What is a Community Health Centre?
Almost 100 communities across Ontario enjoy the benefits of non-profit, publicly funded Community Health Centres (CHCs). The provincial government has recently expanded the funding and number of CHCs in Ontario because of their proven success improving health and reducing health disparities.
CHCs apply a unique approach. They understand that a number of factors influence health and well-being. Individuals and families work closely with health providers to improve physical, emotional and mental well-being. Community members also participate in initiatives that reduce community wide social and environmental problems in the areas served by the CHC. Some example problems that may be addressed include education, employment, food security, community safety and so on.
Other distinct features of CHCs:
- CHC staff work in inter-professionals teams. In addition to doctors and nurses, they employ social workers, health promoters, community educators, nurse practitioners and physiotherapists. Team members work together to provide more complete care and support for the individuals, families and communities being served.
- CHCs are grounded in a community development approach. The mix of programs and services each CHC offers is custom-made to respond to the community. Planning for a CHC includes asking community members to identify individual or community health issues requiring the most urgent attention. This process of community input continues once the CHC opens and begins to provide programs and services.
- CHCs are community-governed. Volunteer boards of directors are made up of community members with experience about what is affecting health in their community. They offer on-going guidance on how we can maximize our positive impact.