From 'problem-describing' to 'problem-solving': challenging the 'deficit' view of remote and rural health

Bourke, Lisa, Humphreys, John S., Wakerman, John, and Taylor, Judy (2010) From 'problem-describing' to 'problem-solving': challenging the 'deficit' view of remote and rural health. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 18 (5). pp. 205-209.

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OBJECTIVE: Rural and remote health research has highlighted the many problems experienced in the bush. While attention to problems has raised awareness of the needs of rural and remote health, embedding a deficit perspective in research has stereotyped rural and remote health as poor environments to work in and as inherently problematic. The objectives of this paper are to challenge this thinking and suggest that a more balanced approach, acknowledging strengths, is beneficial.

DESIGN: This discussion identifies why the deficit approach is problematic, proposes a strengths-based approach and identifies some key strengths of rural and remote health.

RESULTS: This study suggests alternative ways of thinking about rural and remote practice, including the rewards of rural and remote practice, that rural and remote communities can act as change agents, that these disciplines actively address the social determinants of health, that rural and remote areas have many innovative primary health care services and activities and that rural and remote contexts provide opportunities for evaluation and research. It is proposed that rural and remote health can be viewed as problem-solving, thus dynamic and improving rather than as inherently problematic.

CONCLUSION: Critical of a deficit approach to rural and remote health, this paper provides alternatives ways of thinking about these disciplines and recommends a problem-solving perspective of rural and remote health.

Item ID: 16085
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1440-1584
Keywords: deficit; problem; remote health; rural health; strengths-based
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2011 02:03
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111799 Public Health and Health Services not elsewhere classified @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111708 Health and Community Services @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 100%
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