Sherbourne Health: Mosaic News - Fall/Winter 2020 Edition

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mosaic news Fall/Winter 2020

Welcome to the Fall/Winter 2020 edition of Mosaic News, Sherbourne Health’s newsletter. Subscribe to receive biannual updates on our diverse programs and services.

SOY receives special award for leadership in LGBT2SQ advocacy Supporting Our Youth (SOY) was honoured with a distinguished Bonham Centre Award from the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto (U of T) for its significant contributions to the advancement of human rights issues surrounding sexuality. The award was presented at the Bonham Centre Awards Gala on April 24th, where the evening’s theme was ‘Celebrating 50 years of LGBTQ activism.’ (Continued on page 2)

Supporting Our Youth staff receive a Bonham Centre Award from Mark S. Bonham [pictured, middle] during the spring awards gala held at the University of Toronto.

in this issue 2

SOY wins prestigious U of T Bonham Centre Award


SOY Lead wraps up pilot program / SOY youth spotlight


SOY Bowlathon 2019 / ‘A Night at the Theatre’ for mental health


Launch of the St. James Town Catering Collective


Hepatitis C festivities & supports at Sherbourne


Blue Door Clinic for HIV care / Sherbourne nurses receive award


Health Bus’s new website / Looking Ahead: RHO 2020 Conference

A note from the President & CEO... Let me begin by wishing everyone a very happy 2020. If this New Year is anything like 2019, it will be a busy one. As you may know, health care is undergoing its most significant transformation in many years. The provincial government has a new vision for how services are delivered and has implemented a new framework to achieve its goals. Ontario Health Teams will be established across the province to provide “a full and coordinated continuum of care to a defined geographic population”—24 hours/7 days a week. This model presents a new way to deliver services by prioritizing clients’ needs and working alongside other health and social services agencies to provide the best integrated care. In the end, there’s hope that this new model will lead to better patient and population health outcomes, better patient, family, caregiver and provider experiences, and better value. Sherbourne is part of a group of organizations developing an Ontario Health Team for Toronto’s downtown east catchment. Together, we identified two key populations of focus for Year One: people experiencing homelessness and people with mental health (including addictions) and complex health needs. We hope to submit a proposal in the spring to Ontario Health, the new administrative oversight agency. Sherbourne is excited to be part of this next wave of healthcare transformation and to participate in shaping opportunities that will ultimately improve client care at Sherbourne and across the healthcare system. I will keep you posted on our progress! – Hazelle Palmer, President & CEO, Sherbourne Health

SOY’s Bonham Centre Award continued... Created by the Bonham Centre’s Advisory Board and established in 2008, the Bonham Centre Award honours those who have made a distinguished contribution to the public understanding of sexual diversity in Canada. Guests attended the formal ticketed event at the U of T’s Hart House. The reception included a mix and mingle, along with passed appetizers, drinks and a dinner buffet. The awards ceremony followed, and was kicked off with welcome speeches from the program director and remarks from the Chancellor and event sponsor, before the awards presentation. Along with fellow honourees, the SOY team took to the stage to accept the award, deliver a speech and pose for photos. A steering committee of U of T program staff and faculty and an Advisory Board of members from the LGBT2SQ community contribute nominations as part of the awards selection process. Nominees are then shortlisted, and members vote to decide award recipients.


Thank you to the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies for this esteemed honour. We are proud that SOY has been recognized for its work in championing the advancement of human rights for LGBT2SQ communities in Toronto. Largely funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health, with additional generous support from corporate and community fundraising, SOY continues to offer healthcare supports to inspire queer youth to thrive every day.

That’s a wrap! SOY Lead celebrates completion of pilot program On September 12th, SOY held a wrap-up party in honour of SOY Lead, a pilot peer leadership training program designed for LGBT2SQ youth 29 and under. This program offers participants skills-building and advocacy opportunities and aims to improve overall health and wellbeing. Along with staff and community members, we highlighted the accomplishments of eight SOY youth and young adults, who completed the 20-week program that began April 30th. The event featured inspiring speeches from our leadership team and special guest Jill Andrew, MPP for Toronto-St. Paul’s and the ONDP Culture Critic, and included an awards ceremony, food, music and interactive skillsbuilding activities. SOY Lead also debuted its Affirmation Deck, a resource created by all eight program participants of the affirmations, ideas and phrases reflecting thoughts and feelings captured throughout the program. This creation showcases the community and resilience that the participants built together.

SOY youth spotlight

SOY Lead participants, and facilitators Verlia Stephens [second from right] and Tanya Neumeyer [far right], celebrate at the program’s wrap-up party.

MPP Jill Andrew addresses SOY Lead participants and event attendees.

Funding for SOY Lead was made possible by a substantial gift from an anonymous donor. A 2nd cycle is slated for this spring, so stay tuned!

Sapphira is a recent graduate of the SOY Peer Lead program, and is currently on an internship placement where she supports SOY’s Intersections, a Tuesday night health and wellbeing hub. She first heard about SOY Lead through SKETCH, an arts-based community agency, where she was encouraged to apply: “I really wanted to gain facilitation skills and meet new people. The program also had useful workshops and topics. So I was inspired to join SOY Lead to gain perspective of me as a person and a facilitator—I wanted to learn how to lead a group and maneuver through different situations.” Sapphira says that SOY Lead touches on all the things that matter: “It’s a very good resource and place to find people like yourself. We have conversations around how to be better in oppressive systems, social justice issues, health—aspects that are important to the betterment of the community, both as individuals and as a collective.”

Sapphira SOY intern & graduated SOY Lead participant

As part of ongoing leadership development at Sherbourne, Sapphira is now an intern for SOY Intersections, where she offers peer support and helps facilitate group discussions, arts and crafts. “This experience has helped me in terms of my career growth. It creates valuable opportunities, especially within minority groups, to build connections and really test the waters to see what’s important. It leaves the door open to endless possibilities.”


SOY Bowlathon opens up lanes for queer youth Supporting Our Youth (SOY) held its 20th annual SOY Bowlathon fundraiser on Saturday, October 19th. SOY’s dedicated community of supporters came together on the lanes, raising funds to OPEN up opportunities and pathways to health and wellbeing for LGBT2SQ youth.

Thank you to our Bowlathon participants and supporters of community members, staff, youth, volunteers, workplace teams and prize donors, for helping raise funds towards SOY and the healthcare needs of our local LGBT2SQ youth communities.

Over 85 participants and 15 teams joined at The Ballroom Bowl in downtown Toronto. Teams of youth, mentors, workplace colleagues, Sherbourne staff, physicians and friends of SOY showed remarkable support for our queer and trans youth communities, helping us raise a total of over $35,000! Attendees enjoyed a tailgate-style lunch buffet, groovy music, photobooth fun, and outstanding awards and prizes. Costumes bedazzled, strikes were celebrated, bowlers danced and positive vibes could be felt all around.

SOY family, friends, community members and staff enjoy a fabulous day of bowling at The Ballroom Bowl to raise funds for local LGBT2SQ youth.

‘A Night at the Theatre’ features mental health services and programming. Over 150 guests came together to highlight the importance of mental health supports in a pre-show reception, before being captivated by a breath-taking and emotional production of Dear Evan Hansen.

Sherbourne’s mental health counselling team connect with event guests about mental health and wellness supports offered at Sherbourne.

Many of our community members face serious barriers—experiences with homelessness, navigating the immigration system and barriers to health care can all impact one’s mental health. For youth especially, focused mental health supports are key to addressing these challenges. Caring for youth and young adults through a variety of supports, programs and groups is central to what we do at Sherbourne. On May 7th’s National Child and Youth Mental Health Day, we hosted our third ‘A Night at the Theatre’ for Sherbourne’s mental health


Attendees enjoyed gourmet appetizers, beverages and music, and interacted with our team of mental health counsellors to learn about Sherbourne’s role in supporting mental health and wellness for our communities. The event raised $20,000 towards our mental health and wellbeing programs and services. Additional support included corporate supporters Chicago Title Insurance Company Canada, Deloitte Canada, Dentons and Metro Toronto Convention Centre, and event sponsors Bell Let’s Talk, Aura by Cashew & Clive, and Meridian Credit Union. Thanks to our supporters, we can continue to provide vital and impactful mental health programming for our clients and service users, as they move along their paths to wellness.

St. James Town caterers serve up healthy, authentic fare with social impact Sherbourne’s Newcomer Health Team piloted the St. James Town Catering Collective, a social enterprise that seeks to promote healthy, diverse and delicious food from around the globe while benefiting local residents of the St. James Town community. The group offers catered services throughout Toronto that feature authentic meals from South Asia and other regions of the world. This pilot initiative, which began in late spring, runs on a peer-led model with an elected resident lead, Deeksha Gupta, and 15-20 newcomer residents from St. James Town. It is also supported by our Newcomer Health Team community dietitian Christina Tran.

organizations, including the St. James Town Service Providers’ Network, the St. James Town Community Corner (The Corner), and Women’s Health in Women’s Hands. Regular orders are also filled for Sherbourne’s Supporting Our Youth program, with meals prepared three times per week for its drop-in groups. The funds earned from customer orders are invested back into the Catering Collective to support the caterers and community. The initiative hopes to operate as a stand alone establishment in the future.

Many residents of the Catering Collective started as participants of Sherbourne’s health promotion and nutrition programs, and became known to have talented culinary skills. “We have keen peer leaders who are great at cooking,” says Christina. “They do it every day for their families, and the recipes are maintained from the cooks’ home countries.” Christina’s unique role is to bring a ‘nutrition lens’ to the dishes, while ensuring they remain culturally diverse and authentic. She educates and advises both caterers and customers on balanced meals, food allergies and dietary restrictions. “We’re often of the mindset that if food tastes good, it can’t be that healthy—like coffee, donuts and pizza,” says Christina. “This is true at many workplaces, where there are meetings and events. People buy what is easiest and they buy in bulk. The Catering Collective aims to change the food environment and culture of what’s available. We want to show that catered food can be healthy, tasty and affordable.” Since its rollout, the Catering Collective has seen a handful of regular orders per month from various community agencies, corporations and

The Corner’s lobby worker Munira enjoys a meal provided by the Catering Collective for the Newcomer Health Team retreat on October 24th.

“Newcomers and other marginalized groups face barriers to employment, and St. James Town residents also face large systemic challenges. The Catering Collective reinforces what can happen when we also take into consideration a community’s strengths. It’s been a pleasure working alongside the community residents, supporting them on something they naturally enjoy and are good at. They are able to utilize the Collective as source of employment, and the larger community also benefits from receiving authentic and healthier meals.” Christina Tran Community Dietitian Newcomer Health Team at Sherbourne


Hepatitis C festivities at Sherbourne Sherbourne Health’s Hepatitis (Hep) C Team works to provide community-based Hep C education, testing, treatment and support for people who have faced barriers accessing mainstream health care. Our staff collaborates with Regent Park Community Health Centre and South Riverdale Community Health Centre as part of the Toronto Community Hep C Program (TCHCP) to provide quality care for people living with Hep C. Over the summer, the TCHCP hosted a special event to mark this year’s annual World Hepatitis Day, and an Open House to bring awareness to the support offered by the Hep C team.

World Hepatitis Day

On July 26th, World Hepatitis Day celebrations took place at Sherbourne Health in the Great Hall. This annual event celebrated the work of the TCHCP and the strength and resilience of the Hep C community, and honoured those lost over the years. The TCHCP also launched its Peer Manual, a tool designed to share the TCHCP’s process for creating a peer program. The involvement of people with lived experience in the TCHCP model has been central to the program’s success, and the peer manual provides practical tips, strategies and resources for replicating this work. Guests enjoyed many festivities at the event, including a smudging ceremony to bring positivity and balance to the mind and body, inspirational stories shared by community members and staff on their experiences with the Hep C program, and colourful art by program participants displayed on the walls to highlight the occasion. Attendees continued the celebration outside with a community BBQ.

Sherbourne staff engage in a discussion about harm reducation and Hep C treatment and prevention at the August 8th Hep C Open House.

Hep C Open House

Sherbourne hosted a Hep C Open House on August 8th for Sherbourne employees to increase familiarity with the TCHCP. This internal event was an opportunity for staff throughout the organization to meet the Hep C Team, learn about the program and client care supports, and discuss how Hep C care and harm reduction can be integrated into other agency practices. The event also aimed to identify ways for mutual support and collaboration across Sherbourne. Staff enjoyed activities such as clinical conversations with Hep C treatment nurse Mary Guyton to learn about treatment options, research and how to talk about Hep C with clients. The Hep C team also educated staff on the role of harm reduction in treatment and prevention, how lived experience plays a key role in Sherbourne’s programming, the truth behind Hep C myths and effective treatment and support, and how best to support clients. The Open House allowed staff to feel more knowledgeable about the TCHCP and the Hep C supports available to clients. Since then, the Diabetes Team has presented information on diabetes care, services and support at all three TCHCP partner site treatment groups.

“A central component of the Hep C program is community-building through health care. The TCHCP succeeds in creating a strong community of people who find meaningful, supportive relationships through their involvement in the program. Events like World Hep Day are opportunities to bring that community to the forefront and honour the Hep C community’s work.”


Amanda Leo, Hep C Community Coordinator, Sherbourne Health

Clinic opens up access for HIV-related care On August 12th, in collaboration with community agency partners, Sherbourne Health opened the Blue Door Clinic to help improve the health of people living with HIV/AIDS. This walk-in clinic serves those who have limited or no health insurance, or no immigration status in Canada, and who face barriers to accessing HIV health care and social supports.

connections to ongoing medical care (such as a family doctor) and community and social supports.

The clinic operates out of the Regent Park Community Health Centre on Mondays, for two half-day clinics each month. Doctors, nurses, peer navigators and community resource workers provide short-term medical care for HIV treatment, community support and assistance, and referrals to coordinated ongoing care.

Co-partners of this initiative include the Committee for Accessible AIDS Treatment, Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention, Casey House, Centre for Spanish Speaking Peoples, Hassle Free Clinic, Ontario HIV Treatment Network, Parkdale Queen West Community Health Centre, Regent Park Community Health Centre and Toronto People With AIDS Foundation.

Services include blood tests and lab costs, vaccines and immunizations, connections to medication access programs, support with navigating local community services, and

To date, the Blue Door Clinic has seen 30 unique clients over a total of 55 client visits, nine of whom are newly diagnosed. Ten clients have also been connected to ongoing primary care in the community.

For more information on the Blue Door Clinic contact 647-730-3222.

Sherbourne’s nurses recognized for excellence in nursing education & scholarship practice, and this award publicly acknowledges the essential contributions that a nurse in this role makes to professional nursing education.

[From left] Jeff Reinhart and Laura Sparrow, 2019 Preceptor Recognition Award winners and registered nurses at Sherbourne Health.

Jeff Reinhart and Laura Sparrow, registered nurses on Sherbourne’s LGBT2SQ Health Team, are recipients of the 2019 Preceptor Recognition Award from the Council of Ontario University Programs in Nursing (COUPN).

Both Jeff and Laura received this distinguished honour for their dedication to teaching and being outstanding professional role models in primary care nursing. They mentor and educate students during placements at Sherbourne Health, and are committed to providing safe and supportive learning environments. Laura and Jeff show attentive care for student learning and wellbeing. They educate students on the importance of compassionate treatment, interprofessional collaboration, appropriate language and inclusive, nonjudgmental, gender-affirming care within the nursing profession

This award recognizes preceptors who have demonstrated outstanding performance in their role as a preceptor for a nursing student. The Registered Nurse preceptor is a positive Congratulations Jeff and Laura on this professional role model for excellence in nursing exceptional achievement!


Live on location! Health bus launches a new website with GPS tracking At Sherbourne’s June Annual General Meeting, we launched a new program-specific website for the Health Bus and Interprofessional Primary Care (IPC) program to enhance outreach and communication with clients and agency partners. The website,, features real-time schedule updates, a GPS tracker of the bus’s live location, a ‘meet the team’ function showing the services at each stop, and a virtual tour of the bus. To support client interactions, newly designed postcards and appointment cards were also developed as informational handouts. “Giving real-time information to clients about schedule changes and program updates is what

our communities have been wanting,” says Chantel Marshall, Program & Services Director, Urban Communities. “This site allows us to communicate that, and we’re thrilled to deliver this resource to enhance client care.”

SHERBOURNE IN THE NEWS Check it out: Sherbourne’s Health Bus and Moss Park IPC program are featured in the September issue of Canadian Healthcare Technology! Flip to page 18 to read the full article:

Looking ahead: register today for the RHO 2020 Conference in Niagara Falls From April 21st-23rd, 2020, join leading experts in LGBT2SQ health from across Canada at the Rainbow Health Ontario 2020 Conference: The Current (RHO 2020) in stunning Niagara Falls. With over 85 sessions and 200 speakers to choose from, attendees will be exposed to the leading edge of LGBT2SQ health practice, research, policy and systems. Dr. James Makokis will open RHO 2020 with his unique perspective on LGBT2SQ health and wellness as a Cree, Two-Spirit physician committed to gender-affirming care. Researcher, author and LGBT2SQ health advocate Zena Sharman, known for her award-winning book

Have feedback? We love hearing from you! Email

The Remedy: Queer and Trans Voices on Health and Health Care, will close out the conference. Attendees can opt to attend one of three fullday pre-conference training sessions. See conference program details and registration rates at Discounted early bird rates are on until January 17th.