Citizen and stakeholder engagement has been the cornerstone of all activities of the Community Health Teams (CHTs) within the Primary Health Care division of Capital District Health Authority (CDHA). In fact, innovative and thorough community engagement processes preceded the development of the two CHTs such that the articulated needs of the community led to decisions regarding staffing complements and program development.

The initial intensive engagement plan, and the ongoing citizen and community engagement which takes place as an essential and integral part of our regular CHT planning and programming, extends CDHA’s engagement process to truly reflect the commitment to a shared responsibility for health. The CHT model recognizes that each community has different needs, and therefore may require different programs, services, supports, and interdisciplinary team members. There were several different types of sessions beginning with two main large events, followed by several kitchen conversations, engagement at physicians’ offices and with existing groups (i.e. Kiwanis). Incentives were used to engage hard to reach groups, childcare was provided as well as refreshments for the events.

The CHT engagement process has been evaluated during the initial engagement when developing the model; and ongoing, through participant feedback of programming sessions. An engagement framework document based on the IAP2 principles and processes of public participation supported the CHT in engaging multiple stakeholders in conversations. Over 300 citizens and stakeholders were initially engaged to determine an appropriate model for the community being served. A key result of the engagement process was the development of guiding principles for how the CHT would work with communities. These guiding principles are a benchmark of an acceptable level of performance for the CHT, and may evolve over time in response to ongoing engagement. Full and summary reports of the findings of the complete engagement process along with the video and other information were posted on the CHT website at www.communityhealthteams.ca.

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