The Urban Disadvantaged is a term we have chosen to use that describes urban populations that have difficulty accessing health care. Often these are inner city populations, people with addictions, people with mental illness, people in poverty, and newcomers. In Ottawa, Community Health Centres (CHCs), Inner City Health Programs through local missions and shelters, Indigenous Health Centers (e.g. Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health) and The Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre, form a network of resource clinics and programs designed to serve this target population.
The six Community Health Centre’s, provide a full range of health and social services to those who live in their communities. They strive to remove barriers to access (language, culture, gender identity to name a few) in an environment that supports and affirms a commitment to diversity, where everyone matters.
Ottawa Inner City Health (OICH) is an organization that provides health care to the homeless and street communities of Ottawa. Its programs include: Booth House, The Diane Morrison Hospice, The Rita Thompson Residence, The Managed Alcohol Program and The Targeted Emergency Diversion Program (TED) at the Shepard’s of Good Hope, and The Oaks.
The Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health provides holistic, culturally relevant health services to First Nation and Metis communities in Ottawa. The Ottawa Newcomer Health Centre is a community based initiative dedicated to providing holistic services that promote the health and social well-being of refugees and immigrants.
Although many students have clinical experiences in these settings, we are moving towards developing a formal collaborative relationship with the local CHC’s. We hope to work together to ensure medical students are aware of the difficulties these populations have in accessing health care. Working both in a medical and interprofessional model, we will try to ensure that the University helps the CHC’s with their mandate as our students learn first hand about Social Determinants of Health and health outcomes.
Community Health Centres in Ottawa: