Challenging Remote Community Deficit Perspectives: An Australian Insight into the Role of These Communities in the Design of Their Health Services and the Development of Their Health Workforce


  • Debra Jones The University of Sydney
  • Lindy McAllister The University of Sydney
  • David Lyle The University of Sydney



allied health, community-campus partnerships, practice-based service-learning, qualitative, remote Australia


This article reports on findings from a qualitative study that explored the formation of a community-campus partnership, development and delivery of an allied health practice-based service-learning program, and impacts of partnership and program participation for community and campus participants. The partnership sought to address a protracted lack of access to allied health services for children residing in remote Australia. The program aligned occupational therapy and speech pathology student placements to the provision of allied health services to these children. Community participants – school principals and senior managers from local facilitating agencies, and campus participants – allied health students and academics were allocated to focus groups, school principals (n = 7) and allied health students (n = 10), and individual semi-structured interviews, senior managers (n = 2) and academics (n = 2). A constant comparative analysis method was used to analyse data. This article describes community perspectives of partnership initiation, catalysts for participation, and participation impacts. The role of community partners in initiating the partnership was described and conditions associated with remote contexts and health sector failures were identified catalysts. Service and learning adaptation, partnership commitment and service consistency, service acceptability and accessibility, and community investment in remote health workforce development were identified impacts. This article addresses significant gaps in the national and international practice-based service-learning literature, specifically from community and remote perspectives. Study limitations are discussed and implications for how community-campus partnerships are formed and service-learning programs are sustained in remote contexts are explored.

Author Biographies

Lindy McAllister, The University of Sydney

Faculty of Health Sciences

Professor and deputy Dean Work Integrated Learning

David Lyle, The University of Sydney

Broken Hill University Department of Rural Health

Professor and Head of Department


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How to Cite

Jones, D., McAllister, L., & Lyle, D. (2016). Challenging Remote Community Deficit Perspectives: An Australian Insight into the Role of These Communities in the Design of Their Health Services and the Development of Their Health Workforce. International Journal of Practice-Based Learning in Health and Social Care, 4(2), 19–34.

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