Sherbourne Health Centre: Mosaic News - Spring/Summer 2017 Edition

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Spring/Summer 2017

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2017 edition of Mosaic News, Sherbourne Health Centre’s newsletter. Subscribe to receive biannual updates on our diverse programs and services.

Announcing … A New Evolution of our Health Bus Program

In this issue

Sherbourne has received a $300,000 gift from the Rotary Club of Toronto Charitable Foundation to help build a new state-of-the-art mobile health clinic!


Getting active at OUTSLOPES SOY Ski Day / Volunteer spotlight: SOY Express

For 20 years, the Health Buses have been a familiar sight around Toronto. The first bus hit the streets in 1996, operated by the Wellesley Hospital until its closure, when the program transferred to Sherbourne in 2002. Rotary later renewed their commitment and allowed Sherbourne to roll out the next generation with two smaller, converted RVs. Serving up to 20,000 clients per year has taken its toll on our buses, and after a decade they too are nearing retirement.


Hosting our first Knowledge Translation Event


Participating in 20th Raising the Roof toque campaign


An update on our trans health services / Donor spotlight on monthly giving


Supporting trauma clients with T.R.E.E. / Launch of Take-Home Naloxone program


Cooking up a variety of fun in SOY Alphabet Soup

Our city and the health system have changed immensely over the last 10 years, so we reviewed the Health Bus program’s model, asking what role a mobile health clinic can play. There are over 5000 homeless people who face barriers to care, such as not having an OHIP card and a lack of transport to appointments. Thirty-seven per cent of homeless people report unmet healthcare needs. (Continued on page 2)

A note from the CEO... “Spring has sprung, and the welcome turn in weather brings with it the prospect of exciting times for Sherbourne. We are entering the final year of our current strategic plan and will spend this year reflecting on and celebrating what we have achieved thus far, and laying out Sherbourne’s road map for the years ahead. There will be many opportunities for you, our community members and supporters to get involved, and I look forward to sharing more information about that process soon. In the mean time, please enjoy this edition of Mosaic News. I am so proud of all the work we do – sharing these highlights with you is one of my favourite parts of being CEO!” – Hazelle Palmer, CEO, Sherbourne Health Centre

New Health Bus continued... Feedback from clients, staff and community partners told us that mobile health still plays a crucial role in increasing access to health care for our city’s most vulnerable people. The new bus will serve a broader clientele, including homeless seniors, people with mental health issues, the LGBTQ community and newcomers to Canada. Our nurses, physicians and counsellors, along with outreach workers, will provide advanced onthe-spot health services.

Sherbourne’s CEO Hazelle Palmer [middle, left] and Director of Corporate Affairs Graeme Imrie [middle, right] receive a cheque to the Health Bus program from The Rotary Club of Toronto’s President Susan Hunter and its Charitable Foundation President Peter Love.

“The new Health Bus will be a safe, comfortable and private space for clients to access health services and is designed to adapt to the needs of our diverse, changing communities. The program is evolving from being a connector to services, to functioning as a ‘Sherbourne on Wheels’ program that takes full primary care services to the people in most need.” Chantel Marshall Director, Urban Health at Sherbourne Health Centre The new bus is being built right now. It will include a private, fully equipped exam room, separate consultation area for mental health counselling and health education, integrated wheelchair lift, and temperature control to keep the bus comfortable year-round. We hope to launch the new Health Bus with a community event late summer-early fall. If your company or community group would like to learn more about opportunities to support the Health Bus program, contact Catherine Argiropoulos, Development Officer.


The new Health Bus is being constructed with enhanced features, including a private exam room and an accessible wheelchair lift.

Skiing, friendship & fun

LGBTQ youth get outdoors at the OUTSLOPES SOY Ski Day On Saturday, March 18th, a group of 22 LGBTQ youth participated in a day of skiing at Mount St. Louis Moonstone. Organized by OUTSLOPES Toronto, youth spent the day learning skiing skills, building friendships, and sharing the experience with adult LGBTQ community members, including 8 OUTSLOPES volunteers and SOY staff. The ski day is part of SOY Get Out!, a program which encourages LGBTQ youth to participate in outdoors activities. Often LGBTQ youth face barriers to accessing outdoor activities, such as non-inclusive groups and high costs. Get Out! inspires getting outside, encourages learning new skills and growing friendships.

SOY Get Out! participants, staff and OUTSLOPES volunteers make a memory together on the ski slopes at Mount St. Louis Moonstone.

For the past 15 years, members of OUTSLOPES Toronto generously donate all of the funds needed for the youth to participate.

says OUTSLOPES Toronto President Yanick Landry. “Since most of the participants are new to skiing and snowboarding, to watch them surprise themselves on the slopes while cheering on their friends, is a joy to see every year!”

“OUTSLOPES Toronto is proud of its longstanding partnership with SOY Get Out!”

Thank you OUTSLOPES Toronto for your support!

Volunteer Spotlight

Chi Ching

SOY Express & H.E.A.T. Volunteer

For 17 years, Chi Ching Hui has been a part of the SOY family. He first joined in 2000 as a youth participant in the CLICK Mentoring Program, and went on to be an initial member of Express when it was established in 2002. After turning 30, Chi Ching stayed involved with SOY by volunteering with H.E.A.T. and Express. For the past eight years, Chi Ching has continued helping at Express to welcome new youth, share information and resources, and act as a mentor, role model and co-facilitator for group activities. He always brings a friendly, approachable and non-judgmental attitude to the program. “I wanted to give back to the group that gave me so much. I have been part of other volunteer programs, and SOY is one program I continue to stay with because I feel like SOY is my home, my family. I met my closest friends while I was a participant. I believe in what SOY is doing because it is helping to make a difference in other LGBTQ youths’ lives, like it did for me. I am honoured to be part of the SOY team and this fantastic organization.” As a testament to his dedication towards helping others, Chi Ching has been honoured with a 2017 Volunteer Toronto legacy award for eight years of outstanding volunteer work with SOY and the community. Congratulations Chi Ching!


A meeting of the minds Sherbourne hosts inaugural knowledge translation event to ‘unpack newcomer health’ On November 3rd, 2016, Sherbourne hosted its very first Knowledge Translation and Exchange Event. The theme, “Unpacking Newcomer Health,” focused on Sherbourne’s work with diverse newcomer communities. With over 60 guests in attendance, the halfday event brought together professionals from various skilled backgrounds who work with newcomer and immigrant populations, including frontline service providers, primary care and mental health clinicians, managers, program planners, researchers and students. Attendees learned about Sherbourne’s work with newcomer communities through presentations on refugee mental health, culturally competent care in practice, and neighbourhood-based approaches to newcomer health and wellness.

Sherbourne’s Nalini Pandalangat welcomes guests and presents a refugee mental health framework to the crowd.

Sherbourne’s newcomer team gave insight into their experience of providing effective care to newcomer clients. Staff also presented on our ongoing work with partners to build both a refugee mental health framework and a neighbourhood-based health promotion strategy in St. James Town. “An event of this nature serves to highlight the importance of a population health

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Guests take in a day of learning focused on addressing the health care needs of diverse newcomer communities.

approach in addressing health inequities faced by newcomer immigrant and refugee communities,” says Nalini Pandalangat, Director, Newcomer Health & Specialty Services at Sherbourne. Additional experts in the field from research, practice and program development also shared their knowledge and work pertaining to newcomer populations. A panel discussion explored various perspectives on newcomer mental health, from best approaches to mental health counselling when working with LGBTQ newcomers and refugees, to the impact of innovative partnerships, to lessons learned from working with the Roma community. A Gallery Room held info displays for guests to learn more about Sherbourne’s programs and services geared toward newcomer clients. The event wrapped up with lunch being served in the Share and Learn Kitchen, where guests continued to mix and mingle. The day was filled with enlightenment, cultivating a sense of community and belonging as guests embraced the spirit of teaching and learning from one other.

Of the 1297 clients served by our Newcomer Primary Care Team, 56% are refugees and immigrants.

“Warm your head and your heart!” Sherbourne’s annual participation in Raising the Roof’s Toque Campaign a success

Sherbourne volunteers help fight homelessness by selling toques, caps and mittens at Yonge & Bloor subway station for this year’s 20th Raising the Roof Toque Campaign.

Before sunrise on a cold February morning, 12 volunteers arrived at Toronto’s Yonge and Bloor subway station. As crowds descended onto subway platforms and corridors, volunteers cheered, waved and encouraged commuters to buy a toque, cap or pair of mittens.

Did you know… This February 7th winter morning was Toque Tuesday, a day dedicated to raising funds to support people experiencing homelessness. Organized by Raising the Roof, the 20th annual Toque Campaign raised funds to prevent homelessness. Raising the Roof is a national organization that partners with front-line agencies who serve homeless and under-housed clients in numerous cities. By promoting local sales, partner agencies receive funding from the campaign for direct client services.

From the Toque Campaign, Sherbourne receives funding for our programs that support homeless and under-housed clients. SOY’s Monday Night Drop-In, Infirmary, Health Buses and Women in Need ‘Klinik’ (WINK) are the programs that directly benefit. Since Sherbourne became involved five years ago, almost $40,000 has been granted to our activities. And this doesn’t include funds raised this year!

This year was our most successful one yet and events in our toque campaign were bustling with excitement. In November, a group of volunteers sold items at the annual Illuminite event at Yonge & Dundas Square. Sales also took place at a toque pop-up location on Bloor Street. Toque pop-ups aimed to raise awareness on the issue of homelessness by setting up in locations where a homeless person might spend the night, such as in a doorway, on a bench and in a car. Sherbourne’s staff and community also rallied behind the campaign by volunteering to help in our sales events and purchasing items for family, friends and themselves! “This is a fantastic campaign to raise support for programs our clients vitally need,” says Catherine Argiropoulos, Development Officer at Sherbourne. “We sold over 500 items alone on Toque Sherbourn’es Development Officer Tuesday and this Catherine Argiropoulos [right] and would not have been a volunteer raise funds at a toque possible without the pop-up location. support from our community and volunteers. Thank you everyone!”


Advances in our trans health services Sherbourne has been working hard to expand our services for trans and gender nonconforming people since being awarded new funding by the Ministry of Health and LongTerm Care. All primary care providers across our population teams have now been fully trained to provide surgery planning visits and referrals for transition-related surgeries (TRS). Our Infirmary has also started admitting clients for post-surgical recovery, and 289 providers across the province have been trained to provide TRS referrals through our Rainbow Health Ontario program. A new Mental Health Counsellor and a Systems Navigator will be joining this spring. In March we kicked off three peer-to-peer groups for trans men who are considering, waiting for, or have had TRS. The groups

aim to help clients navigate their surgeries and support their recovery by providing information and creating lasting networks that they can draw on. For more information visit the ‘Support and Activity Groups’ page on the Sherbourne website. We have also been working with our expansion partners, Women’s College Hospital (WCH) and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) to increase access to care for trans people across the broader health system. This partnership is called the Trans Health Expansion (THEx). A working group of the partners is focused on building capacity to provide TRS at WCH, as well as eliminating the waitlist at CAMH and concentrating its services on clients with complex mental health conditions. If you want to keep up to date on the partnership’s progress, please visit to receive updates.

Monthly giving inspires long-term sustainability Matthew Perry has been a long-term supporter of Sherbourne’s Supporting Our Youth (SOY) program. By long-term, we mean as a donor, volunteer and champion for over 18 years! Matthew finds great motivation in his commitment as a monthly donor: “SOY lives and breathes its mission of building strong, inclusive and dynamic LGBTQ communities. Since 1998, I’ve had the opportunity to witness the amazing positive impact that SOY has had on the youth and the whole community. As a member of the LGBTQ community, as soon as I was able to make a monthly commitment I wanted to do so to provide a measure of support that could be counted on.” Monthly giving provides consistent and sustainable funding for SOY. Through reliable support, SOY programs can continue to empower and inspire young LGBTQ people with skills, resources, and community. Also,


Matthew Perry [right] accepts a top team fundraising award from SOY staff member Clare Nobbs at SOY’s annual Bowlathon fundraiser.

monthly giving can be a more manageable method for donors to provide support over the course of the year. Thank you to Matthew and to each of our generous monthly donors! To get involved as a monthly donor, visit the ‘Donate’ page of Sherbourne’s website or contact Catherine at cargiropoulos@ or 416-324-4169.

T.R.E.E. offers support for male survivors of trauma On March 17th, Sherbourne launched Trauma Recovery, Education, and Empowerment (T.R.E.E.), a group to provide mental health support for male identified (including trans and cis-gendered) survivors of trauma. “Our goal is to continue to enhance survival skills and safety strategies for clients in relation to their lived experiences and histories of trauma.”

Daniel Pugh Mental Health Counsellor and T.R.E.E. Co-facilitator at Sherbourne T.R.E.E. is a skills-oriented group designed to explore how clients respond to past trauma, understand patterns of behavior associated with their experience and learn new coping strategies.

Volunteer Spotlight

The group has a special focus on providing support to male-identified clients from LGBTQ communities, as well as encouraging access to Indigenous people and People of Colour. “T.R.E.E. is a newly revised version of a trauma group launched at Sherbourne two years ago,” says Daniel Pugh, mental health counsellor at Sherbourne and co-facilitator of T.R.E.E. “We’re excited to continue providing a group like this because trauma related programs and groups are already limited – especially ones for male identified LGBTQ communities. We know from our client base that the need will continue.”

Preventing overdose With Take-Home Naloxone program In April Sherbourne launched a Take-Home Naloxone program. It aims to get Naloxone a life-saving drug that can stop fatal opioid overdose (OD) - into the hands of opioid users, as well as their friends and family members, to help avoid preventable accidental OD. OD is a serious risk for people who use opioids, such as pain management medication prescribed by a doctor, or street drugs like heroin. The risk is higher when people mix substances, like combining alcohol and/or benzodiazepines with opioids. Many drug users are highly marginalized and might fear calling 911 for an OD. If they do, sometimes first responders cannot reach them in time.

Until recently Naloxone was only available in an injectable form. An easy-to-use nasal spray version was then approved for distribution by Health Canada. As part of the Ontario Naloxone Program, nasal Naloxone is now available through our Hepatitis C program. Individuals accessing Naloxone will also receive a short training that includes OD prevention tips, recognizing signs of opioid OD, and how to use Naloxone. Says Annika Ollner, Program Coordinator: “People use drugs for many reasons, whether for pain, comfort, or self-medicating for their mental health. This program provides a tool that saves lives… It says to people who use drugs, ‘Your life is valuable. We want you to be safe.’”


Bright, bold & bubbly A variety of flavours for Alphabet Soup SOY has been busy over the last few months cooking up a variety of activities in Alphabet Soup, a weekly after school drop-in group for queer and trans spectrum teens. The group offers participants the opportunity to connect with community through workshops, movies, games, guest speakers and outings in the city. “The youth who come to Alphabet Soup are smart, politically and socially aware, and creative people,” says Alphabet Soup Coordinator Chris Veldhoven. “With their guidance, we offer a different ‘flavour of soup’ each week. Our aim is to keep activities fun and meaningful, while ensuring we support the needs, personal development, health and wellbeing of our diverse participants.” In January, a program planning session called “Making Soup, Planning Together” explored the youth’s personal goals, and how Alphabet Soup has impacted their lives. Participants described it as “[a] place to find community, make friends and find my voice,” and “[a] safe space to exist as a queer person.” On Valentine’s Day, the group also took part in “Palentine’s Day: Platonic, Polyamorous and Monogamous Relationships,” a discussion about relationships, boundaries and the meaning of love. Youth connected with their peers and community elders around common

Alphabet Soup participants learn the artful skill of cake decorating.

identities, and gained a deeper understanding of their own and others’ identities, and the different types of relationships that exist. Additional sessions covered more vibrant activities, including a tribute to Black History Month and dialogue on anti-black racism, a graphic art storytelling workshop, an outdoor ice skating trip, and a cake decorating class taught by a youth participant. As “Gazpacho Season” approaches, Alphabet Soup will be serving up some exciting courses in its programming. Participants will learn about their rights at school as queer and trans youth in the TDSB, fine-tune their Easy Bake Oven skills, challenge their critical thinking at Board Game Night, and engage in other lively activities that build friendships, confidence, and a sense of belonging and community.

Looking ahead For the past 10 years, the Infirmary has provided a nurturing and supportive environment for homeless, under-housed and vulnerable people in our communities. Come May, Sherbourne will host an Open House to celebrate this milestone and the launch of our new ‘trans recovery pod’ for people recovering

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from transition-related surgeries. We’ll honour achievements from the last decade and build momentum for our bright future ahead. We’ll also be announcing a new name for the Infirmary, in order to be more distinct about what the program has to offer in supporting the clients we serve. Stay tuned!

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