Approaches for prioritising the nutritional needs of refugee communities

Claire Palermo, Clare Robinson, Kate Robertson, Shireen Hii

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


An important part of health promotion planning is identifying priority areas for programs. A typical approach includes a needs assessment where a deficit-oriented approach captures problems within a community. Approaches that focus on strengths have emerged as potentially more appropriate and effective methods for program planning. This report describes the outcomes and learning from using both a deficit-oriented and strength-based approach for identifying and describing nutrition priorities of refugee communities. Focus groups (nA =A 11) were conducted using both methods with a total of 69 community members from Afghan, Burmese and Sudanese backgrounds. Analysis of the focus group transcripts using a content analysis approach identified key influences on food choice and determinants of health and nutrition. There were differences in the type of information obtained from the deficit-oriented and strength-based approach. Although the strength-based approach was unfamiliar to participants and offered several challenges, it identified unique aspects of the communities that were not identified by the deficit-oriented approach, and could be used as the basis for planning community health promotion strategies. Elements of each method should be considered when designing community program planning strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11 - 16
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Primary Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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