Working together for women's health, safety & economic security

 

The Women’s Community Health Network WA – who we are

 

The Women’s Community Health Network WA (WCHN) is the peak body for not-for profit women’s health and community services across Western Australia. We engage a health equity approach and, as such, work to promote better physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health outcomes among women and girls whom experience the most significant disadvantage.

 The Women’s Community Health Network is committed to playing a leading role in developing a co-ordinated planning, policy, research and practice environment that has a ‘collective impact’ on women’s health, safety and economic outcomes and capacity to achieve the long-term capabilities they require to take on a greater role in managing their own health and their own lives. 

A wealth of accumulated expertise currently exists across the women’s health and community sector. WCHN builds on the existing strengths and skills of the sector. This requires maintenance and further development of the current collaborative relationships between service providers; improved professional development opportunities; interaction and knowledge sharing between stakeholders; and the ongoing translation of research and evidence into information to support and enhance service delivery and outcomes for women.

Working together for better outcomes

The Women’s Community Health Network encourages like-minded health, women’s and other community organisations and stakeholders to become members and associate members.  WCHN provides a forum and focus for members and associate members to work together to achieve services and communities that deliver quality and sustainable outcomes for women in Western Australia. WCHN is not funded to deliver services. Its core functions are:

  • Networking
  • Leadership
  • Knowledge translation and exchange
  • Policy development and advocacy; and
  • Build the local knowledge base through community consultations and the consolidation of local research.

Encouraging evidence-based best practice

WCHN encourages the sharing of information, learning and best practice knowledge, as well as debate on a wide range of issues relevant to women’s health, safety and economic security. WCHN coordinates the sharing of information, skills and resources to enable services to maximise their effectiveness. To foster and facilitate information and knowledge sharing the Women’s Community Health Network provides:

  • Sector news, events and notices 
  • Resources and links to services
  • Research and data specific to women in WA
  • Research on the social determinants of women’s health
  • Reports, submissions and research
  • Easy access (via monthly updates and this website) to recent national and state publications specifc to women or with sex-disaggregated data

It is intended that this website be a useful knowledge exchange and transfer hub and a vehicle for service providers to access information on current good or innovative practices that improve accessibility, responsiveness and outcomes for disadvantaged women.

Our Monthly Updates are aimed at providers of services for women and other key stakeholders and interested individuals. We scan the local and national environment for information, news and publications that are pertinent to the women’s health and community sector.

Policy and advocacy

The Women’s Community Health Network provides a central point of reference for policy and decision-makers’ consultations with the sector and provides opportunities for services and community stakeholders to participate in:

  • Developing sectoral responses to issues arising from government and the external environment.
  • Initiating collaborative action on issues related to women’s health, safety and economic security.
  • Promoting gender specific policy and service responses tailored to meet the needs of a diversity of disadvantaged women.
  • Advocating for a social determinants approach to intervening in poor health, safety and economic outcomes for women.

Underpinning effective participation in planning, decision-making and advocacy is community consultation and research. The Women’s Community Health Network has published the following reports, submissions and position papers:

  • Women’s Health Matters: A 10 Point Plan of Action (2011)
  • Women’s 10 Point Plan of Action Project Report (2013)
  • The National Perinatal Depression Initiative (position paper 2013)
  • The adequacy of policy responses and the effects of policy settings regarding housing, legal services and women’s economic independence on their ability to escape violence (submission 2014)
  • The Impact of Social Disadvantage on Women’s Health & Improving Women’s Access to Health Services (report 2014)
  • Towards Gender Responsive Budgeting in Western Australia (2014)
  • Women’s Mental Health & Alcohol and other Drug Use (submission 2015)