.
- Students will improve their reflective skills using the weekly blogs.
- Students will emerge with enhanced knowledge of human life stages, of the life course methodology, of interdisciplinary work and of public health dimensions of life course health
Last updated: 18 December 2020