Addressing The Impacts of Gender and Place: Improving Health Outcomes for Women in Rural and Regional Australia Through Improved Access to Evidence-Based Health Information.



"Women in rural and regional Australia have less access to health services than women in metropolitan areas, yet have a higher incidence of chronic disease and more risk factors including high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, mental health and risky drinking behaviour. (Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2011: Health outside major cities.) Aims 1. Understand and respond to women's health knowledge gaps addressing: gender, place and literacy 2. Raise awareness of importance of good health and local services. Method Jean Hailes' annual national online survey explores gaps in women's health information. Responses from 3325 women and health professionals, including 35% from rural and regional Australia, were analysed and translated into the 2015 Women's Health Week (WHW) campaign. The WHW platform: 1. Is a week-long online event providing evidence based women's health information across the life-stages. 2. Uses community led events across Australia focusing on local health priorities, supported by resources from Jean Hailes. Results Digital resourcing and leveraging existing local relationships of trust increased access and health knowledge in rural and regional communities: • 36% of community events were held in regional and rural Australia • Three in ten registrants resided in regional and rural Australia. • More than 50% of registrants reported improved knowledge in mental and emotional health (56%), recognition of heart attack symptoms (54%) and natural therapies (52%) Key messages 1. Improved awareness and knowledge are fundamental to health behaviour change 2. This requires equitable access to information which responds to literacy needs 3. Involving local stakeholders is critical to success "


Nicole Shilo

Jean Hailes for Women

Nicole Shilo works for Jean Hailes for Women’s Health, a highly visible not-for-profit women’s health organisation with extensive reach across Australia. Jean Hailes is funded by the Australian Government Department of Health to deliver the national digital gateway for women’s health at www.jeanhailes.org.au

Nicole’s role at Jean Hailes involves government relations and community engagement, with responsibility for finding ways to reach women in diverse communities.