Life-Course & Place-Based Approach
The Healthy Communities Foundation Australia has adopted two intersecting themes to help to understand and organise our research, programs and advocacy in ways that reflect the needs of rural, Aboriginal and disadvantaged communities.
A life course approach takes into account how the context in which we live influences our health, prosperity and opportunities across the course of our lives.
Our health is shaped by the conditions in which we are born, grow, work, live, and age, and the wider set of forces and systems shaping the conditions of daily life (such as health system policies and funding, development agendas, employment and economic opportunity, housing, educational attainment etc) . These are called the social determinants of health.
The life course approach is an integrated approach to support communities to address the drivers of good and poor health by understanding how social, economic, biological, behavioural, environmental and other factors impact on health at different stages of people’s lives.
The life course approach acknowledges that health status is cumulative. Factors such as poverty in early childhood, or involvement with the criminal justice system in early adulthood, all impact on health across the course of a person’s life.
The stage that people are at in their lives, however, is not sufficient to understanding or addressing their health needs. Where they live, work and age is equally important. For example, we know that living in a small rural town increases the chances of a person having two or more chronic disease and poor access to health care.
Interventions to improve health therefore need to understand how stage of life, and the places in which they live, interact to create disadvantage in order to improve access to traditional health and medical services and improve health outcomes.
Our research, policy and service streams are integrated programs organising into the different life stages, and places, using the links on the right.