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Transformative Change Awards

Congratulations to this year's award recipients!

Langs The Hub @1145

The Hub@1145 in Cambridge, Ont., was inspired by the vision of community members 40 years ago, to increase accessibility of services for residents and improve healthy equity. Langs, a community development organization, has a rich history of collaboration and co-location with community partners prior to establishing the Hub@1145. Today, the Hub@1145 is well-known as one of Ontario’s most established community hubs with 20 co-located health and social service agencies embedded alongside a Community Health Centre and its programs, with more than 25 other services provided onsite each month.

The SEED Community Food Project

The SEED is a community food project of Guelph CHC, running programs designed to: increase physical and financial access to healthy food among food insecure community members; increase food literacy; and advocate for policies that address the root causes of food insecurity. Guelph CHC has designed its programs in such a way that they can be adopted by other health centres with ease, holding the potential of taking transformative change beyond Guelph.

Homeward Bound: From Homelessness to Community

Homeward Bound: From Homelessness to Community is an Indigenous program modelled after the Housing First approach to ending chronic homelessness. Prior to its creation in 2015, there was a large gap in service for people experiencing homelessness in Hamilton. There was no Indigenous service that met the 28% of the total population of homeless people who are Indigenous where they were at. De dwa da dehs nye>s identified the gap, and filled it with a multidisciplinary team of caring individuals who bring people back to the fire … and back to community.

Lyn Linton - 2018 Joe Leonard Award Recipient

Lyn is a Registered Nurse with a Masters in Health Administration who has worked in the not-for-profit and for-profit health sectors. Joining Gateway Community Health Centre in Tweed, Ont., as Executive Director in 2004, Lyn brought extensive experience in performance measurement and accountability to guide and improve care delivery systems. Lyn’s leadership style focuses on coaching and mentoring others to foster innovation, creativity and decentralized accountability. She’s also strived to share her knowledge and wisdom with the entire sector. In 2016, Lyn and her team were awarded the AOHC Transformative Change Award in recognition of achievements in improving patients’ health care experiences by addressing the social determinants of health and medical needs while decreasing hospital utilization. Lyn has also been instrumental in the adoption of oral health programs within CHCs.

Community Health Champion Award – Dr. Philip Berger,  Moss Park Overdose Prevention Site and Overdose Prevention Ottawa

Overdose Prevention Sites

By August 2017, across the country 2,816 people had died from a drug overdose and 865 people had died in Ontario. In one weekend, four people died in Toronto. Numbers of deaths were mounting; but neither the Premier nor the Minister of Health or any city mayor would declare an emergency which would have permitted establishing Overdose Prevention Sites as the proven emergency response to the crisis. Angry, grieving and frustrated, a few courageous volunteers (people who use drugs, volunteers and harm reduction workers) pitched tents in Moss Park, Toronto and in Raphael Brunet Park in Ottawa risking arrest and harassment. These constituted the unsanctioned emergency response that officials refused to support. To date, over 300 lives have been saved and over 5,000 injections have been observed. Their efforts have resulted in funding for a provincial OPS strategy, the striking of a provincial opioid task force, the acknowledgement that people with lived experience are the experts in their own lives and most significantly, for the first time, promoting the low barrier, non-judgmental approach of harm reduction, embedded in primary care, as the evidence-informed model to provide support, exercise choice, establish trust and provide access to healthcare and social services.

Dr. Philip Berger

Philip Berger was one of the first Family Doctors at South Riverdale CHC. He has been instrumental in raising awareness and treatment for HIV/AIDS, Harm Reduction and Supervised Injection with the resulting in early days of embedding harm reduction in primary care. Berger has demonstrated courage to call out issues of injustice, to notice and address the impact of marginalization and discrimination. Throughout his career, he has shown commitment to working with vulnerable populations in shelters, precariously housed, newcomers, people without status and refugees. A tenacious advocate for harm reduction, supervised injection, overdose prevention and the decriminalization of illicit drugs, he’s also an activist who sees it is his responsibility to use his power and privilege to confront injustices.

Media Award - Jesse Wente

The Alliance for Healthier Communities’ Media Award is given to print or broadcast journalists whose contributions to social justice and anti-oppression efforts stand out and hold our leaders and decision-makers accountable to the communities and people Alliance members serve. This year’s recipient is no exception. Jesse Wente is a producer, broadcaster, film critic, curator and advocate for First Nations, Métis and Inuit rights. He’s from Serpent River First Nation. At CBC Radio, Jesse has worked for more than 20 years as a cultural critic on Metro Morning. On the radio and in print, Jesse has been a loud, strong and unrelenting voice on issues of racist representations and appropriation of Indigenous culture and identity, and widespread systemic racism in Canadian journalism. In January 2018, Jesse accepted an appointment as the first-ever Director of the newly created Indigenous Screen Office. In his new post, Jesse is working to develop long-term strategies for supporting Indigenous screen culture in Canada.