There are a number of hard to reach and underserved communities who experience inadequate health care. In Australia, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples experience low life expectancy, higher levels for chronic disease and elevated smoking and drinking. These problems are further exacerbated when living in regional and rural Australia and poverty. There are growing concerns over helping such groups in order to close the health disparity gap. A student-led clinic (SLC) was developed to address clinical placement shortages while providing free health and social services in an underserved community in regional Australia. Health data was collected from 2086 attendees enrolled in the SLC to determine health changes and outcomes of student-delivered services. A series of health data was routinely collected at all contact points. This included physical health care, behavioural health risk, and chronic disease measures. All data was recorded in an electronic monitoring system. Population data identified some significant and positive changes to health patterns—smoking, waist size, and body mass index. Unfortunately, gaps in data entry precluded more robust findings. It was clear that this community suffered from experiences commonly associated with health disparity and poverty. There were higher risks of drinking alcohol and smoking with raised levels of lifestyle disease including diabetes. Some of these issues were mitigated by the community being able to attend a locally situated community driven clinic.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2017, The Author(s).