Understanding Community Health Issues through a Photo Novella

  • Journal Article
  • Textbook

Teaching Strategy Description:

This learning activity uses an adapted photo novella approach and asks students to choose images from the public domain. The photo novella is a selection of photographs taken by participants to represent their community or express their point of view. Students choose two visual images that represent a community health issue of their choice, from their perspective. One image should be from a deficit/needs perspective and the other from a strengths/capacity perspective. They then explain how  each image represents their chosen health issue and explore what values, beliefs, and assumptions each image conveys , from a deficit-assessment position and from a capacity-assessment position. Each student facilitates a class discussion about their chosen images.

Teaching Context:

  • Third year course in Promoting Health in Communities and Society (on campus or online)


Lind, C., & Smith, D. (2008). Analyzing the state of community health nursing: Advancing from deficit to strengths-based practice using appreciative inquiry. Advances in Nursing Science, 31(1), 28-41.

Stamler, L., & Yiu, L. (Eds.) (2012). Community health nursing: A Canadian perspective (3rd ed.). Toronto, ON: Pearson Canada.

Vollman, A., Anderson, E., & McFarlane, J. (2012). Canadian community as partner (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins.


Submitted by:  Robin Scobie, University of Victoria

Indicator(s): 2.4