AC7118 - Health Improvement: Behaviours, Practices, Interventions and Management

What will I learn on this module?

In this module, you will learn what health improvement is and how to critically understand the role that health behaviours, practices, interventions and forms of health communication play in health improvement. You will explore the origins, content and organisation of health improvement practices in the UK and beyond (including cross-national comparisons and international policies and practices). The module will enable you to identify and critically reflect on the main theoretical principles underlying health improvement and critically apply these to improving health and in response to health inequalities and inequities. You will examine how various forms of intervention in health improvement (including community development, social marketing and critical health communication) can be (and have been) used to influence health and social change. You will learn how to effectively solve real-world problems and develop skills to enable you to plan, implement and evaluate appropriate health improvement interventions. You will also engage in peer-learning, drawing on the wide variety of practice experience possessed by our cohorts. Key topics you will study include:-
• Introduction to Health Improvement: Origins, Content and Organisation
• Theories of Behaviour Change and Health
• Health Communication: Theories, Approaches and Practice
• Cross-national Case-studies in Health Promotion: Developing Critical Understandings of Wellbeing
• Social Marketing and Health Improvement
• Health Improvement and Community Development (including Community Wealth Building, Asset based, Foundational Economy etc)
Health Informatics and ‘Learning Health Systems’
• Evaluation, Ethics and Public Participation in Health Improvement
• Health Improvement: Comparisons and Lessons

How will I learn on this module?

You will engage in a range of learning and teaching activities including lectures, tutorials, and seminars and guided learning. You will undertake classroom-based discussions and case study analysis using contemporary literature and research to facilitate your active learning, discussion and critical thinking. Through directed and independent study, you will be encouraged to integrate a variety of approaches to and theories of health improvement, and to present your findings to both peers and tutors by engaging in debates on key health improvement issues, interventions and policies. Collaborative learning will be facilitated to enable you to learn with, from and about each other to promote an ethos of collaborative working for health improvement. Peer learning offers you opportunities to explain concepts to each other within a framework provided by staff, and to extend your learning in a team approach. You will be encouraged to reflect on your learning through the development of a learning log which will inform the development of your final assessment. Technology Enhanced Learning (TEL) will be integral to the module in order to enhance your learning journey. The module will be supported by the E Learning Portal and other online resources (such as access to broadcasted material, relevant social media, podcasts etc). Your lectures will be recorded and stored within the e-learning portal for you to visit again if you wish. The module will use electronic digitised reading lists, electronic assessment submission and the Turnitin anti-plagiarism software that will also be used as a formative learning tool.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

The module lead will provide guidance and support for the duration of the module and help you in relation to your academic progress. You will be given ongoing guidance about issues such as assessment requirements, monitoring your progress, timetabling and room changes. The module tutors will provide whole group, small group and peer on-to-one tutorials and feedback, to ensure you have an opportunity to ask questions and explore any issues that you feel need clarified or where you want to share your thinking on a subject. The tutorials will also give you the opportunity to probe and explore the concepts and theories discussed in the teaching sessions. Contact details for all academic and administrative team members are available for you in the programme and module handbooks on the e-learning portal. Electronic teaching and learning materials are also provided and updated on the e-learning portal. This includes assessment information, PowerPoint presentations, activity sheets, exemplars, instructional materials, module evaluation materials and relevant web links. Reading lists will be available electronically and will be supported by web-based resources. All of these online resources are available out with the scheduled teaching sessions. The University libraries offer generous opening hours and an award-winning range of services. In particular, you might find the Skills Programme and online multimedia ‘SkillsPlus’ resources helpful. If you are an international student, you will also have access to the Academic Language Skills (ALS) module to help you further develop academic writing and study skills.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
1.You will engage with and deal with, systematically and creatively, the complex nature and range of issues relating to health improvement, demonstrating your understanding of a range of contrasting perspectives about health improvement. [Presentation and Evidence Report]
2.You will develop a systematic understanding and critical awareness of key insights relating to behaviour change, communication theory, health promotion models, social marketing, community development, ethics and evaluation, as relevant to health improvement. [Presentation and Evidence Report]

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
3.You will critically review concepts, principles and theoretical models of health improvement, based on the best available evidence and research. [Presentation and Evidence Report]
4. You will develop your presentation and report writing skills, in being able to construct a theoretically informed and critical oral presentation and evidence report on a pilot intervention for health improvement. This will demonstrate your ability to solve problems and apply appropriate health improvement concepts, practices and tools. [Presentation and Evidence Report]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. You will develop and reinforce the characteristics of a Northumbria graduate as you consider the values that underpin approaches to health improvement and reflect on how they link with your own values. [Presentation and Evidence Report]

How will I be assessed?

Your knowledge and understanding, learning needs, and academic progress on the module will be monitored by the completion of a formative task (a plan of your summative assignment). You will receive feedback from a module tutor on your plan for your oral presentation and evidence report and this feedback will be the basis of a small group discussion led by the module tutor in order to check understanding and facilitate communication and learning with your peers. These formative activities will feed forward into your summative assessment by enabling you to make a judgement about your level of knowledge and understanding of key concepts and principles in health improvement. (All MLOs)

An assessed, individual 5min oral presentation on ‘a proposed health intervention’ with one question (more detail is provided in the assessment brief)

a 1500-word evidence report to support the presentation, developing the arguments and drawing on academic policy literature

Written feedback will be provided using a marking grid with specific marking criteria.





Module abstract

The overall aim of this module is to enable you to critically consider the complexities of conceptualising, communicating, managing, and evaluating health improvement issues and interventions. It explores theories of behaviour change, health communication, health promotion, social marketing, community development, wellbeing and social practices, and the application of those theories to health improvement practice. This module will enable you to identify and critically apply the main theoretical principles underlying health improvement approaches and interventions, while recognising and addressing health inequalities and inequities. The module examines how different approaches to health improvement can contribute to social change and you will learn how to effectively solve real-world problems and develop appropriate health improvement interventions.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 28 months Part Time

Department Social Work, Education and Community Wellbeing

Location Coach Lane Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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