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The Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre is a facility in the Family and Community Medicine Program at Toronto Western Hospital. Equipped with an Acoustic Studio and Movement Assessment Studio with a sprung floor to aid in diagnosis and treatment. The Centre is the only clinic of its kind in Canada that specializes in serving the entire artistic community.
The Centre is an integrative outpatient clinic offering both medical and complementary care. Clinic services include acupuncture, chiropractic medicine, craniosacral therapy, registered massage therapy, MBCT group programs, naturopathic medicine, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, group psychotherapy, and shiatsu therapy. There is also a Nurse Practitioner to care for all patients and access to a family physician.
The Centre's team specializes in addressing the specific healthcare needs of artists providing a holistic approach to health within an evidence-based framework. Our patients include students and staff of post-secondary arts institutions and professional creative and performing artists of all ages. Through the Joysanne Sidimus Fund, services are subsidized for artists in financial need so they only pay a small fraction of the cost.
The Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre
Our vision is to have a positive impact on the overall health and wellbeing of professional creative and performing artists.
Our mission is to advance local, national and international standards of excellence in health care for professional artists through our activity in:
The Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre recognizes that professional creative and performing artists belong to a unique occupational group. As such, their health concerns are often specific to their profession and to their particular emotional and socio-economic circumstances. At the Centre, professional artists have access to quality healthcare professionals who value health promotion and education. As such, our healthcare providers work in partnership with artists to identify and address their health care needs.
*Treatments are fee-for-service as they are not covered by OHIP. Please refer to our
current fee schedule.
All patients who miss appointments and/or cancel with less than 24 hours notice will be required to pay the full fee for their appointment. If you need to reschedule or cancel an appointment please contact us at 416 603 5263.
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We specialize in addressing the specific health care needs of artists, providing a holistic and collaborative approach to health. We are a clinic designed for artists, to help you continue creating. We are health care providers, shiatsu and massage therapists, chiropractors, psychotherapists and physiotherapists. We listen, we diagnose, we support and we heal.
Executive Director, Family Health Team: Teri Arany
Chiropractor - offering Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Craniosacral Therapy
From her early childhood, Dr. Michelle Basil was exposed to chiropractic care as a healing tool, not only as a way to help her manage headaches as a child but also as a guide to a healthy lifestyle. Chiropractic's philosophy of wellness and health promotion continued to follow her throughout her life, complimenting attitudes and approaches throughout and ultimately bringing her to study to become a chiropractor herself. After attaining a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Dalhousie University in 1996, Dr. Basil went on to pursue chiropractic studies at Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in Toronto, graduating with a Doctor of Chiropractic in 2001.Early in her career, Dr. Basil chose to practice with a variety of different chiropractors, working as a locum chiropractor, both in Canada and throughout Australia, for five years. This experience awarded her with the knowledge of a variety of different treatment types and practice methods as well as provided the opportunity to see a varied patient base.In addition to gentle and accurate chiropractic adjustments and mobilizations, Dr. Basil incorporates a variety of soft tissue techniques including Graston, myofascial release and DNS to help patients reach their goals. She is also an acupuncture provider, having studied both in Sri Lanka(1999) and McMaster University (2009).Believing that balanced neuromusculoskeletal function is a major key to achieving better overall health is a major tenet that Dr. Basil brings to her treatments. Expertise in biomechanics and the musculoskeletal system as well as an individualized patient-centred approach has allowed Dr. Basil to successfully care for patients with a wide variety of conditions helping to restore function.Dr. Basil believes that patient education is a top priority therefore patient care always includes options for self-care such as home exercise and ergonomic and postural advice. If patients are able to make wise and healthy lifestyle decisions this will ensure that they are able to maximize their wellness potential.Currently, Dr. Basil maintains a private practice in Toronto and is committed to providing thorough, attentive and effective holistic care to her patients. When not working you might find her out biking or running in the community with her family.Dr. Basil holds the following continuing education certifications:
Leisa Bellmore is a licensed shiatsu therapist, speaker and researcher. She has been part of the integrative team at the Artists' Health Centre since 2010, though she has worked with performing and creative artists throughout her career. Leisa has been practicing Namikoshi shiatsu since 2001, having graduated with honours from Toronto's Shiatsu Academy of Tokyo 2200-hour program.Leisa has an MSc in Complementary Medicine Research and has published several research studies. Her professional interests include neurological conditions and self-management interventions for chronic conditions.A key element of Leisa's practice is education – for other healthcare providers, the public and her patients. She has presented and published around the world. Leisa believes that we can all take an active role in our health. She particularly enjoys helping to raise health awareness to help her patients overcome the stresses and strains on their bodies and minds, allowing them to be at their peak.As Leisa's first career was in theatre, she has a great respect and love for the arts and an understanding of the commitment and discipline they require.
Dr. Jean-Jacques Dugoua, or Dr. JJ as he is affectionately known, is a licensed naturopathic doctor and the first ND to practice at the Toronto Western Hospital as well as the Artists' Health Centre, where he practices naturopathic medicine, clinical nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture and herbal medicine. Dr. JJ has given a number of workshops throughout Ontario specifically focused on artists and their health care, and has given presentations internationally, including the World Health Organization in Washington DC. He is also a researcher at the Motherisk Program at the Hospital for Sick Children and the Clinic Director of the Liberty Clinic in downtown Toronto.Dr. JJ is a co-author of "Herbal Medicines in Pregnancy and Lactation – An Evidence-based Approach First Edition" (Taylor & Francis, 2006), which is a collection of 75 systematic reviews, and he has over a dozen peer-reviewed scientific publications published or in press. A leading expert on natural health products, pharmacology and pregnancy safety, Dr. JJ is currently working on his PhD in Pharmacy Sciences at the University of Toronto. As part of his PhD research, he continues to investigate the safety of natural products during pregnancy and lactation at Hospital for Sick Children and is currently conducting a clinical trial on the effects of cinnamon on type 2 diabetes at the Toronto Western Hospital.
Aga is the new Administrative Coordinator at the Artists' Health Centre supporting complex administration and operational processes. Aga has sizeable experience in medical administration in both hospital environments and private clinics. Her strengths are integrity, strong organizational and operational skills, and being patient-centred. She also worked as an Activation Therapy Assistant at a nursing home where she was able to quickly recognize the comforting properties of art.Being a mom of an autistic artist, Aga has experience managing mental health and strong appreciation for creativity. She is planning to pursue continuing education in business administration to further her professional growth and development. Aga defines motivation as her "natural life goal" and cares about the well-being of the arts community and clinic's functionality.Aga is enthusiastic to take on her new role working on collaboration with fellow team members to ensure the success and growth of the Artists' Health Centre.
Vicki Hawkins completed her Physiotherapy degree at University of Toronto. Previously she obtained an honours degree in Kinesiology with a Certificate in Sport Therapy and a Certificate in Fitness Assessment at York University. She is a member of the Women's Health Division of the Canadian Physiotherapy Association. She is also a member of IADMS (International Association of Dance Medicine and Science) and PAMA (Performing Arts Medicine Association). She has been a Clinical Instructor with the University of Toronto, Department of Physiotherapy since 2003 and held a Status-only Appointment with the University of Toronto from 2009 until 2015.She has completed a variety of continuing education courses including Manual Therapy, Muscle Energy, Scoliosis, the Pelvis, Pole Walking, and Yoga Therapy. She has worked with members of the University of Toronto Music Program, York University Dance, Theatre & Music Programs, the Ryerson University Dance Program, OCAD University, Humber College Music Program, The Royal Conservatory of Music, Canadian Opera Company, Canada's National Ballet School, Toronto Dance Theatre, Ballet Creole, Toronto Symphony Orchestra, Opera Atelier, and a variety of television and film programs. She also worked with the Mirvish musical, A Chorus Line.In 2010, Vicki completed her Level 1 certification as a GYROTONIC® Trainer. In 2011, she completed her Level 1 certification as a GYROKINESIS® Trainer. The GYROTONIC® exercises are used alone or in conjunction with treatment to help her clients achieve optimum wellness.Vicki's interest in becoming a therapist for artists began as a student at The School for Toronto Dance Theatre and the University of Calgary Dance Program.
Registered Massage Therapist
Lauren was a massage enthusiast decades before becoming a therapist. Her training at Sutherland-Chan prepared her to treat clients with a wide range of issues, from survivors of catastrophic accidents to those struggling with stress and depression. Her son is an aspiring pianist and composer, so she has an understanding of the challenges artists face. She offers Swedish massage, myofascial release, and deep tissue work.
Shelly-Anne Li is the head of research and quality improvement at the Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre (AHC). She sets program direction and designs research and quality improvement projects that are in accordance with the values and mission of AHC. Shelly-Anne oversees and provides direction to research, quality improvement, and community engagement initiatives at the Centre. She is also a community educator and supervisor to medical learners at University of Toronto for their community-based service-learning at the Centre.Shelly-Anne is a sessional faculty at the School of Nursing at McMaster University, and is in the final year of her PhD in Health Systems Research at the University of Toronto, and has completed her MSc in Health Research Methodology at McMaster University. She specializes in research design and methods, program evaluation, as well as implementation and knowledge translation of evidence-based practices. With over seven years of experience in leading health research projects, she published numerous peer-reviewed articles and shared her findings at national and international conferences.Her vision is to use research to improve the health and well-being of professional artists, and to educate health care professionals and their greater community. To meet the many unique health needs of professional artists, Shelly-Anne aims to implement evidence-based practices that have lasting, positive impact on their health and well-being.
Lezlee is a Registered Social Worker with over 20 years of experience. Her background includes a combination of working in healthcare and in private practice. Throughout her career, she has worked with a variety of clients to support overall mental health. She appreciates the unique needs of individuals involved in the Arts.Her training includes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Emotionally Focused Therapy, and Gottman Method to work with individuals, families, and couples. Her approach is collaborative focusing on supporting and empowering clients to draw on their strengths to identify meaningful goals."It is a great privilege and opportunity to join The Artists' Health Centre. I look forward to combining my interest in healthcare and the Arts working together to create positive change."
Susan is a Registered Psychotherapist, and offers interactive, interpersonal psychotherapy for individuals and groups. Her training is in Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, she graduated from the Centre for Training in Psychotherapy in 1996. She further trained with the Sensorimotor Psychotherapy Institute to build tools and strategies to repair wounds in the psyche and soma. She also offers EFT Couple's Therapy, (Emotionally Focused Therapy) to help couples be able to communicate more effectively with each other.Having grown up in an artistic family, and having her own experience working in theatre, Susan is passionate about freeing and supporting artists to accomplish their work, and to have a healthy work-life balance.
Chiropractor – offering Chiropractic, Acupuncture and Craniosacral Therapy
Anita Shack DC, BFA (Dance), is a Toronto-based Chiropractor who uses Chiropractic, Acupuncture, and Craniosacral Therapy to facilitate change and wellness for her patients. She is in both private practice and the Chiropractor at the Al and Malka Green Artists' Health Centre at the Toronto Western Hospital. She is a published researcher and international speaker and teacher. She explores holistic context in her work and her workshops that are designed to increase personal awareness leading to improved health on multiple levels.Dr. Shack has extensive experience working with artists from many disciplines including dance, theatre, music, visual arts, film, writing, photography, and others. She is a member of the Performing Arts Medicine Association and Healthy Dancer Canada. She is sensitive to the specific stresses and sensibilities of artists.Dr. Shack draws on her expertise as a health care practitioner for over 30 years, her varied life experience, and her over 25-year study of earth-based and spiritual healing paradigms. She creatively weaves knowledge from these ancient traditions, and evidence-based science into experiential workshops. She is an insightful and caring teacher, creating safe and supportive environments to facilitate learning, change, and healing.
Rebecca grew up in Vancouver, BC, and completed medical school at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Her residency training brought her to Ontario, where she completed her Family Medicine certification at Toronto Western Hospital. During Rebecca's residency, she gained skills in GP-psychotherapy through supervision at the AHC, as well as additional courses in CBT and Narrative Therapy.Outside of Rebecca's work as a GP Psychotherapist, she is passionate about public health and obtained a Master's in Public Health from the University of Toronto. She is working towards a career as a public health physician.
Paul Uy (MD, RCPSC, BHSc) is a physician who completed his psychiatric training at the University of Toronto. He has trained in a number of therapeutic modalities from psychodynamic psychotherapy, interpersonal therapy, group therapy, dialectical behavioural therapy and mindfulness therapies. He also travels, practices yoga and writes poetry.Paul's eclectic interest in various therapies emerged partly from a lifelong interest in writing, particularly poetry. He appreciates the many links between psychotherapy and the arts – how one can inform the other in harnessing physicality, intuition and community for healing and meaning. He values the role of art in society in cultivating immediacy, curiosity and creativity in a highly complex and interconnected world.
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting ultra fine needles into specific points of energy that are located along 14 meridians or channels that cover the entire body. There are 365 classical acupuncture points associated with the 14 meridians. These points and meridians, mapped out millennia ago and confirmed by consistent practice have show that skillful insertion and manipulation of specific points will produce predictable results in the body.
Chiropractic is an evidence-informed, non-invasive, hands-on health care discipline that focuses on the musculoskeletal system.
Chiropractors practice primarily using their hands, providing diagnosis, treatment and preventive care for disorders related to the spine, pelvis, nervous system and joints.
Chiropractors use a combination of treatments, depending on the specific needs of the individual patient. After taking a history, performing an examination and establishing a diagnosis, a chiropractor can develop and carry out a comprehensive treatment/management plan, recommend therapeutic exercise and other non-invasive therapies, and provide nutritional, dietary and lifestyle counselling.
Also called CST, or cranial osteopathy, it is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on technique, developed by an American osteopathic physician almost one hundred years ago.
CST theory and practice is based on understanding the continuous subtle movements of the cranial bones, which result in a rhythm of approximately six to twelve cycles per minute. This rhythm is understood as a response to cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) fluctuations within the spinal cord and brain environment. The subtle movement extends outward to the entire body, in response to the fluid pressure changes around the Central Nervous System.
A therapist gently works with the whole body including the spine and the skull, and its cranial sutures, diaphragms, and fascia. By using the hands as fine discriminating tools, Craniosacral therapists are able to detect disturbances in the cranial sacral rhythm to help them identify areas of dysfunction, such as cranial, sutural, membrane and other soft tissue restrictions in the body.
Patients remain clothed during a treatment and treatments generally are one hour.
Emotion-Focused Mindfulness (EFM) is a way of developing self-compassionate awareness through mindfulness. Using principles from Emotion-Focused Therapy (EFT) and Recollective Awareness Meditation, practicing EFM helps cultivate tolerance and curiosity for the present moment – including thoughts and emotions alongside physical experience.
Emotion-Focused Mindfulness highlights a mindful awareness practice that can help us better navigate emotions in meditation, decreasing suffering, increasing happiness, and empowering us to live more deeply valued lives. Rather than feeling better, the emphasis is on getting better at feeling so that our feelings help us to better navigate our lives.
The Narrative Group is a creative opportunity for artists who share an interest in writing and the discussion of writing. Learning how to write your own stories and sharing them with others in a confidential setting may foster emotional resilience through the coherence that comes from having words for your own life. It may develop creative problem-solving and allow you to find a greater sense of meaning as you navigate your life with your artistic practice and beyond.
Naturopathic medicine is a distinct primary health care system that blends modern scientific knowledge with traditional and natural forms of medicine. The naturopathic philosophy is to stimulate the healing power of the body and treat the underlying cause of disease. Symptoms of disease are seen as warning signals of improper functioning of the body, and unfavourable lifestyle habits. Naturopathic Medicine emphasizes disease as a process rather than as an entity.
Nurse Practitioners (NPs) in primary care can function both autonomously and collaboratively in primary care settings. NPs can initiate treatments, diagnose diseases, disorders and conditions; prescribe medications, and order lab tests, x-rays and other diagnostic tests within their statutory and regulatory standards. NPs are able to provide comprehensive care within a collaborative team.
Physiotherapy is treatment to restore, maintain, and make the most of a patient’s mobility, function and well-being. Physiotherapy helps through physical rehabilitation, injury prevention, and health and fitness. Physiotherapists get you involved in your own recovery.
Psychotherapy is primarily a talk-based therapy and is intended to help people improve and maintain their mental health and well-being. Registered Psychotherapists work with individuals, couples and families in individual and group settings. Psychotherapy occurs when the psychotherapist and client enter into a psychotherapeutic relationship where both work together to bring about positive change in the client’s thinking, feeling, behaviour and social functioning. Individuals usually seek psychotherapy when they have thoughts, feelings, moods and behaviours that are adversely affecting their day-to-day lives, relationships and the ability to enjoy life.
Single session therapy is a specific form of therapy conducted by professionals who seek to use their existing skill sets and knowledge base to address clients’ presenting concerns, within one session. The session takes place with the understanding that the session might be the only one. Some of the issues you can discuss include:
Massage therapy consists primarily of hands-on manipulation of the soft tissues of the body, specifically, the muscles, connective tissue, tendons, ligaments and joints for the purpose of optimizing health.
Massage therapy treatment has a therapeutic effect on the body and optimizes health and well-being by acting on the muscular, nervous and circulatory systems. Physical function can be developed, maintained and improved; and physical dysfunction and pain and the effects of stress can be relieved or prevented through the use of Massage Therapy.
Shiatsu therapy is a unique, non-invasive manual therapy from Japan that stimulates the body’s inherent ability to heal itself. Literally translated, the word shiatsu means "finger pressure." The therapy involves the systematic application of pressure, using the thumbs primarily, to different points on the soft tissues of the body in order to assess and treat a variety of conditions. Shiatsu treatments have a regulatory influence on the body’s autonomic nervous system, thereby improving organ function and reducing muscle tension.
This fund provides short-term support and cannot be relied upon for ongoing treatment.
The fund may be helpful if you are:
Step 1:Book an intake appointment with our Nurse Practitioner.
This appointment is free of charge and can be made by calling The Al & Malka Green Artists' Health Centre at 416 603 5263.
Step 2:After this appointment, an application form will be sent to you for completion online.
Step 3:Send supporting documents to:
Applications are reviewed once a month. Applications received after each month's deadline will be reviewed the following month.
Applications are due the second last Thursday of the month by 11:00 am.
You will be contacted with information about your first appointment.
Please bring the following to your appointment. Not all of these items may be needed for your appointment. Our clinic or your referring doctor will let you know what you must bring.
Please arrive 15 minutes before your appointment.
When you arrive, you will sign in with the receptionist. You will need your health card (OHIP card) to sign-in. If you do not have an OHIP card, please bring another form of government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license or passport.
You may be given a Measuring Health Equity Questionnaire to fill out. This form contains questions about your background. We collect this information to find out who we serve and what unique needs you may have. The form is voluntary and you can choose ‘prefer not to answer’ to any or all questions. However, the information you choose to give us will help us improve the quality of care for you and others.
First appointments take longer than follow-up appointments. Your first appointment can take 2 hours or more. Follow-up appointments usually take 15 to 30 minutes. We do everything we can to stay on time but sometimes unforeseen circumstances may delay your appointment.
At the end of your first appointment, the nurse or doctor will give you a contact list for your health care team. If you don’t get a contact list, feel free to ask for it.
After every appointment, a member of your health care team will tell you about your next visit. Be sure you understand what is going to happen next. For example, know the time and place of your next visit or if someone will call you with this information.
If you are unsure about what your next steps are, don’t be afraid to ask a member of your team. We are here to help you.
We understand that reaching us by phone can sometimes be difficult. Often our phone lines are busy or are turned over to the message centre so our staff can prepare for clinic visits or help other patients. We make every effort to return your call within 24 hours. Our staff will try to reach you 2 times. If we are not able to reach you directly you may need to call us again.