Australian Journal of Primary Health Australian Journal of Primary Health Society
The issues influencing community health services and primary health care
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Are insights from Indigenous health shaping a paradigm shift in health promotion praxis in Australia?

Alan Crouch A C and Patricia Fagan B

A University of Melbourne, Melbourne Medical School, Centre for Excellence in Rural Sexual Health, 806 Mair Street, Ballarat, Vic. 3350, Australia.

B James Cook University, School of Public Health, Tropical Medicine and Rehabilitation Sciences, 14–88 McGregor Road, Smithfield, Qld 4878, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: Alan.Crouch@unimelb.edu.au

Australian Journal of Primary Health 20(4) 323-326 http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/PY14039
Submitted: 28 February 2014  Accepted: 18 July 2014   Published: 13 August 2014

Abstract

Health promotion really is at a cross-road. Traditionally guided by the Ottawa Charter, it has been thought of as principle-guided actions, processes and technique, as well as outcomes or results. Health promotion has been characterised by its products and some even call it theory. In Australia, public funding for health promotion has, for many years, shaped its practice into behaviour change interventions. However, governments around the country are reconsidering their investments, evidenced by ideologically motivated policy shifts and associated substantial funding cuts. Recently, themes of empowerment, community control and community agency have emerged as new directions for future health promotion praxis and reports of activism-based approaches that seek to mobilise community energies around sexual health inequity have started to appear in the literature. Noting parallel developments in the social determinants and social change discourses, this paper posits that cutting edge health promotion efforts by Indigenous communities in Australia are shaping a new approach with potentially global application.

Additional keywords: population health, public health.


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