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Plenaries 2015

Notes by Anjum Sultana, AOHC Policy and Communications Practicum Student

Day 1 June 2, 2015

Plenary 1 - Making the Shift

Nothing is more important than our health and wellbeing and for this year’s conference we dedicated a whole plenary to figuring out what we can do to improve the health care system for all. To begin to understand the policy challenges ahead to implement health care system reform, we had André Picard, Public Health reporter for the Globe and Mail, and one of Canada’s most respected public policy writers, describe his perspective on the political landscape and opportunities for change. He spoke about the strengths and weakness of the Canadian medicare system, how our health care system can be improved and the role AOHC Member Centres can play in that transformation.

Plenary 2: Closing Ontario’s Great Health Divide: The role of primary health care

As health system transformation continues, how do we ensure a stronger primary care system that addresses the needs of populations most at risk for poor health? How do we design a system that is more proactive at reducing health disparities? What changes are necessary to ensure that everyone can access the comprehensive services they need to keep them in good health?

This plenary featured presentations from Lynn Guerriero from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, Jeremy Petch from the Healthy Debate. This was followed by a thought-provoking panel discussion where our presenters were joined by Jack McCarthy, Executive Director of Ottawa’s Somerset West Community Health Centre, Gloria Daybutch, Executive Director of the N’Mninoeyaa Aboriginal Health Access Centre and Adrianna Tetley, CEO of AOHC.

Day 2 June 3, 2015

Plenary 3 - Increasing our effectiveness serving people with mental health and addiction issues

To open our second day of the conference, world renowned speaker and best-selling author of the award-winning book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction, Dr. Gabor Mate spoke about the need for trauma-informed care in our primary health care system. This is critical when working with people with mental health and addictions. Applying this approach allows us to integrate compassionate care for all. His work draws on his clinical experience as a palliative care physician in the Downtown East Side area in Vancouver and illuminates where and how addictions originate and the need for compassionate trauma-informed care.

Plenary 4 - Channeling Change through Collective Impact

Large-scale social change requires broad cross-sector coordination. In this session, Karen Pitre, Special Advisor to the Premier on Community Hubs, spoke about  stakeholder consultations she is conducting to hear feedback, learn about best practices and identify short, mid and long term outcomes on how to make community hubs as effective as possible. Following that, Anna Piszczkiewicz from AOHC and Penny Scott from Health Nexus shared findings from their network mapping work to better understand partnerships for the Canadian Index of Wellbeing. Finally, to conclude our conference, our closing keynote speaker, Andre Cohen Barrack, CEO of the Ontario Trillium Foundation, led a special session on the importance of community-based organizations joining together in common cause around shared goals. She also spoke about the benefits of the Canadian Index of Wellbeing as a powerful tool for transformative change.