Partnership takes Health for Good mobile clinic in the mid-west region of Toronto

White van
The mobile health clinic will provide essential primary health and harm reduction services to marginalized persons in the mid-west region of Toronto. (Photo: Nick Menzes)

Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre working in partnership with UHN Social Medicine Program and TELUS Health, is launching a new mobile health clinic to provide essential primary health and harm reduction services to marginalized persons in the mid-west region of Toronto.  

The mobile health clinic will also enable COVID-19 testing and vaccination efforts at homeless sheltering sites, congregate housing for marginalized populations and in areas with high positivity rates. 

"The mirage of universality in our healthcare system has cruelly punished people living in poverty for decades," says Dr. Andrew Boozary, Executive Director of UHN's Social Medicine Program. "And the COVID-19 pandemic has only deepened the divide in accessing healthcare and imposed even starker social inequities.

"The launch of a mobile health clinic in partnership with Parkdale Queen West CHC and TELUS is exactly the sort of innovation we need, not only to respond to the pandemic, but in building lasting partnerships that shift care to the centre of communities that need it most."

Read more about the mobile health clinic.

Protecting our vulnerable senior population from COVID-19

Team shop at vaccine cart
The vaccination team administered Moderna vaccine to all patients on Toronto Rehab’s Specialized Dementia Unit last week. (Photo: UHN)

It was a celebratory morning last Friday when all 20 patients on Toronto Rehab's Specialized Dementia Unit (SDU), became the first inpatients at UHN to receive the Moderna vaccine. 

The urgency to protect this population was strong, since many of the vulnerable seniors on the unit are referred from, and will return to, long-term care (LTC) centres.  

"As LTC residents across Toronto were being vaccinated, staff and patients' families became concerned that our patients might miss out," says Dr. Andrea Iaboni, Geriatric Psychiatrist and Medical Lead of the SDU. 

"When I raised this to UHN leadership, they responded quickly to confirm that our patients were eligible for the Moderna vaccine, and helped us coordinate a vaccine plan." 

The team worked at full speed, securing consents, putting an individualized care plan in place for each patient, and assigning team members to specific roles. For example, one nurse was responsible for administering the vaccine; another was in charge of completing paperwork; two more were there to support each patient, offering reassurance and make them feel special; and other staff were monitoring patients for any possible reactions. 

"This was so exciting, because we care for a population who cannot advocate for themselves, or express when they have symptoms of COVID-19," says Lani Denila, registered practical nurse. 

"This has given us and their families peace of mind, knowing that they will have some degree of protection." 

Thanks to Silvi Groe, Ada Seto, Dr. Andrea Iaboni, Lakshmi Matmari, and the entire SDU team, for putting the needs of patients first. 

Order of Ontario appointments for members of UHN community

Medal of the Order of Ontario
The Order of Ontario recognizes the achievements of people who have “left a lasting legacy in the province, in Canada, and beyond.” (Photo: Province of Ontario)

The new year began with eight members of the UHN community being appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province's highest honour.

On January 1, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order of Ontario, announced 47 new appointments for 2019 and 2020.

It recognizes individuals whose exceptional achievements have "left a lasting legacy in the province, in Canada, and beyond," she said in a news release. Members of the Order of Ontario come "from all walks of life, represent diverse fields of endeavour, and have played an important role in shaping Ontario."

Here is a list of the appointees who have made an impact on UHN:

Michael De Gasperis – A well-respected philanthropist – including support for Dr. Michael Fehlings within the Krembil Brain Institute and Sprott Department of Surgery at UHN – business and community leader, Michael De Gasperis celebrates over 25 years as one of Ontario's premier developers and home builders. A visionary for improved access to healthcare, his leadership has raised millions of dollars for numerous health institutions across the province. From his concept, to brokering approvals and land purchase on behalf of the City of Vaughan, Mackenzie Vaughan Hospital is in final stages of construction.

Geoff Fernie – An inspired biomedical engineer and inventor, former Director of Research at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute's KITE Research Institute, senior scientist at KITE and holder of the Creaghan Family Chair in Prevention and Healthcare Technologies at UHN and U of T, Dr. Geoff Fernie is recognized worldwide as a pioneer in rehabilitation engineering. With numerous patents to his name, he has revolutionized daily accessibility and made the world a better place for persons with disabilities. 

Carlo Fidani – Carlo Fidani, a prominent figure in Ontario's real estate community, believes in the transformative power of philanthropy. He directs his giving to health-related causes making landmark and often anonymous donations that have had significant impact on Ontario's leading science and medical facilities. Areas such as access to radiation treatment, education of doctors and breakthroughs in cancer treatments have benefited from his generosity. At UHN in particular, examples include support for Ontario's first Gamma Knife within the Krembil Brain Institute at Toronto Western Hospital (TWH), and the establishment of the Orey and Mary Fidani Family Chair in Radiation Physics at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and U of T.

James W. Leech – Businessman Jim Leech is best known for his tenure at the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan where he pioneered direct private investing by pension plans on a global basis. Since retirement, he has focused almost exclusively on volunteer philanthropic leadership and public service in the areas of international development, postsecondary education, healthcare and the military. His roles in healthcare leadership have included serving as former Chair of the Board of Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation where he is currently Chair Emeritus, and now Co-Chair of the Arthritis Campaign in support of the Schroeder Arthritis Institute at UHN.

Peter Liu – A cardiologist at Toronto General and now Ottawa Heart Institute, Dr. Peter Liu has raised the international profile of Canadian cardiovascular research through his leadership at top national institutions. He was a key champion for the first heart failure practice guidelines in Canada and internationally and has helped to set national public health policy standards in cardiovascular health.  

Audrey Loeb – Respectfully dubbed "the Condo Queen," Audrey Loeb is a lawyer, educator, author, and consumer advocate – and one of the first advocates of condominium law reform. She is passionately committed to improving the experience of those buying and living in condominiums in Ontario. As Professor Emeritus of Law, she spent 28 years teaching at Ryerson's School of Business Management. She is also founder of the Weekend to End Breast Cancer, and an active member of the LIVE ON Campaign Cabinet supporting the Ajmera Transplant Centre at UHN.

Janis Rotman – Generous philanthropist, President and CEO of the Rotman Family Foundation, Janis Rotman is building upon the Rotman family's philanthropic leadership across Canada. In addition to championing the arts and leading health care institutions, she continues to dedicate her generous personal support and commitment to UHN's Family and Community Medicine team at TWH, Canada's youth and helping children in need.  

Marilyn Sonley – A pioneering pediatric oncologist for more than 30 years, Dr. Marilyn Sonley led the creation of childhood cancer divisions at Princess Margaret Hospital and the Hospital for Sick Children, helping them become world-renowned centres of excellence. She is known as an extraordinary clinician to the children she cared for and an incredible mentor to many leading physicians. 

Read a full list of the newest appointees to the Order of Ontario

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