Incorporating local health education priorities in HealthLAB: Learnings from very remote Australia

Sarah Clifford, Heidi Smith-Vaughan, Louise Brown, Niamah Walters, Whitney Hoosan, Nicole Boyd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Issue addressed: It is well-established that health education and promotion programs work best when they have been tailored to meet local contextual needs. In this brief report we describe a health education program and how it identified and incorporated local priorities into its delivery in two remote Aboriginal communities in the “Top End” of the Northern Territory. Methods: During the first visit to each community team members met with local stakeholders and ran an inaugural HealthLAB session. Fieldnotes were taken during or directly after each interaction. At the end of each day team members debriefed regarding their fieldnotes. After both trips had been completed, priority areas were extracted from fieldnotes and synthesised. Results: Although some health priorities were congruent across all groups, Community Members and Childcare staff tended to identify practical solutions while School and Clinic staff were focused on the clinical outcome. Community Members were particularly focused on the wider social and systemic factors impacting health. Conclusion: In response to the need for practical support, HealthLAB modified their health education packages to upskill mothers and sports coaches to provide brief health education sessions to local children and young people. So what?: It is recognised that many health promotion programs focus on individual behaviours without creating supportive environments. While it was out of scope for HealthLAB to address physical environmental factors, by building local capacity and knowledge to deliver health education, the program can contribute to a healthier and supportive social environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-16
Number of pages4
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
Issue number1
Early online date2022
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2023


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