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Development and trialling of a tool to support a systems approach to improve social determinants of health in rural and remote Australian communities: the healthy community assessment tool

McDonald, Elizabeth L., Bailie, Ross S. and Michel, Thomas (2013). Development and trialling of a tool to support a systems approach to improve social determinants of health in rural and remote Australian communities: the healthy community assessment tool. International Journal for Equity in Health,12(15):1-10.

Document type: Journal Article
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Title Development and trialling of a tool to support a systems approach to improve social determinants of health in rural and remote Australian communities: the healthy community assessment tool
Author McDonald, Elizabeth L.
Bailie, Ross S.
Michel, Thomas
Journal Name International Journal for Equity in Health
Publication Date 2013
Volume Number 12
Issue Number 15
Scopus ID 2-s2.0-84874220700
Start Page 1
End Page 10
Total Pages 10
Place of Publication United Kingdom
Publisher BioMed Central Ltd.
HERDC Category C1 - Journal Article (DIISR)
Abstract Introduction
The residents of many Australian rural and remote communities do not have the essential infrastructure and services required to support healthy living conditions and community members choosing healthy lifestyle options. Improving these social determinants of health is seen to offer real opportunities to improve health among such disadvantaged populations. In this paper, we describe the development and trialling of a tool to measure, monitor and evaluate key social determinants of health at community level.

Methods
The tool was developed and piloted through a multi-phase and iterative process that involved a series of consultations with community members and key stakeholders and trialling the tool in remote Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory of Australia.

Results
The indicators were found to be robust, and by testing the tool on a number of different levels, face validity was confirmed. The scoring system was well understood and easily followed by Indigenous and non-Indigenous study participants. A facilitated small group process was found to reduce bias in scoring of indicators.

Conclusion
The Healthy Community Assessment Tool offers a useful vehicle and process to help those involved in planning, service provision and more generally promoting improvements in community social determinants of health. The tool offers many potential uses and benefits for those seeking to address inequities in the social determinants of health in remote communities. Maximum benefits in using the tool are likely to be gained with cross-sector involvement and when assessments are part of a continuous quality improvement program.

Keywords Public health
Social determinants
Indigenous health
Remote
Environmental health
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/1475-9276-12-15   (check subscription with CDU E-Gateway service for CDU Staff and Students  check subscription with CDU E-Gateway in new window)
Additional Notes This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Description for Link Link to CC Attribution 2.0 License
URL https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/au/legalcode


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