• To cover a broad range of important issues relevant to a community environment that supports achieving and maintaining good health.

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.

The Healthy Community Assessment Tool (HCAT) has been designed for easy use by people from diverse backgrounds in a wide variety of rural and remote communities. In some communities there may be many complexities to some of the specific issues covered by the Tool. These social, technical and other issues may need to be addressed in more depth if they are seen to be priority issues for a community.

Our research found:

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.

Chief Investigator:
Contact information:
Project dates:

The project ran from 2007 - 2008.

  • Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing.
  • Northern Territory Department of Health Environmental Health Division.
  1. McDonald,E.L., Bailie, R., & Michel,T. (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.