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The health of a community, and the healthcare that is provided within a community, are integral to a healthy population. Community health focuses on promoting health where people live, work, learn, meet and play. This includes settings such as community health centres, schools and clinics.
The demographics and health needs of British Columbians have changed over time. While more people are living with complex chronic diseases, the healthcare system within B.C and across Canada continues to be centred on acute episodic care. Unfortunately, community healthcare services are not always meeting the needs of British Columbians, particularly seniors, and this is an area where nurses can advocate for change.
Community health programs and services across B.C are delivered predominantly by nurses. According to the Community Health Nurses of Canada, community health nursing practice emphasizes health promotion, disease and injury prevention, health protection, health surveillance, population health assessment, and emergency preparedness and response. Further, community health nurses recognize the Canadian Public Health Association's recognition that the health of a community is closely linked to the health of its members. As a result, there is tremendous potential in community health nursing to bridge the existing gaps in programs and services. For this reason, in 2015 the ARNBC Board decided that a renewed policy area for the association should focus on the services, programs and individuals that strengthen community health in B.C.
The association is committed to working with all stakeholders to identify how ARNBC can continue to promote promising practices, and bridge the existing gaps that exist through innovation. We look forward to exploring current and key community health topics such as refugee and immigrant health, and the need for strong and vibrant community health centres.