The Western Region Heart Health Partnership

The Heart Health Partnership was initiated by the Western Regional Health Board, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Nova Scotia, Heart Health Nova Scotia, and the Nova Scotia Department of Health in the fall of 1996. Their mission is: "To work with communities and individuals in discovering and using effective ways to improve the heart health of Nova Scotians." In 1997, the partnership was expanded to form a Regional Coalitionincluding approximately twenty community groups, organizations, and government departments working in the Western Region and who were concerned about the health of Western area residents.

The program objective of the Heart Health Partnership is to develop and coordinate a system for supporting effective and sustained community-based heart health activities. In order to achieve this, organizations on the Partnership will reflect on the current status of their heart health promotion programs, policies, and partnerships to assess if there are areas where additional emphasis could be placed. In addition to these potential changes within Partnership organizations, community mobilization efforts will be undertaken in interested communities across the region. Organizations in the Partnership have committed to support these efforts by in-kind contributions of resources, both human and material, and by advocacy activities.

The purpose of the research is to investigate the dissemination of community-based heart health promotion and practice; and to improve our understanding of what inhibits or encourages the dissemination in the partner organizations and the communities they serve. The current context of health reform presents additional opportunities and challenges to consider.

To accomplish the research and program objectives, members of the Partnership have formed four working groups:

  1. The Research Working Group is responsible for developing and measuring indicators related to heart health capacity within organizations, the process of community mobilization and partnership functioning.
  2. The Community Activation Working Group will seek to engage partner organizations and others at the local level and will facilitate the development of community heart health action teams and provide the necessary support these communities may require.
  3. The Knowledge and Skills Working Group will develop learning opportunities to build on the existing heart health capacity of partner organizations and community heart health action teams.
  4. The Communication and Awareness Working Group will promote heart health and the work of the Heart Health Partnership throughout the Western Health Region.
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