Community Control of Health Services

“One of the main challenges for Sunrise Health Service is in raising awareness that Indigenous people can control their own health and that mainstream concepts of health need to encompass Indigenous concepts”. 
Irene Fisher, Former Sunrise Health Service CEO.


Integral to the success of Sunrise Health Service has been the sense of ownership developed in the community of the service.  From the beginning, the need for an independent community-controlled health service was expressed by the regional community. 

Sunrise wanted to see genuine community control of the service, and knew that good governance would be fundamental to its sustainability.  It was important to Sunrise that systems and methods were developed at grass roots level which would ensure that cultural values were reflected in the way the organisation was run, and services delivered.

This meant addressing issues such as the internal systems of business management, work practices and legitimacy, representativeness and accountability of the governing body early on.

Due to the complexities involved in running a multidisciplinary service well, it is considered especially important that there be a shared vision and approach from community, staff and the Board.  From this interest and initiative, community awareness programs have been developed.

Self governance ensures that communities are well informed about the health issues in their communities and can become involved in their management.  The premise is that if Aboriginal people can own and control the services provided to Aboriginal people, then self-determination can occur and empowerment result.  When populations are empowered they have a voice and political standing.


Sunrise Health Service Constitution

      SHSAC Rule Book as at 01-11-16