Health Center News, Uncategorized

The Great Divide: Ontario’s Health Centres

By Angie Stewart

Canadian health care advocates are celebrating a very important milestone—the five-year anniversary of the Community Health Center (henceforth spelled “centre” as is the practice across the border) expansion in Ontario.

Members of the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) are highlighting what they’re calling the “Great Health Divide” in Ontario. That is, the large gap between health outcomes between the poor and wealthy, the immigrants and long-term residents, and between those who speak French and those who speak English.

In an effort to reach out to decision makers in Ontario, AOHC has created a report, “Ontario’s Community Health Centres Addressing Ontario’s Great Health Divide.” This report focuses on positive results of opening up access to Community Health Centre services and sets targets for centres to serve one million people by 2020.

To reach out to community members, and encourage them to take action to ensure health care in their local areas, AOHC created a video, “Every One Matters,” which provides Ontarians with a look at Community Health Centres and the positive impact they have on communities.

It is AOHC’s hope that, by educating decision-makers and the community, Community Health Centres will be given the opportunity to close Ontario’s Great Health Divide. Check out AOHC’s upcoming conference, co-hosted by NACHC and the Canadian Alliance of Community Health Centre Associations. The June 9-10, 2011 conference will feature speakers on these themes:

1.     Improving health outcomes for individuals, families, and communities
2.     Advancing health equity
3.     Increasing sustainability of the health system
4.     Building our case and our movement: increasing access to community-governed primary health care

Advocacy is not a new concept for America’s  Health Centers—every health center and primary care association in the United States is likely involved in some form of advocacy because their survival depends on it.  Advocacy in our neck of the woods means grassroots rallying and networking and launching community events to raise awareness. What has your health center or primary care association done to get the word out to legislators and community stakeholders? Share your advocacy tips with us. We’d love to hear them!