Locational Disadvantage: Focussing on place to improve health

Project Status

Chief Investigators
Mark Harris, Lynne Madden, Peter Sainsbury, Marilyn Wise, John Macdonald, Betty Gill

Other Team Members
Joan Silk, Karen Larsen


This project was originally funded through the Department of Health and Ageing PHERP Innovative Grants Program to develop a generic public health workforce development tool and apply it to working in locationally disadvantaged communities. This initial project was followed by the funding of a mapping project to map the competencies required to work in these communities against the national Certificate 4 VTAB competencies for public health. The findings of this mapping project have now been used to develop a short course. The course is currently being piloted in the Sydney South West area.


The aims of the original PHERP funded project were to:

  • Develop a generic framework for assessing the workforce development needs in the public health workforce;
  • Identify best practice in addressing the needs of locationally disadvantaged commuities;
  • Undertake a needs assessment of the public health workforce in three Area Health Services using the generic model; and
  • Recommend action required to increase the capacity of the public health workforce to address the needs of locationally disadvantaged communities.

Design and Method

Literature review

  • Development of model and piloting with Community Nutirtionists.
  • Application of model in three AHS through interviews with managers, focus groups with teams and survey of workers.
  • Mapping of the competencies identified in the report against the agreed Cetrtificate 4 VET Qualifications.
  • Development of modules for a training program.
  • We are currently delivering a pilot of this training program.

Key Publications

Travaglia J, Harris E, Madden L, Sainsbury P, Wise M, Macdonald J, Gill B. Locational disadvantage: Focussing on place to improve health. Sydney: Centre for Health Equity Training, Research and Evaluation, UNSW, 2006.