TORONTO, July 12, 2022 -- The Black Health Committee, a committee of the Alliance for Healthier Communities in Ontario, is launching a new Black-focused Social Prescribing Project. The project will take a holistic approach to improve the health of people in Black communities.
In Canada and in Ontario, anti-Black racism is entrenched in societal systems and structures and impacts access for millions of Black people to education, housing, employment, healthcare and other resources. The COVID-19 pandemic amplified existing disparities for Black communities; those impacts have been disproportionately felt by Black and racialized communities. A July 2020 study found that Black and racialized people make up 83% of COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario.
Social prescribing is an approach to healthcare that can bridge gaps between social and clinical models of health. Using the trusted process of writing a prescription, social prescribing allows health providers to refer patients to community-based programs that are co-created according to each client's interests, goals, and gifts. In Ontario, Community Health Centres (CHCs) and other community-based primary health care organizations offer inter-professional and community services as part of their models of care, as they have for decades.
The goal of the Black Social Prescribing project is to develop a model of social prescribing grounded in Black and Afrocentric values and principles, and an approach that focuses on supporting Black families and children in Ontario.
"As a Community Health Centre focused on improving the health and wellbeing of Black communities in the Greater Toronto Area, we are excited to participate in the Black Social Prescribing Project as an essential model of integrated service that will be culturally affirming and based on the lived experiences of Black communities for improving their health and wellbeing," said Liben Gebremikael, Executive Director at TAIBU Community Health Centre, who also serves as Chair of the Board of the Alliance for Healthier Communities.
The majority of CHCs involved in the project are Black-led and offer clinical services, physiotherapy, counselling, mental health and addictions support, diabetes management and more. Through these community-governed primary health care organizations and their providers, the Black Social Prescribing project aims to address social determinants of health, such as food security, income security, education and social connections.
The Alliance for Healthier Communities previously piloted social prescribing initiatives across 11 community health centres in Ontario, representing a diversity of urban, rural, northern, and francophone communities. The results were very promising, with clients reporting 49% decrease in sense of loneliness, 19% increase in involvement in social activities, 12% increase in self-reported sense of mental health, and increased sense of belonging.
The Black Social Prescribing Project, which is funded by the Balsam Foundation, will be implemented over the next two and a half years in four CHCs: Somerset West CHC in Ottawa, as well as Rexdale CHC, TAIBU CHC and Black Creek CHC, all located in Toronto.
About the Black Health Committee
The Black Health Committee exists to advance a comprehensive Black Health Strategy grounded in health equity. Through its work, the committee aims to increase access to appropriate healthcare for Black communities. The Black Health Committee is a permanent committee of the Alliance for Healthier Communities
About the Alliance for Healthier Communities
The Alliance for Healthier Communities is the voice of a vibrant network of 110 community-governed primary health care organizations. Alliance members serve diverse communities across the province, and they are rooted in the communities they serve. They share a commitment to advancing health equity through the delivery of comprehensive primary health care.
SOURCE: Black Health Committee. Link to orginal CNW release.
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