Practical Implications of Understanding Community Health Through Vitalism in Canadian Community Health Centers

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Elisabeth Beaunoyer
Valérie Desgroseilliers
Nicolas Vonarx
Bernard Roy


Definitions and understandings of the term “community health” are numerous, but generally orient themselves around an expanded understanding of health exceeding biomedical imperatives. Rethinking the conception of community health through a vitalistic approach with the idea of health, and thus the community, at its core allows for a deeper understanding of health experiences’ complexity and could eventually inspire practice innovations in community health centers. In this paper, we will present this theoretical conception of health and discuss how it can help to understand the innovative interventions approach conducted within community health centres in Canada. Specifically, the practical implications of this theoretical conception will be illustrated through two Canadian community health centres. A new perspective on health could have numerous implications for health professionals with the development of cutting-edge interventions potentially leading to change benefiting the community, but also for teaching and research innovations empowered by a deeper understanding of the wider story behind health issues.

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