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A PhotoVoice Project: A snapshot of how COVID-19 impacted Regent Park’s diverse community members

Regent Park Community Health Centre will be highlighting preliminary findings of their recent PhotoVoice Project. Community members were recruited to capture photographs to document and reflect on how their lives have been impacted by COVID-19. This project aims to provide space for community members to critically reflect on their experiences, have an artistic and potentially therapeutic outlet to express their voices, and to have their voices amplified through this project. The project will aim to fill a gap in the current literature and inform program, policy change and advocacy efforts to better support marginalized groups’ unique needs during the pandemic.

Presenters: Nadia Pabani, Registered Dietitian - Diabetes Education, Regent Park Community Health Centre; Josie Ricciardi, Manager, Regent Park Community Health Centre; Flavia Genovese, Regent Park Community Health Centre


Measuring what counts in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: Indicators for equity in public health

COVID-19 is highlighting and amplifying long-standing inequities in our society and Canada’s health systems. As the country manages ongoing transmission and infection, we find ourselves in a cycle of planning, response and recovery. We present health equity indicator prompts to complement a public health organization framework for emergency preparedness. The framework, indicators and equity prompts are useful tools to assess organizational capacity and move to integrate health equity considerations systematically in all decision making for emergency preparedness, response and recovery. Effective consideration of equity requires it to be integrated in all planning, all of the time.

Presenters: Claire Betker, Scientific Director, National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health; Margaret Haworth-Brockman, Senior Program Manager, National Collaborating Centre for Infectious Diseases


Pride through agency and strength through shared histories: Exploring the LGBTQ+ Newcomer Drop In at Centretown Community Health Centre

The development of a support program that addressed mental health related issues among 2SLGBTQ+ newcomers and immigrants was imperative due to the limited number of mental health resources and counselling services available with an anti-oppression framework. Such as framework is essential to help create safer spaces for folks with marginalized intersectional identities. The Centretown Community Health Centre Drop-in was created under the supervision of two mental health counsellors at the CHC. The objectives of this poster are to demonstrate the effectiveness of a Peer Program; learn about the steps in the development of safer, trauma-informed spaces to foster healthier relationships among folks with marginalized intersectional identities; and highlighting the importance of knowledge sharing and building community between Indigenous and immigrant populations in Canada.

Presenters: Andi Vicente, LGBTQ+ Newcomer Community Health Worker, Centretown Community Health Centre; Sinda Garziz  Multicultural Community Health Worker, Centretown Community Health Centre


Structuring a communications framework to address challenges of marginalized communities for building trust and effectively delivering public health messages during COVID-19

Pandemic health emergencies are chaotic and colossal, and they require credible information for awareness, and confidence in systems to mitigate impacts. Communication strategies are crucial in protecting public health during a pandemic. Social determinants of health and infodemic are factors influencing effective communication strategies and practices among marginalized populations, establishing the need for an equity-based approach for effective communication and mitigation. This poster will share how to design an equity-informed communication preparedness and strategy framework, including the participatory and inclusive process of planning and implementing emergency risk communication materials aimed at reducing barriers and in turn reducing the vulnerability of marginalized populations.

Presenters: Akm Alamgir, Manager, Quality and Accountability Systems, Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services; Sibghat Usmani Research Fellow, Institute for Work & Health


Multi-disciplinary FASD Training: We don't need to be experts to improve outcomes

This poster will describe an emerging initiative that is delivering quality training to service providers of all kinds (e.g., Early Childhood educators, camp leaders, social workers, family doctors). Training will allow service providers to look within their own practice to identify individuals who may benefit from an approach informed by our current understanding of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Presenters will share early implementation and evaluation data and emphasize how this training will lead to a more inclusive service delivery system where families affected by FASD are better understood and receive needed care and support.

Presenters: Pascal Gagné, Health Promotion Consultant, Health Nexus

Making lemonade from lemons: Improving health outcomes of vulnerably housed clients during the COVID-19 pandemic

In March 2020, an Assisted Self-Isolation Site (ASIS) was opened for vulnerably housed individuals in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Stakeholders included Alberta Health Services, the Calgary Homeless Foundation, the Government of Alberta, the City of Calgary and the Alex Community Health Centre. The site (a hotel with 100 rooms) was dedicated to housing those who were COVID-19 positive or could be, and who did not have a home in which they could properly isolate (City of Calgary, 2020).  ASIS offered medical and mental health services, social supports and addiction resources, and this poster will demonstrate how those services were provided, and impacts they had for people.

Presenter: Jennifer Eyford, Associate Director of Mental Health and Addictions, The Alex Community Health Centre


Enabling Excellence in Equity Through An Integrated EMR

Historically, with both Community Supports Services (CSS) and Clinical Health programs operating on different electronic systems, it has been a common cause disconnection when it comes to seamless referral, data flow, and wrapping services around clients in as an effective way as possible. We embarked upon an innovative journey to incorporate all CSS programs into the Practice Suite Solutions EMR, which transformed our capacity to deliver high quality care and services quickly, equitably and holistically. This process has also unified the organization’s teams working across 40-plus programs, assisting in translating knowledge across the organization, community and sector partners.

Presenters: Callum Tyrrell, VP, Innovation and Improvement, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities; Viola Zhou, Decision Support Quality Improvement Manager, Scaborough Centre for Healthy Communities


FASD Family and Caregiver Support Group Project: Making a difference for people experiencing the impact of prenatal exposure to alcohol

Since 2017, Health Nexus, a leading bilingual health promotion organization, has been provincially recognized for its work on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) Initiatives. One of these initiatives focuses on improving outcomes through FASD support groups for individuals, families, caregivers and service providers, with Health Nexus providing microgrants to enhance or establish FASD support groups in Ontario. This poster will share results from three cycles of funded support groups and discuss opportunities to align existing groups or apply for a microgrant to start a new support group during the next cycle.

Presenters: Pascal Gagné, Health Promotion Consultant, Health Nexus


“Don’t wait until they are at the bottom of the pool”: Increasing access to injectable opioid agonist treatment in Ontario

Injectable opioid agonist treatment (iOAT) is a safe, life-saving, and cost-effective treatment option for individuals with severe opioid dependence. It is also virtually unavailable in Ontario. The need for iOAT has never been greater given an opioid crisis that has become the most enduring public health emergency in recent Canadian history and further fueled by the COVID-19 pandemic. This poster presents the findings of a project exploring the facilitators and barriers to increasing access to iOAT in Ontario, including the role of community based primary care and other service providers in meeting the needs of a vulnerable and marginalized population.

Presenters: Dr. Brian Rush, VIRGO Planning and Evaluation Consultants Inc.; April Furlong, VIRGO Planning and Evaluation Consultants Inc.; Karen Cook, Addictions and Mental Health Ontario (AMHO)