Toronto Community Health Centres: Environmental Perspectives
Although environmental health and justice concerns have long since been recognized as determinant of human health, environmental health is not frequently viewed as a primary health concern within healthcare centres. This exploratory paper examines how Community Health Centres (CHCs) in Toronto are integrating environmental health and/or justice perspectives into their health promotion initiatives, whether they have changed over the years, and why. Two case studies, the South Riverdale Community Health Centre and the Davenport-Perth Neighbourhood Community Health Centre, were examined through review of academic literature, existing public documentation, and interviews as a means to provide a sample of CHCs. Analysis yielded the discovery that though environmental health perspectives are still being integrated into health promotion methods and strategies, many uncontrollable factors such as funding, community interest, and pre-existing social concerns influence whether environmental health programming can be delivered. Rather, it was determined that the majority of current environmental health perspectives are mainly integrated into other forms of health promotion, such as physical or mental health. General recommendations are made at the end of the paper addressed to the two case studies, all CHCs, and the healthcare system, for improving overall health outcomes of communities through CHCs utilization.