Population-based studies have associated poor living conditions with the persistent disparity in the health of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Australians. This project assesses the applicability of the Health Community Assessment Tool and its role in improving the environment of a small community in the Midwest of Western Australia (WA). The action research cycles started with the initial reflection on the suitability of the HCAT version 2 for the local community context and whether it was fit-for-purpose. The researcher provided ‘critical companionship’, while the participants of the study were invited to be co-researchers (the Assessors) who critically examined the HCAT and assess the community. The relevant domains to the serviced town (an outer regional community) were pest control and animal management; healthy housing; food supply; community vibrancy, pride and safety; reducing environmental tobacco smoke; and promoting physical activity. The Assessors found the HCAT descriptors mostly aligned with their community context but found some of the items difficult to apply. Based on participant’s suggestions, some of the original scoring scales were reformatted. School attendance and illicit drug use were identified as a key outcome indicator for youth but were missing from the HCAT. The HCAT domains applied helped streamlining core business of agencies in the local community. The face validity of HCAT items were confirmed in this research with minor adjustments to reflect local context. Youth engagement to education is of high community concern and the development of an item would create similar interagency collaborative dialogues.
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