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Guest Publication

Mining & Health: A Community-Centred Health Assessment Toolkit

By Catherine Coumans, Sue Moodie and Lisa Sumi

Published by the Canary Research Institute for Mining, Environment, and Health

What is a Community-Centred Health Assessment Toolkit?

This Community-Centred Health Assessment Toolkit will help members of mining-affected communities conduct their own assessment of the health of their community and guide them in taking steps towards supporting and improving the conditions for health in their communities.

Who can use this Toolkit?

The Toolkit is designed to be used by aboriginal and non-aboriginal communities where there is mining exploration or development or closed or abandoned mines. It can also be used by individuals, support groups, or institutions (academic, health) from outside the community that may be invited to help guide community members through parts, or all, of the health assessment and project planning process.

What are the advantages of Community-Centred Health Assessment?

When communities do their own health assessment they:

  • Investigate and learn about issues that are of greatest concern to them;
  • Use methods that they understand and increase their ability for research and data gathering;
  • Create an environment of trust in which community members are willing to share valuable knowledge and experience about the changes they are witnessing in their community;
  • Build or expand relationships with media, elected officials, unions, health professionals, industry representatives, regulators.
  • Decide at what point they may want to bring in the skills of an expert and for what parts of the work;
  • Control the costs – it is possible to do a meaningful assessment and community health project with limited resources.

The Community-Centred Health Assessment takes it one step at a time...

  1. Establishing a core group and creating a common vision of community health
  2. Gathering and summarizing information from the community
  3. Choosing a project goal
  4. Learning about strategies
  5. Developing an action plan
  6. Carrying out the action plan
  7. Analyzing and communicating results
  8. Evaluating the project

The Community-Centred Health Assessment Toolkit provides 15 tools

Tools provide guidance in a wide range of areas - from establishing a core working group, to thinking about health, to creating a vision statement, to various methods for gathering information from the community (mapping exercises, using focus groups), to using indicators, developing surveys, and additional sources for gathering data.

The Community-Centred Health Assessment Toolkit provides “Additional References” to guide more in depth research, such as:

We hope that you will use this toolkit, and that you will let us know how we can improve it. Maybe you know of additional tools, fact sheets, handouts or resources that we can add. If you have an idea, let us know!

The Toolkit is availalble as a PDF file (1.7 MB) (116 pages). There are also a limited number of hard copies available on request. **There is a missing page between p. 99 and 100 on the PDF entitled "Sample Child Health Survey for Lead". It is attached separately**