Community Development


Community Health Committees

Before Sunrise Health Service took part in the Coordinated Care Trial, communities in the region received only government-provided services, with little consultation with the communities and something of a ‘silo’ approach to delivery.  Residents didn’t have the opportunity to have their input into health service planning or implementation.

The establishment of the Community Health Committees (CHCs) ensured local autonomy within the broader regional approach of the service and real involvement in planning at a community level.

CHCs operate in all communities, and are comprised of local people, traditional or culturally significant persons and elected representatives from other community groups.

The purpose of the CHCs is three-fold:

  • To form an interface between the community and Sunrise;
  • To assist and guide or interpret community needs in the health sector for planning purposes; and
  • To inform Sunrise Board members and senior management on issues to be deliberated at formal Board meetings.

Ultimately, CHCs ensure that programs delivered by Sunrise Health Service are culturally appropriate and encourage local ownership.

Community Development Unit

The Community Development Unit focuses primarily on developing close and strong working relationships with key community members and staff across the Sunrise Health Service region.

The Community Development Unit works closely with both the Sunrise Health Service’s Board and Community Health Committees (CHC), and assists in identifying, developing and implementing capacity building strategies to increase community independence, self-sufficiency and sustainability.

Each major community within the Sunrise region has its own CHC, which increasingly plays a role in setting direction at the local community level.   CHCs provide support and advice to the local health centre so that local cultural values and practices are included in service planning and delivery.  Sunrise Health Service takes a broad view of primary health care, and has a philosophy of community participation and a strong focus on care coordination.