Master of Health Studies (MHST) 601

Critical Foundations in Health Disciplines


Delivery Mode: Paced/home-study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: None

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies

This course is not eligible to be taken by the MN-GEN Program students


As the introductory course to the Master of Health Studies (MHS) degree, MHST 601 offers a contemporary overview of health in Canada as a basis for your MHS program. The focus of this course is on understanding how to conceptualize, study, and analyze factors influencing the health of Canadians within the context of the Canadian health care system. Students will examine ‘health’ and the foundations of health systems within an inter-professional connected environment. This connected learning will rely on interactions with your classmates and instructor, with your health professional colleagues and mentors, and with professionals and academics around the globe.

Course Learning Outcomes

MHST 601 is designed to help students be able to do the following:

  • describe the key determinants of health in Canadians;
  • explain health outcomes from a multilevel approach;
  • examine the relevance of inter-professional practice in the healthcare system as it relates to your own context as a researcher or health professional;
  • establish a professional digital identity and use social media to participate as part of a professional learning network;
  • explain how health inequities in Canada can be understood by political, social, and economic influences and how this applies to your professional context;
  • curate and synthesize evidence to explain health and to inform health policy in the context of the Canadian health care system;
  • compare and contrast your own regional and professional practices with other regional and professional practices, as it relates to professionally relevant topics within the Canadian health system; and
  • synthesize and apply different approaches to understanding emerging issues affecting the health of Canadians.

Course Overview

MHST 601 comprises 8 units as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Unit 1: Inter-professional connectedness
  • Unit 2: Federal and Provincial health systems in Canada
  • Unit 3: Health of Canadians: Understanding health and determinants of health
  • Unit 4: Multilevel approaches to understanding health: Beyond the individual
  • Unit 5: Chronic disease prevention and management
  • Unit 6: Vulnerable populations
  • Unit 7: Future directions in health

Assessment Structure, Grading and Style Requirements

Activity Weighting
Curation of weekly resources and social media participation 20%
Assignment 1: Professionalism Creation of ePortfolio 20%
Assignment 2: Multilevel understanding of a health issue
(1000-1500 words) Application of a multilevel model of health to a particular health issue
Assignment 3: Integrated understanding of health in context
Completed ePortfolio and final synthesis blog (1000-1500 words)
Total 100%

All written assignments of the program must be completed according to the format described in the current edition of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association

In the MHS program, students must achieve an overall program GPA of 2.7 (B- or 70 percent), to graduate. The minimum passing grade requirement for each MHS course is C- (60 percent).

Course Materials

There is no print textbook for this course. Instead you are presented with a variety of online, multi-media learning resources including peer reviewed articles from the AU library, e-textbooks, videos, movies etc. Many of these are open educational resources (OER). The course topic is well suited to utilizing online resources that allow access to emerging research reports and real-time interviews and newscasts that discuss trends as they are developing. You are invited to share learning resources you discover related to course content with others in the class. Locating additional online resources will assist you in achieving the learning outcomes and your own learning goals, as well as help us develop as a learning community.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Updated December 15, 2017.