This year has been one of a kind for the Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (SHCHC).
Few of us have ever seen or experienced times like these before. COVID-19 has forced our Centre, staff and community to stay strong and steady in ways we never would have imagined.
In January 2020, news of a new virus, an unknown “novel coronavirus,” led the Centre to develop a strong pandemic plan. Through teamwork and creativity, we got SHCHC ready to provide the care our community needed. As the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, we had to constantly adjust our efforts and approaches to meet each new challenge. Today, we continue to deliver essential services and provide virtual care to individuals and groups.
The pandemic has totally changed the way we deliver care. Our staff members have stayed true to their commitment to provide caring, top-notch service. COVID-19 has shone a spotlight on their strength, adaptability and positive attitude despite constant changes and uncertainty. Their dedication to our promise of high-quality client care has never been clearer. Our community and we are extremely proud of what they accomplished under very difficult circumstances. We are also grateful for the sacrifices they made for the sake of others.
The COVID-19 pandemic was a top priority for the organization starting late last year and up to the present, as we plan, learn and redesign how we deliver care in a COVID world. Nevertheless, many other accomplishments in 2019-2020 also deserve mentioning, such as the Centre’s continued work on putting the 2019-2021 Strategic Plan into action. The Centre’s commitment to ongoing learning, innovation and improvements has helped the programs and services we provide to our community keep growing and changing.
Over 2019 and into 2020, a lot of effort focused on the new electronic medical record (EMR). EMRs do not just collect and store client information. More and more, they compute and forward data and connect the dots, making a real difference in delivering treatment and quality care for our clients’ health and well-being.
In 2019, the Ministry of Health approved the Ottawa Health Team (OHT). Through its work as an organizing partner of the OHT, SHCHC played a key role in supporting the OHT’s growth over a sixmonth period.
In 2019, SHCHC also received permanent provincial funding for its Consumption Treatment Service. This service includes supervised consumption along with substance use treatment and primary care. Despite a few challenges, we welcome the chance to listen, share and learn from our clients and neighbours so that we can work through any issues together. With the continuing rise in opioid-related deaths and the added opioid crisis problems caused by the pandemic, we stand by our promise to deliver essential health services to the people at the most risk.
The dedication to SHCHC’s mission that we see every day is inspiring. We look forward to working with all of you in 2020-2021 to advance the equity, quality of care and health for all the clients and the communities we serve.
To lead and innovate in person-centred primary health care and community well-being.
Every one in our community will have an equitable opportunity for health and well-being.
CHAIR Aynsley Morris
VICE-CHAIR Miquelon Deller
VICE-CHAIR Guy Desaulniers
SECRETARY Leila Bocksch
TREASURER Kim Brown
BOARD DIRECTORS Glen Barber Michel Duquet Rebecca Gibbons Brian Edward Legris Peggy Lobay Michael Mullan Marguerite Nadeau Daniel Roach
STAFF REPRESENTATIVES Kayla Charlery Candace Hebert
On April 16, 2019, our Supervised Injection Service celebrated its one year anniversary with a renewed funding commitment and an extended federal exemption. The provincial Progressive Conservative government undertook a review of the evidence for supervised consumption services, and concluded that they were an important part of a comprehensive response to the growing opioid overdose crisis in Ontario.
Re-branded as Consumption and Treatment Service, all existing sites needed to re-apply to demonstrate their alignment with the government’s priority for integration of supervised consumption with substance use treatment and primary care. This has been our model all along, with rapid access to primary care, addictions medicine, counselling and psychosocial support.
Another successful I Love to Dance program ended on April 9, 2019, with a celebration of over 200 guests. Three age groups (5-8 years, 9-11 years and 12+) have been coming together every Friday evening at the Viscount Alexander Public School to practice their dance routines. That marked the fourth year the program has taken place in Strathcona Heights, and it was also the largest group, with 30 participants registered. I Love to Dance is sponsored by the Canadian Tire Foundation in partnership with the City of Ottawa, SHCHC and other community partners.
For the first time during the Awesome Arts program, a partnership was created with Viscount Alexander Public School to create a mural, which was mounted on the Mann Street facing wall of the school. During the course of two weeks in October 2019, a MASC (Multi-Cultural Arts for Schools and Communities) graphic artist worked with close to 90 students between grades 3-6 to create the 36 ft long mural.
The theme for Awesome Arts was Diversity and Inclusion, and the mural symbolizes the colour of the world that kids want to live in and deserve: peace, respect for diversity and appreciation for community work; the love and respect for Mother Nature and genders; the love and appreciation for music and the arts, as tools for growing. The vibrancy of the colours in the genderless face reflect the vibrant and hopeful way children look at life. The white curved line represents our thoughts, our common appreciation and desire for peace, clean water (dark blues), pure air (light blue) and the energy of life provided by the universe and the sun (yellows and reds).
For the past 12 years, we have offered the Core Strength Program a few times a year, to help manage and prevent back pain.
Participants notice improvements in their posture, strength and balance, while avoiding back pain. The program aims to raise people’s awareness about the importance of being careful and learning how to exercise free from muscle or joint pain, while improving the overall physical fitness. Participants receive a copy with the exercises they can do at home, complete with photos, allowing many of them to become more mobile and confident about leading a healthy and active lifestyle. Our physical fitness interns from the University of Ottawa are on hand to provide support during these exercise sessions.
In the fall of 2019, SHCHC once again embarked on a transition to a new Electronic Medical Record software, TELUS Practice Solution (PS) Suite. The transition involved a year of planning, significant support from TELUS specialists, and tremendous staff contribution and leadership. We also benefitted significantly from the experience of early adopter CHCs to make our transition as smooth as possible.
During the months of May and June 2019, kids from Strathcona Heights participated in the Kids in the Kitchen group, led by our Centre’s Community Dietitian.
The group provided opportunities for kids to improve their food preparation skills, and taught them healthy nutrition practices all while having fun. It also gave kids the opportunity to make new friends by working together to prepare food.
People in Ottawa gathered on September 13, 2019, to celebrate the Recovery Day 2019. Members of the community, partner agencies and addiction service organizations attended the event. Among the participants, there were also staff members from SHCHC.
Recovery Day Ottawa is an annual community celebration. The Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA) started it in 2012. The event aims to reduce stigma around substance use disorders. It also provides support to those struggling with substance use. Recovery Day started the popular “Recovery Ally” campaign to build awareness. The campaign engages the broader community. It builds partnerships with local, provincial and national organizations.
In 2019, the Recovery Day Ottawa saw a record number of over 5000 attendees. Gord Garner, CAPSA Executive Director, said: “One of the things that Recovery Day brings is hope. It is a place where people are beginning to come out and say we can have healthier lives if we work on this together.”
Rob Boyd, the Director of Oasis Program at SHCHC, received the 2019 Recovery Day Award. The organizers honoured him for his work, commitment and perseverance to addiction recovery.
After years of advocacy, the Flora Footbridge is now connecting the Old Ottawa East and the Glebe. The footbridgeis a cyclist and pedestrian only alternative to the upstream and downstream road-crossings of the Rideau Canal. Commuters now have a safe, comfortable and direct route across the Canal.
The footbridge opened on June 28, 2019. In the first four months, there were over 330,000 active transportation trips across the Canal on this bridge!
The strongest advocate for this missing link of active transportation was John Dance. He is an Old Ottawa East resident and past Chair of the Community Association. John coordinated the efforts to sustain the public pressure for building this infrastructure.
Community associations, residents and organizational partners, such as SHCHC, stepped in. After many years of lobbying, elected representatives from all levels of government committed the funding to advance this project.
A year later, the Flora Footbridge has seen resident usage beyond expectations. The bridge also won two urban design awards. The two categories are Excellence for Public Spaces and Civic Spaces, and Excellence for the Urban Elements.
SHCHC has been a supporting partner to this initiative. The Centre supported many other active transportation projects in the community. Active transportation options that are safe, convenient and accessible help create healthier communities. These initiatives contribute to improving transportation equity and reducing social isolation. They encourage physical activity and improve access to important goods and services.
If you haven’t crossed the Flora Footbridge yet, check it out! It is a wonderful addition to the community!