South Riverdale Community Health Centre
Our Impact Why We Exist
Vision: Empowered, healthy and thriving communities where everyone belongs.
Inclusion & Respect
Meaningful Community Engagement
Evidence Informed Practice
Our Story What We Do
History of Organization
South Riverdale Community Health Centre (SRCHC) opened its doors in November 1976. Over the last 36 years, the Centre has increased staffing from two doctors and a nurse practitioner, cleaners and a bookkeeper to over 100 full- and part-time employees, including 8 physicians, five nurse practitioners and a full complement of other professionals such as dietitians, health promoters, social workers, outreach and peer workers and administrative support staff. After outgrowing the original Pape Avenue facility in 1986, SRCHC moved to the current building on Queen Street East in June 1998. The Centre has a long history of innovative and responsive approaches to improving health and wellness for all the communities we serve including the development of our harm reduction program, Chinese outreach, and clinical services for people who are not insured. Our commitment to supporting community leadership and action is evident in the planning and implementation of new programs, including arts based programs, community gardens, a program for women who have lost their children to the Children's Aid Society, to name a few. We have been at the forefront of community initiatives and campaigns to address issues that impact community health, including working with community and partners to identify and solve the problem of lead in some of the neighbourhoods' soil, and working in community coalitions to address income and food security and planning issues.
Accolades and Accomplishments
Some highlights since 2000:
2000 - SRCHC's Lives and Legends Project, which documented the history of Riverdale's communities, won the Millenium Star from the City of Toronto.
2002 - Toronto Public Health awarded SRCHC a Recognition Award for outstanding service.
2002 - Canadian Institute of Child Health awarded SRCHC and our two partners the Health Promotion and Innovation Award of Excellence.
2004 — SRCHC received accreditation and commendations for innovative community health service and harm reduction work.
2004 - Association of Ontario Health Centres gave SRCHC an Award of Excellence in Primary Health Care, Community Development, for our contribution to the Everybody's Access to Safe Travel program.
2004 - Association of Ontario Health Centres gave COUNTERfit an Award of Excellence in Primary Health Care, Programs & Services, for outstanding contribution, COUNTERfit Harm Reduction program.
2005 — The Centre advocates for a bike lane on Dundas Street and starts a bicycle clinic. The Centre wins the City of Toronto bicycle commuting award.
2005 - Won award for “bicycle friendly business” from the City of Toronto.
2006 - COUNTERfit program co-ordinator given National Rolleston Award by the International Harm Reduction Association during the 17th International Conference on the Reduction of Drug Related Harm for his work with the drug using community.
2009 - SRCHC secures funding for new environmental initiative, Neighbourhoods Acting on Air Quality project (NAAQ) and assisted with the community campaign to assess impacts of the local Big Box retail development proposal.
2009 - COUNTERfit Harm Reduction program celebrated its 10th anniversary. This innovative program offers services 24/7 throughout the year at the Centre and through our mobile services. In 2008-09, the program reached over 28,000 people.
2009 - Our asthma program has been listed among the top 10 examples of "what's working well" in healthcare in Ontario. The program has also connected with a local school to conduct an asthma and indoor air quality project.
2010 - The Building Healthier Organizations Community Health Centre accreditation process conducted in 2010 not only awarded SRCHC a "pass" but also indentified the following areas of excellence: Board Establishment and Operations, Leadership and Planning, Accessibility, Continuity and Coordination of Programs and Services, Community Responsiveness and working with volunteers.
2010: Ontario HIV Treatment Netowork (OHTN) awarded The Jay Browne Living Legacy Award to COUNTERfit for being one of the two best Harm Reduction programs in Ontario.
2011 - The Speaking of Food and Healthy Living Award gave a Certificate of Merit to SRCHC for our Healthy Eating for Life program.
2011 - SRCHC opens a satellite site at Crescent Town/ Victoria Village Neighbourhood.
2012- The Riverdale Food Working Group starts the Good Food Market in partnership with Foodshare and Queen East Presbyterian Church.
2013 - SRCHC establishes a satellite clinic at the City Adult Learning Centre offering primary care and social work supports.
2015 - Sustaining Health Advantage Initiative (SHAI) wins an award from the Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) for excellence in community engagement.
2016 - SRCHC becomes the lead agency for the Healthy Kids Community Challenge (HKCC) in the Danforth East-York community. The community is one of 45 across Ontario selected to be part of the program which aims to promote children’s health through physical activity and healthy eating.
2016 - SRCHC celebrates its first 40 years.
Our Programs How We Do It
South Riverdale Community Health Centre offers a broad range of health care services, including primary care, health promotion and illness prevention, and environmental health promotion. Priority is given to people who face barriers to services such as low literacy or income; homelessness, substance use and/or mental health issues; gender and sexual orientation; language, race and culture.
Teams of health care professionals work together to help people coping with complex health needs and social problems.
Chronic Disease Prevention and Management
The Chronic Disease Prevention and Management (CDPM) Team provides comprehensive, integrated and holistic health care, support and education to people living with (or at risk of) chronic conditions like asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes and chronic pain.
The inter-professional CDPM team works across disciplines and programs to improve health, reduce risk, minimize complications and improve quality of life for those who have one or more chronic conditions. Preventing chronic disease, particularly for at-risk communities, is a key focus; as well, providing support, skills and knowledge to help people self-manage their health condition(s) is a goal. As a team, we are committed to a holistic approach to health. We consider both the physical and mental aspects of chronic disease; we try to understand how the social determinants of health (like housing, income and culture) influence the person's ability to manage their health care. Our task is to improve access by reducing barriers at the individual, community and systems levels.
We have a commitment to community feedback and the integration of peers with lived experience into our programs. Our partnerships with other health organizations and community programs is critical to meeting the needs of our various communities.
Newcomers and Families
Through its centre-wide equity initiatives, the Newcomers and Families Team facilitates many programs including community health and screening, parenting, and health and wellness. Programs that address food access and nutrition are also based within this team.
Our mission is to provide culturally-diverse programs and services to the community, with a focus on newcomers and families. We offer co-ordinated, interprofessional services that help newcomers to Canada feel settled and integrated into their new environment. Better health is supported by addressing the social determinants of health and by supporting individual and community well-being.
Urban Health Team
The Urban Health Team focuses on meeting the needs of community members who have difficulty accessing health services and supports due to poverty, homelessness, mental health issues and drug use. The large multi-professional team works collaboratively to ensure low-barrier, welcoming services and supports for these community members.
The team provides a wide range of innovative programs, including a large, multi-service harm reduction program (ensuring provision of supplies, equipment and support throughout the day, evening and weekend); a Hepatitis C program which provides treatment to active drug users; a twice-weekly drop-in medical clinic for individuals who have difficulty keeping medical appointments; programs for women who are using drugs and involved in sex work, and those using drugs and living with mental health issues; medical services for marginalized, vulnerable seniors with complex physical and mental health issues, and homeless people living with mental health issues.
Outcomes to date:
- Diabetes in the Real World programming
- Smoking Awareness Group
- Diabetes and Mental Health programming
- Men's Group
- Mobile Dental Bus
- Anti-Stigma Art Project
- Hepatitis C support, treatment and advocacy
- Shelter advocacy
- Advocacy for Sex Workers
Healthy Kids Community Challenge - Danforth East-York
South Riverdale Community Health Centre is in partnership with 7 organizations across the community of Danforth East-York including East End Community Health Centre, East York East Toronto Family Resources, WoodGreen Community Services, Flemingdon Health Centre, Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office, Eastview Community Centre and Massey Centre to create a collective impact in decreasing childhood obesity. The Healthy Kids Strategy aims to improve children's health and well-being through new and existing programs. It will help children to grow up healthy, happy and ready to succeed in life. The strategy focuses leveraging existing assets, as well as identifying and addressing gaps through creating public and private partnerships through:
- helping parents learn what to do before pregnancy and during the early years for their children
- helping parents and their children make healthy food choices
- building healthy communities for kids to grow up in and get active
What You Can Do
South Riverdale Community Health Centre’s award winning Sustaining Health Advantage Initiative was a three year project funded by Ontario Trillium Foundation that was completed in March 2016.
This collaborative, community engagement project engaged the health sector, agencies serving newcomers and improved social and health outcomes of newcomers by addressing the social determinants of health. This project concept is founded on SRCHC’s experience working with newcomers, as well as Canadian research that shows newcomers who arrive in good health, losing this ‘health advantage’ as a result of the challenges they face while settling in Canada[i]. These challenges include, securing employment, building networks, accessing healthcare and social services and language barriers amongst others (The Global City, Newcomer Health in Toronto, 2011).
The project was implemented in three neighbourhoods: Blake-Jones, Pape-Cosburn and Thorncliffe Park. Eight Community Engagement Workers - CESs living in these neighbourhoods were hired to plan and facilitate workshops that address the social determinants of health for newcomers populations.
SHAI has engaged over 1,500 unique newcomer women, seniors men and youth, leading to their increased participation in physical activity, increasing their employability, health access and healthy living opportunities) in three low income high need neighbourhoods. We continue to creatively address social determinants of newcomer health through a localized community empowerment and engagement initiatives.
Gaining meaningful employment is one of the main barriers newcomers face. SHAI project employed 3 newcomer residents from each of the three neighbourhoods as Community Engagement Workers. These team continues to be at the forefront of planning and delivering health and wellness improvement workshops and activities in their neighbourhoods. These include community walks, bicycle riding sessions for beginners, city exploration cycling sessions where newcomers are paired up with long-time immigrants and Canadian born and city resident cyclists, facilitating healthy cooking sessions, use of safer cleaning product and promotion of indoor air quality, waste management strategies, accessing health services, and more. All these programs were delivered in a culturally competent, language appropriate ways. The prominent neighbourhood languages also used during workshops include: Albanian; Bengali; Bosnian; Bulgarian; Croatian; Hindi; Macedonian; Punjabi; Serbian; Urdu and English. It is this adaptive, innovative community health promotion strategies that earned the SHAI project the 2015 AOHC Community Engagement Award.
Using a strengths-based approach, SHAI project created opportunities for shared learnings and capacity building in the three low income, high needs newcomer neighbourhoods . Our neighbourhood. Its efforts are critical in sustaining the efforts aimed at promoting community health , and the creation of welcoming and vibrant communities where everyone will feel that they belong.
[i] Toronto Public Health and Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services, (2012), The Global City, Newcomer Health in Toronto, http://www1.toronto.ca/city_of_toronto/toronto_public_health/performance__standards/map/files/pdf/global_city.pdf