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People and Place: Understanding a Research Program for Understanding and Addressing Place-based Health Inequities in Tasmania
This report reviews and assesses the growing scholarly literature exarnmmg the relationship between health inequalities and 'place'. 'Place based' research analyses and seeks to explain variations in health and other social outcomes between geographically defined communities. This literature suggests specific socio-economic, cultural and environmental factors at the community level may undermine the effectiveness of policy programs which would otherwise be successful indifferent contexts. The report finds that there is an evidence base for the proposition that place impacts on health outcomes and inequities, as well as a literature which describes strategies for interventions and policies designed to address place based health inequality.
A common theme in the literature is that placed based strategies must be tailored to needs of the specific communities they are designed to serve. The literature highlights the need to conduct detailed community level research to establish the causes of this disadvantage and strategies to remedy it. The most successful place based health programs, such as the Health Action Zones and the Healthy living Centre programs in the UK, were informed by lay knowledge and utilised community organisations to deliver programs. While the British experience provides valuable insights into how to design and deliver place based health programs, the report also notes that such programs need to be adapted to the Tasmanian context.The report concludes that a place-based approach to addressing health inequality has the potential to complement and enhance the Healthy Tasmania strategy. The report argues that a place based strategy must be informed by robust data on the spatial distribution of poor health outcomes. If this preliminary analysis reveals geographic 'clusters' of poor health outcomes then more detailed field research will be required to establish the underlying socio-economic, cultural and environmental causes. Having generated data on the relationship between place and health inequality in Tasmania it will be possible to develop targeted approachesto address locational disadvantage.
Commissioning bodyUTAS DHHS
Department/SchoolSchool of Social Sciences