Alliance member organizations continue to prepare for a fall flu season and planning for increased cases of COVID-19, while also getting health promotion, community development and other programs up and running for the fall season. Amid all of that activity, members' work continues to be noticed by local media, and as we head into this year's Community Health and Wellbeing Week (just three weeks away!), we wanted to take a moment to highlight some of the stories we've seen over the last few weeks.
COVID-19 has certainly shone a powerful spotlight on the ways in which leaders at Alliance member centres are working hard to ensure communities across Ontario are well supported during the pandemic. But this kind of leadership also has a long history in the sector. It's that sort of enduring leadership that the Brockville and District Chamber of Commerce recognized earlier this week; Dr. Andrew Jordan, lead physician at Leeds and Grenville Community Family Health Team for the last 14 years, was named Brockville's Citizen of the Year earlier this week. Dr. Jordan, who grew up in the area, has been involved across different areas in the health sector for decades, and also in the non-profit sector, such as with the YMCA and United Way to support a healthier community. Read the full story.
Toronto celebrated the opening of a new Community Food Centre in its East York neighbourhood this week. The project is a collaboration between partners Community Food Centres Canada and South Riverdale Community Health Centre, and will be the 12th Community Food Centre to open across Canada. The project came to be in part because of the work staff at South Riverdale CHC did to identify that food security was a key issue affecting the health and wellbeing of the community it serves, especially for isolated seniors and people living with disabilities.
John Jordan, Executive Director of Lanark Renfrew Health and Community Services (of which Whitewater Bromley CHC is a part) announced in late August that the CHC would be receiving funding for a new primary care team -- including a physician, nurse practitioner, nurse and administrative staff -- to help serve the Cobden-Eganville corridor better. Read the full story.
Elsewhere, members marked International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, with leaders gathering outside of the Consumption and Treatment Services (CTS) location at NorWest CHC in Thunder Bay to call attention to the rising number of deaths to overdose during COVID-19. Part of the problem is that fewer people are able to access the CTS locations due to COVID-19. Melissa Kwiatkowksi, primary health director at the Guelph CHC, pointed out that as the poisoned supply of drugs has worsened, fewer people on average are accessing the CHC's CTS services, which is driving the increase in overdoses and overdose deaths. The Alliance continues to advocate to all levels of government, including this letter to provincial leaders sent last week, to support safer supply programs across the province in order to save lives.
Last but far from least, we'll continue to bring you stories from across Ontario of how members are supporting their communities to step up and help others' during COVID-19:
In West Elgin, the CHC is supporting youth to sew reusable masks for people who don't have ready access to cloth face coverings.
And in Ottawa, Sandy Hill CHC worked with a local muralist to help reduce the social isolation of several families with a project that involved them in the creation of a new piece of urban public artwork. The following is a great interview with the muralist, Claudia Salguero, a Colombian-Canadian professional artist. Salguero worked with 32 families on the project, and her remarks on the ripple effects that art and communal projects like this one can have on people's health is a true recipe for health and wellbeing from the grassroots up. Read the full interview.
We will return in a few weeks with more stories of Alliance members in the media. Got a story from your community that we missed? Email us at email@example.com.