PBHL20002 Assessment 2 Case Study
You are a public health and systems expert who has been consulted by a local council government in the suburbs of a major Australian city. There are various ongoing problems with a local shopping centre in the council’s jurisdiction, and they have decided to seek outside advice about the problems’ source and possible courses of action.
The shopping centre is a relatively new development by the standards of this city, originally being constructed in 1981. It is, however, on the larger side, with 100 shops laid out in the manner of an American-style shopping mall. These shops include major supermarkets, small retailers owned by members of the community, medium-sized budget retailers that employ large numbers of people from the council’s area, and local outlets of a major national electronics retailer and a major national toy retailer. At the time it was built, it was considered advanced and progressive, and rapidly became an integral part of the community. It has been a hub for grocery shopping and discretionary purchases for a large area of the suburbs, and has hosted local events for schoolchildren and older people.
Eight months ago, a cluster of cases of legionnaires’ disease was identified, and soon connected with the shopping centre. An investigation determined that it was the result of contamination to the air conditioning system, and the centre was shut down for a week so that the air conditioning system’s reserve tank and ductwork, and the individual stores’ systems, could be decontaminated and further testing carried out. This was accompanied by extensive discussion in the city’s newspapers, given the centre’s significance to its community.
In the last three months, issues related to the centre have become more and more prominent. The centre’s vacancy rate has risen to 10% – in the shopping centre management field, a vacancy rate in this range is considered a sign of a mall in trouble. There has been a range of discussion about the centre’s problems in the community, and within the council, including both anecdotal evidence and data-based content. This discussion culminated in a call for submissions to the council, and its members have summarised five of the key points as questions for you to address.
You may respond to them with any position you want to take – but remember that you are a professional and should conduct yourself accordingly. Make use of your knowledge about systems theory and public health to provide advice to the council. If any of your responses recommend interventions or policies, you do not need to address specific monetary costs or Australian building standards – you can assume that the details of this will be worked out by the council once they make a decision, so you can make general comments (“relatively cheap” vs “relatively expensive”, etc). If you make use of any outside sources or articles, please include a bibliography at the end of your responses.
1. Before presenting any of the specific issues raised, some of the council members have a more general question they wish to have addressed. These members admit to confusion as to what is going on at the shopping centre – they state that the investigation and cleanup processes were transparent and involved extensive communication with the public, particularly via city and local newspapers. Why is the shopping centre having problems? (10 points)
2. One of the submissions comes from a member of the council who deals with public health issues. This submission claims that the shopping centre’s problems are primarily the concern of its management and the operating company, and that the way it has been brought to the council is an attempt to avoid responsibility and deflect attention away from management problems. Do you find this argument plausible? Why or why not? (10 points)
3. Another submission comes from the shopping centre’s management. It comments on the significant decline in attendance at the centre since the completion of the decontamination process. Not only is foot traffic down compared to this time last year, but the management has run several events for schoolchildren and senior citizens, which they were not as well attended as similar ones in the past. The submission blames the council for this, specifically stating that they have failed to address the change in the risk situation since the completion of the decontamination process. Assuming that this is the case, how would you address it? (10 points)
4. There is a submission from local business interests, specifically an association that represents small businesses like the ones that account for many of the shopping centre’s tenants. According to this association, the council failed to communicate adequately with small businesses when the outbreak was discovered. They claim that the council gave very short notice that the centre was going to be closed for decontamination, causing disruptions from which the businesses are yet to recover. The council, in turn, claims that the disruption was unavoidable considering the seriousness of the public health issue. Which of these positions do you most agree with? If you agree with the small businesses, how could the council have handled it better? If you agree with the council, what is more likely to be the cause of the small businesses’ problems, and how can they address them? (10 points)
5. One submission comes from a member of the public, who describes themselves as “a long-time shopper and friend of the centre”. They state that the centre was advanced for its time but is less so now, and has needed renovations and updates for a long time. They mention that the centre’s management has plans for expansion and attracting larger retailers, including luxury brands, which have not been discussed as much since the legionnaires’ disease outbreak. They go on to claim that renovations and upgrades “could solve both its public health problem and its business problems”. What do you think the person means by this? How could this be achieved? What other impacts might it have on the centre and the community, and should it be done anyway? (10 points)
Assessment 3: Reflective Essay
The third assessment task for this unit is a reflective essay [1000 words]. Each student will write a reflective essay based on his or her experience of engaging with a cross-cultural community. Student can use example from their previous or current experience of working with a community group and reflect on communication and cultural challenges they experience. Students should then discuss learning they achieved from this experience and how they will apply that knowledge to improve their current or future public health practice. Students can draw on their previous or current experience working with a community group to reflect on communication and cultural challenges. Students should then talk about what they learned from this experience and how they plan to use what they learned to improve their current or future public health practice.
The reflective essay will be assessed on the following criteria.
The essay shows evidence of understanding of cross-cultural community engagement: 25%
Reflection demonstrates use of appropriate language, personal learning and change in practice: 25%
Reflexivity in linking personal experience, practice examples and evidence: 25%
All work is the student’s own, all information is properly referenced, and essay is written according to academic convention: 25%
Students must achieve 50% in this assessment to pass the unit.