CACHCA European partnership moves forward

An exciting new partnership between the Canadian Alliance of Community Health Centres (CACHCA) and the European Forum for Primary Care (EFPC) moves to its next stage at the end of August 2010. CACHCA will be playing several roles at the upcoming EFPC Conference in Pisa, Italy, from August 29th to 31st.

The Future of Primary Health Care in Europe III: From Patient Centred Innovation to Organizational Change brings together health care providers, policy makers and researchers from over thirty countries to explore ways to improve primary health care across Europe. Delegates will examine topics ranging from interprofessional primary care, to chronic disease management, program and service evaluation and health equity.

One of CACHCA’s Ontario Board Members, Lynne Raskin, and Acting CACHCA Coordinator, Scott A. Wolfe, will participate in a number of conference sessions, sharing Canada’s experience with Community Health Centres (CHCs) and primary health care.

In one special session, European delegates will meet to begin developing the framework for a forthcoming European federation of community health organizations. At this session, CACHCA will share the diverse stories of Community Health Centres in Canada, and the role of CACHCA and provincial CHC associations, along with insights into the various challenges faced in trying to move beyond a narrow, primary care orientation in Canada, toward community-oriented, client-centred, equitable and inclusive primary health care for all Canadians.

“I think the developing partnership with European colleagues is a testament to the way that Canada’s Community Health Centres are seen outside of our borders”, says Lynne Raskin, who has served as Executive Director of the Toronto-based South Riverdale CHC since 2001.

“While CACHCA is not participating in this European meeting to prescribe solutions, since local circumstances always need to be respected and carefully considered, there are still a lot of things that Canada’s CHCs can share in terms of our experiences as primary health care leaders in Canada,” Raskin notes. “We are also excited about the opportunity to learn a great deal from our European colleagues, things that we can bring home to help shape efforts here. We’re particularly excited to learn about ways that European nations are connecting community health, primary health care and social policy, to make sure the various social determinants of health are addressed, and so we keep people healthy in the first place.”

In addition to the European Federation planning session, CACHCA will present Canadian insights at two conference policy sessions during the main portion of the conference. These presentations outline the need for a health equity and community engagement approach to primary health care planning, as well as the need for increased federal leadership on primary health care and healthy public policy in Canada.

CACHCA will be providing updates from the European conference through its various online media feeds. To follow along, visit CACHCA’s website to get further connected.