Health Administration 315
Unit 1: Introduction to Health and Community Development
By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest;
second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.
In Unit 1, we lay the foundation for the course with some critical self-reflection. We will then examine the nature of complex human problems (such as inter-group conflict, youth in crisis, addictions, and domestic violence) and the roles that people and voluntary organizations play in addressing these issues. For those of us who work (or want to work) in health and community development, it is first necessary to understand community—what a community is, and the specific nature of the communities we intend to work with. Before we do anything in a community, we must be familiar with its people, its issues, and its history. Undertaking a community intervention or building a coalition are much more likely to be successful if they are informed by the culture of the community and an understanding of the relationships among the individuals and groups within it. Like never before, in the 21st century, global concerns and critical social issues shape our communities, and shift the relationships within and among them. Therefore, in this unit, we start by providing some context that illustrates why a community development approach is necessary for solving many kinds of human problems.
In the first segment of this unit, you are introduced to Michael and Judie Bopp, two experienced community development practitioners who will help guide your learning journey. They will outline the different strategies we use to help you meet the learning outcomes for Health and Community Development.
In Segment 2, you will read You just blink and it can happen, which is a description of a research study undertaken to explore the determinants and impacts of women’s homelessness in Canada’s North. This case illustrates the complexity of critical social issues in our society (such as women’s homelessness), and the lack of easy answers for addressing them.
In Segment 3, we review the differences between service delivery and community development approaches. You will see how the interplay between these two ways of working is needed to create constructive change in our communities and in society at large.
In the last section of Unit 1, you will be introduced to some of our community partners who will describe their organization’s approach to working with multicultural communities and dealing with various social and political issues affecting the health of community members and groups.