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Where to start when building a health justice partnership  

Many people ask us, how do I begin a health justice partnership? We understand that knowing where to start can be difficult, especially when there’s no blueprint for health justice partnership (HJP) – what your partnership looks like is going to be unique to your community and the people you’re there to help.

Know that you’re not alone in this challenge, and that purposeful planning will help – we have a wealth of resources to assist you with this along the way.

The first step: get clear on your ‘why’.

The first step when you’re thinking of starting a partnership is to take a pause and get clear on your why; what is the purpose of your HJP? This is important before diving into an action plan of the activities you will do. 

We recommend you ask yourself (and your partner if you have identified one) these questions: 

  • Why do you want to partner? 
  • Who do you want to partner with, and why? 
  • What is the challenge that you hope the partnership will address, and what is the difference you think a partnership will make? 
  • Why do you think this will work? What evidence do you have that helps you to think that? 

You can also have a look at Health Justice Australia’s HJP theory of change. This can help you to think about the range of outcomes for different beneficiaries – including patients/clients, practitioners who are partnering and for health and legal services and funders. 

The Health Justice Partnership Theory of Change – download the printable PDF here.

It’s worth taking the time to do the preparation.

Taking the time to do this preparation supports you to make your first important decision – is partnership what you need to achieve your purpose – to meet the needs of the patients/clients you are looking to support? It’s helpful to remember at this point, that not all people’s needs are best addressed with a collaborative partnership solution – for some people a cold referral to a relevant service will be enough. But it’s highly likely that the people you’re thinking about, who are experiencing multifaceted, life problems, would benefit from an HJP.  

For more information see our Building Blocks for health justice partnership development resource, pages 6-8. This resource walks you through what to consider at different points when building, maintaining and reviewing your partnering efforts. 

Starting a health justice partnership.

You can also seek advice and support from Health Justice Australia and your HJP peers by joining the HJP Practitioner Network, a community of practitioners and advocates working in, or are interested in working in, HJP as a tool to improve patient/client, practitioner, service and community outcomes. Learn more about the HJP Practitioner Network here.

And whether you’d like to start a health justice partnership or you’re seeking any further support – reach out to us! You can contact us by emailing

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