Health Connections is a service of the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA). GASHA's Partners in Health Connections are the Community Health Boards and the Pictou Antigonish Regional Library. We are a health resource that is intended to facilitate community access and connection to health information, health promotion and prevention programs, and services available in the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA).
The Community Health Boards - Antigonish Town and County, Guysborough County, and Strait Richmond - have played an important role in the development of Health Connections. The first phase was the development of a community health resource centre called "Health Connections" in Antigonish. The second phase has been to expand Health Connections across the District into Guysborough County and the Strait Richmond area.
In Phase 1, the idea of a community-based health resource centre grew out of two public consultation processes held in 1999 and 2003 and a feasibility study for a community health resource centre conducted in 2005 by the Antigonish Town and County CHB. Through these consultation processes the general public, GASHA services, and the medical community identified the need for improved community access to health information, for health promotion and prevention programs and for health navigation to facilitate access to community health resources and services. The Antigonish Town and County CHB recommended that GASHA move forward with the development of the health resource centre in partnership with the Pictou-Antigonish Library and the CHB. Health Connections Antigonish initially opened in winter 2007 and operated in two temporary locations for four years until the opening of the People's Place Library in May 2011.
Phase 2 involves the expansion of Health Connections across the District. Through their recent community consultation process, all three CHBs identified access to health information and information about programs and services as an important issue. In their joint Community Health Plan (2011-14) the CHBs recommended expansion of Health Connections across the District to support community access to health information, health promotion and prevention programs, and health services. The first step in this expansion has been the development of this website.
Community Health Boards are made up of committed community volunteers who are working together to improve the health of the community. They act as Advisory Boards to the District Health Authority (DHA), which in our case is the Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority (GASHA). Their legislated role in the health system (Health Authorities Act 2001) is as follows:
- Help people have a voice in local health planning
- Find out about community health needs
- Identify ways to make our communities healthier
- Develop community health plans that make recommendations to the District Health Authority (GASHA) to improve health programs and services for our communities.
- Take action on factors that influence health like poverty, education, and employment. See also the determinants of health.
- Help educate our communities about health and the health care system
- Distribute community wellness grants.