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Assumed enablers, actual barriers: challenging the stereotypes of rural communities
  1. Rhiannon Dooley
  1. Queensland Health, Mackay, Australia


    Background Sarina is a complex community with sugar and mining industries; a strong identity; a relaxed coastal lifestyle; and a diverse population. High injury rates in Sarina led to investigations into the safety barriers in the community, contesting many existing stereotypes. Following this, a multi-strategy approach to injury prevention, with cross sectional partnerships has sought to address long-standing injury issues in Sarina.

    Aims/Objectives/Purpose Aiming to create change at a population level, a combination of strategies has been implemented in Sarina to respond to injury priorities at a local level.

    Methods Organisational commitment has enabled a driven workforce the capacity to address emerging injury concerns. The community has been supported to develop solutions to existing injury concerns, for example, to conduct site assessments of the local environment to explore safety concerns for pedestrians and cyclists. The identification of a literature gap—appropriate interventions to reduce the risk of dog bites in a rural community—encourages future injury prevention research. Providing strength and balance activities has increased the ability of older residents to reduce their risk of falls. Advocating for the upgrading and maintaining of community facilities and infrastructure has reduced the risk of injury at a population level.

    Results/Outcome Identifying and challenging initial stereotypes about Sarina enables the implementation of a finely tuned injury prevention response.

    Significance/Contribution to the Field To successfully implement injury prevention strategies, assumptions about safety barriers and enablers in the intervention community must be identified and challenged.

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