Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


(OTHY200 Neuroscience, Neurodevelopment OR ALHT210 Neuroscience for Allied Health ) AND (OTHY201 Social Determinants of First Peoples Health and Wellbeing OR OTHY211 Social Determinants of First Peoples Health and Wellbeing ) AND (OTHY203 Occupational Therapy Interventions for Physical Conditions OR OTHY210 Physical Rehabilitation 1 ) AND OTHY204 Occupational Participation and Disability AND OTHY205 Mental Health Recovery in Occupational Therapy 1 AND OTHY207 Vocational Preparation and Rehabilitation AND (OTHY208 Clinical Counselling and Group Work OR OTHY306 Clinical Counselling and Group Work )


(SPHY201 Language Disorders (Developmental) AND SPHY202 Language Disorders (Acquired) AND SPHY203 Speech Pathology Practice 2A AND SPHY204 Speech Disorders (Developmental) AND SPHY205 Motor Speech Disorders (Acquired) AND SPHY207 Speech Pathology Practice 2B )


(SWTP215 Ethics and Theories in Social Work AND SWTP216 Social Work Skills in Practice with Individuals AND SWTP213 Race and Identity: Anti-Racist Social Work Practice ) OR (SWTP217 Social Work with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Communities AND SWTP218 Social Work with Children, Youth and Families AND SWTP236 Social Work and Community Practice AND SWTP237 Mental Health and Social Work AND SWTP238 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and Social Work Practice )


OTHY403 Occupational Therapy and Community Centred Practice , SPHY310 Community Development, Public Health and Speech Pathology

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit introduces allied health students to the theories, principles and processes of Community–Centred Practice in a global context. This knowledge is integral to improving the health and well-being of communities, and enabling the inclusion and participation of individuals within their communities, in both the local and international context. As such, it is of relevance and importance for future allied health professionals. The unit facilitates exploration of the fundamental components of Community–Centred Practice required for supporting communities to assess and identify assets and needs and to design strategies that will enhance community wellbeing, social capital and participation. Students will undertake learning in Australia and in Rome, using case examples and international experiences to explore theories, principles and processes in practice and to highlight the challenges and facilitators to working effectively with communities as part of an inter-professional team.

This unit contains learning outcomes from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Curriculum Framework (HCF, 2014) specifically addressing the HCF cultural capability Reflect and Advocate.

The overall aim of this unit is for allied health students to understand and implement theories, principles and processes of Community–Centred Practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Analyse what contributes to a community, the role of social determinants of health (history, geography, culture, politics and religion) in the development and maintenance of a community and factors that contribute to exclusion from community (GA2, GA6, GA7, GA8)

LO2 - Engage in participatory approaches to working with communities, identify how participatory principles are applied and reflect on the strengths and challenges associated with community engagement activities (GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7)

LO3 - IPEF: 2.2.1 Communicate own scope of practice and work with inter-professional team members to establish boundaries of practice when roles overlap (GA1, GA4, GA5)

LO4 - Draw upon theory, experience and reflection to propose strategies/design approaches to partner with the community to build social capital and address inequity experienced by vulnerable groups as part of an inter-professional team (GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7)

LO5 - HCF: 13.3 Generate strategies for incorporating anti-racist and affirmative action approaches in health care practice (GA1, GA4, GA5, GA6)

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity

GA2 - recognise their responsibility to the common good, the environment and society 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 


Topics will include:

  • Definition of community
  • Social determinants of health (history, geography, culture, politics and religion)
  • Role of social determinants in the development and maintenance of communities, diversity and intersectionality.
  • Colonisation and migration – impact on development and maintenance of communities
  • Social capital – definition, differences in community groups
  • Race – definitions, descriptions, experiences and access to health and human services/supports, inequity in access to social capital, vulnerability in social capital bridging, addressing/responding to racist behaviour with affirmative action
  • Culture and culturally responsive practice
  • Ways of working with communities (e.g., health promotion, community development, capacity building, community education, recognising asset)
  • Participatory approaches to working with communities
  • Project design with communities (e.g., outcome measurement, goal setting)
  • Interprofessional Practice – scope of practice when working with communities; negotiating boundaries, working effectively in teams
  • Sustainable development goals
  • Human flourishing and ethics

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit applies a blended learning approach to draw on the strengths of online and face-to-face delivery and maximise student engagement with the learning materials and participation in the learning activities. The blended learning strategy will combine lectures, in which key information will be presented to students, and interactive tutorials, in which students will discuss and apply that information while participating in small group, collaborative learning. The blended approach will support students in the exploration of new knowledge relating to their role in advocacy and community development, as well as the extension of knowledge relating to interprofessional and culturally-sensitive practice.

As a unit offered in an international setting, students will participate in classes including cultural mentoring, prior to their departure to assist them to prepare for their experience; engage in activities in the international setting to immerse themselves in the community they visit; and debrief/reflection sessions upon their return to explore and share their learnings.

This unit involves 150 hours of learning inclusive of a combination of face-to-face and online delivery, interactive and independent learning, assessment tasks, and a community engagement experience. This approach allows for fundamental knowledge and skill development with support from academic and community members.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit provides students with opportunities to demonstrate their learning across three authentic assessment items (three graded and one hurdle), utilising different modalities. The assessment strategy allows students to progressively develop their knowledge and skills to the level of sophistication where they are able to produce their own community project proposal.

Assessment 1 requires the completion of a needs analysis and asset map to build a community profile which considers the factors that contribute to the development and maintenance of a given community and factors that contribute to exclusion from community. Students will be required to work in small groups to apply research skills introduced in years 1 and 2 of the program, such as literature searching, analysis and synthesis, data collection, analysis, integration and interpretation, but to apply these at a community level. Application of these research skills will enable them to identify unmet needs within a given community, and barriers and facilitators to participation, leading to the identification of a community project to address these needs.

Assessment 2 requires students to work with a small group, drawing upon the community profile to plan an appropriate project to address an unmet need of a community group, and propose participatory approaches to working with community groups to achieve the project.

Assessment 3 requires students to reflect on their beliefs, values and attitudes towards working with communities and other professionals, and consider how their community engagement experience and the interprofessional activities they have undertaken, as well as the theoretical frameworks and literature they have encountered, have supported their understanding and learning of community-centred practice.

In the hurdle task, students will participate in community engagement experiences and complete a reflective journal to document their experience of working with communities, working with other disciplines and how they might apply their learning from this experience to contribute to effective solutions to social injustices and health inequalities in future.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Community profile (Group)

Students complete a community profile including a needs analysis and asset-mapping, description of social determinants of health (inc history, geography, culture, politics and religion) and factors that may contribute to exclusion from community.



GA2, GA6, GA7, GA8

Assessment 2: Project proposal (Group)

Students plan a project to address an unmet need of a community group, discussing the approaches they would use to work with a community.


LO2, LO4

GA2, GA4, GA6, GA7

Assessment 3: Reflection (Individual)

Students reflect on their community engagement experience, demonstrating how theory has informed their understanding.


LO3, LO4, LO5

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7

Community engagement

Students participate in community engagement experience(s) and complete a journal to record their experiences and learning.


LO2, LO3

GA1, GA2, GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7

Representative texts and references

Bennett, B., Green, S., Gilbert, S., & Bessarab, D. (Eds.). (2013). Our voices: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander social work. Palgrave MacMillan

Bessarab, D. & Forrest, S. (2017). Anggaba jina nimoonggoon: Whose knowledge is that? Aboriginal perspectives of community development. In C. Kickett-Tucker, D. Besarab, J. Coffin, & M. Wright (Eds). Mia Mia Aboriginal Community Development. Cambridge University Press,

Briskman, L. (2014). Social work with Indigenous communities (2nd ed). Federation Press,

Connolly, M., & Harms, L. (2013). Social work: Contexts and practice (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Forde, C. & Lynch, D. (2015). Social work and community development. Palgrave/MacMillan.

Ife, J. (2016). Community development in an uncertain world (2nd ed). Cambridge University Press

Kenny, S., & Connors, P. (2016). Developing communities for the future (5th ed.). Cengage Learning.

McKnight, J.L., & Kretzmann, J.P. (2005). Mapping community capacity. In M. Minkler (Ed.), Community organising and community building for health. Rutgers

Mikkelsen, B. (2005). Methods for development work and research: A new guide for practitioners (2nd ed.). Sage Publications.

Pollard, N., Sakellariou, D., & Kronenberg, F. (Eds). (2008). A political practice of occupational therapy. Elsevier.

Sakellariou, D., & Pollard, N. (2017). Occupational therapy without borders (2nd ed). Elsevier.

Twelvetrees, A. (2017). Community development, social action and social planning. Macmillan

World Federation of Occupational Therapists. (2019). Position statement: Occupational therapy and community-centred practice. Retrieved June 2022 from

World Federation of Occupational therapists. (2004). Position statement: Community-based rehabilitation. Retrieved June 2022 from

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