The Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) is developing and implementing a Community Health and Wellbeing Strategy. The strategy will serve as blueprint for its 122 members, including Community Health Centres (CHCs), Aboriginal Health Access Centres (AHACs), Community Family Health Teams (CFHTs), and Nurse Practitioner Led Clinics (NPLCs), as well as the province at large. The Strategy is focused on developing integrated community systems that support
not just the absence of disease, but complete physical, mental and social well-being.
In 2013, in partnership with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the CIW developed a Pilot Intake Survey, which is a condensed version of our CIW Community Wellbeing Survey and similarly guided by the CIW framework. The purpose of the Pilot Intake Survey was to provide AOHC with the ability to benchmark key indicators of wellbeing for people who use their services. This benchmarking will create opportunities for trends analyses over time, as well as the sharing of findings and best practices among Community Health Centres (CHCs). The survey can be used to identify service gaps that can be addressed by the CHC, or within the community network as a whole. It can also be used to evaluate the impact of health promotion and community development work.
Our report, Association of Ontario Health Centres - Stage 1 Report, presents preliminary findings of client responses to all of the questions in each of the eight CIW domains. The descriptive results provide a general picture of wellbeing for AOHC clients and assist in identifying areas for further consideration.
With generous support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, there are now over 20 CHCs exploring how the CIW can be used as a community development tool. As part of this ongoing work, they are imagining the collective impact if other sectors start applying the CIW in their efforts to improve health and wellbeing in the domains where they have most influence. It’s exciting to imagine the possibilities if multi-sectoral CIW initiatives are scaled up more widely across the province.
Shifting the Conversation: Community Health and Wellbeing
To shift the conversation from sickness to wellness or what is commonly referred to as shifting from a downstream to upstream approach to healthcare, AOHC has created a website that highlights CIW-type initiatives happening throughout their network during Canadian Health and Wellbeing Week and throughout the year. A few highlights include:
- A toolkit of ideas for CHCs and other organizations on how to apply the CIW as part of their work.
- An AOHC discussion paper (2014) entitled, Measuring What Matters: How the Canadian Index of Wellbeing can improve quality of life in Ontario.
- A coalition of Ottawa CHC and community partners report entitled, Bridging the Gap -- Measuring What Matters: The Ottawa Community Wellbeing Report 2014. It used the CIW framework to engage all sectors in a discussion about evidence-based policy needs in Ottawa, just in time for the fall 2014 municipal election.
- A coalition of Vaughan CHC and York Region organizations report entitled, Measuring What Matters: The Vaughan Community Wellbeing Report 2015. It used the CIW framework to create a data-driven snapshot of the City of Vaughan’s quality of life. Its intention is to present evidence and then move it to action.
- A community garden project that links the benefits of the garden to all eight CIW domains and quality of life