This year marked big milestone year for the Alliance for Healthier Communities overall, celebrating 40 years of community health advocacy and support for community health organizations and teams across Ontario. Thanks to everyone who helped to shine a light on four decades of collective history and accomplishments for community health.

It was also another busy year for the Alliance’s teams! As the year draws to a close, we have collected some highlights from our teams’ accomplishments and activities this year, and included a few links to some parts. Enjoy, and we look forward to celebrating many more health equity successes with you in 2023! Oh, and an important word before we begin: a big thank you to the Corporate Services team, whose backbone administrative, human resources and accounting support for the teams below make the work and the successes possible! Thank you!

Communications and Stakeholder Relations team

In addition to policy development and submissions as well as government relations, advocacy and external promotions and communications, the team had some standout achievements this year, with work that supports expanding members’ capacity and celebrating and demonstrating the impact of their work.

The 2022-2027 Strategic Plan was launched at the Alliance’s 40th AGM in June! This plan will help guide our work as an organization for the next four years and really focuses on ensuring we are reinforcing and building on the fundamentals of members’ capacity, advancing health equity and positioning primary care as the foundation of our integrated care system.

The Alliance’s annual conference, Action Now! Building Equitable Futures Together, returned in person for the first time since 2019! The two-day event in Toronto brought together 442 attendees for 25 concurrent sessions and four plenary sessions focused on Alliance member priority populations. Now, we’re looking forward to another great in-person event, Connected Communities: Building Equitable Integrated Healthcare, June 7-8, 2023 -- calls for proposals for learning sessions and awards nominations are OPEN NOW!

Rural, Remote and Northern communities were denote as a priority population for Alliance members in 2022, and the RRN Working Group was made a permanent advisory committee to the Alliance’s Board.

The Health Equity Charter Self-Assessment Tool (available only to members) was launched to support members as they continue to put Health Equity Charter into action. Along with seven successful, well-attended and engaging Alliance board events, the team also completed work on some key tools for education in the sector: Our 101 webinar series has been updated and expanded with refreshed Alliance 101 and Health Equity Charter 101 webinars and a brand new Model of Health and Wellbeing 101!

We concluded the June conference with an incredible Transformative Change Awards gala. And after three years, we were finally able to gather in person to celebrate the incredible work Alliance members continue to do in communities across Ontario.

The Information Management Strategy (IMS) and Privacy and Security Team

The BIRT reboot, EMR supports for members, continued digital equity focus and advocacy, and a privacy and security program going above and beyond to help members keep their patients’ data safe were key features for the team in 2022.

For Digital Equity, the team held Digital Equity Sessions during Community Health and Wellbeing Week, plus held a Digital Equity Day on October 18. The team also got an article published in the Toronto Star newspaper online and in print – How to bridge the digital divide.

The IMS team held nine monthly Communities of Practice PSS and JReport sessions with over 100 attendees per session, seven Online Appointment Booking (OAB) Sessions with 125+ attendees, worked to implement the Ocean Online Appointment Booking (OAB) licenses for 70 members; kicked off BIRT feed redesign; and began development on an Indigenous Primary Health Care Council (IPHCC) dashboard.

The privacy program provided over around 390 privacy consultations to 85 unique member organizations and held a professional learning event (PLE) for the seventh year in a row during the first week of October. The team also conducted phishing attack simulation at 30 unique organizations targeting close to 3,500 users resulted in a little over 700 clicks. The Privacy Community of Practice met monthly with an average of 35-40 people each meeting; The Security Community of Practice (SecCoP) is enjoying a steady growth and has featured numerous guest speakers and successful events with an average of 12-15 people in each meeting.

Research and Evaluation team

The Equity, Performance, Improvement, and Change (EPIC) Practice-Based Learning Network continued to grow, innovate, expand its reach in clinical practice and point towards new areas for health equity action while building the evidence base for support programs and services that work to improve health and wellbeing for people facing barriers. EPIC, and the momentum to put research into action ASAP to create change for clients facing barriers to health and wellbeing continues to be the engine that drives the team.

Here’s the team’s year, by the numbers (as you might have expected):

  • 8 issues of EPIC News published
  • 22 webinars
  • 10 participants recruited to the Client & Community Research Partners Group
  • 2 learning collaboratives
  • 12 ICES projects
  • 12 new research projects (keep tabs via our Research Library)
  • 10 publications
  • 13 conference presentations
  • Community Vaccination Promotion-project: Close to 20,000 people directly vaccinated or agreed to book their vaccine appointments as of October 2022, with over 32,000+ individuals and families reached through in-person events/phone calls/door-knocking, and 250,000+ reached through social media
  • Black-Focused Social Prescribing project launched over the summer with four centres
  • Currently have 112 members in our Ontario Social Prescribing CoP and 160 members in our Canadian Social Prescribing CoP
  • First ever Social Prescribing Conference on October 20, we had 300+ registrants with plenaries/sessions on Black health in SP models, the current state of SP across Canada, climate resiliency, SP in clinical practice, SP for older adults, arts and culture cross-sector partnerships, etc. Experiential sessions included a Pow Wow Workout and West African Dance. Close to 200 mail-outs were sent with colouring pages, info pamphlets, snacks, and virtual non-credit CME was also provided.
  • 13 CHCs and 40 Seniors Active Living Centres (SALCs) across Ontario are now providing social prescribing referrals and programs through the L2W project

And that’s a wrap for us for 2022! We look forward to sharing more success stories with you as 2023 gets underway!