Our People in Profile: Kings County's new Community Health Board coordinator Olivia Pattison says 'engaging and empowering the community' has positive health impacts

Olivia Pattison is the new Community Health Board coordinator for central and western Kings County (Contributed).
Olivia Pattison is the new Community Health Board coordinator for central and western Kings County (Contributed).

 Olivia Pattison’s interest in Community Health Boards was sparked when she heard about them a few years ago.

“I was happy to hear that there were groups in the community focusing on making the community healthier,” said Pattison, who recently started her role as Community Health Board (CHB) coordinator for central and western Kings County.

“Through my degree in health promotion, I learned that engaging and empowering the community to think and take action on the social factors that impact health is the way to make real impacts on the health of the community.”
  
Pattison started her new position with Nova Scotia Health Authority (NSHA) this summer, serving the CHBs in Central Kings and Western Kings.

“Having learned about the CHBs’ mandate and how they engage the community, I feel the impact the boards can make is huge,” Pattison said.

 “It’s wonderful that the focus is on health promotion through the social determinants of health,” she added.

“Focusing on things like education, income, access to nutrition, housing and transportation can really impact people’s daily lives.”

CHBs consult their communities on relevant issues to create community health plans.

These legislatively mandated, volunteer-based health boards play a very important role in forming recommendations for NSHA. They also help build healthier communities by promoting and working with community partners to support action on initiatives that make a difference for the health and wellness of residents.

Currently, Pattison is busy helping the CHBs in Kings County promote their call for Wellness Fund applications.

Wellness Funds are annual grants available to non-profit community groups that have projects addressing the social determinants of health, such as food security, social isolation, access to wellness programs and safe affordable housing, all which have a profound effect on our well-being.

Typical Wellness Fund grants range from $250 to $3000. The current deadline for applications is Oct. 15.

The province’s CHBs are also actively seeking new members to help with this exciting work.

If you are interested in learning more, applying for Wellness Funds, or applying to join your local CHB, please visit www.communityhealthboards.ns.ca for more details.

If you are in the Kings County area, please contact Pattison by emailing olivia.pattison@nshealth.ca or calling 902-538-7088.