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Health Promotion in Northern Ontario

A. Introduction

As described in previous issues of the OHPE - the Ontario Prevention Clearinghouse is travelling to a number of communities across Ontario doing forums ["Keeping Health Promotion on the Public Agenda"] and/or workshops [Collaboration, Scenario Planning, Resource Networking]. This week we were in Thunder Bay, Dryden and Timmins with the half day forums and Timmins had another day for the workshops. In travelling to these and other communities it has been our intention to learn about

the diversity, successes and developments of health promotion activities across many different sectors and interests; and to find ways that we can share these stories with others. My greatest impression from these northern visits was one of respect, astonishment and excitement about the wealth of activity going on in Thunder Bay, the northwest region and in Timmins. A tremendous amount of work is being done by relatively few people, working very effectively together in coalitions and alliances, with remarkably few resources. As we have just returned, the following description of programs and activities is a very quick overview of a small number of the initiatives. Many of the articles and briefs about activities in Thunder Bay have been, for the most part, drawn from the on-line resources of the Thunder Bay Source [and Post} at http://www.tbsource,com which is a daily electronic

newsmagazine; and from the Thunder Bay Health Unit web site at . Other items have come from flyers, reports from colleagues and notes from other sources (like the Tobacco Free Times), and were told to us at these forums.

I am looking forward to sharing more of the stories and resources of many more health promotion activities in northern Ontario. Your contributions and suggestions are always welcome. Next week will include a look at the heart health programs in northern Ontario and news about women's centres and women's health.

Alison Stirling [[email protected]]


1. Women's Health Fair - February 28 Thunder Bay 12 noon - 4:30 pm

"Risk Factors - A Fresh Look - panel presentation"

1:00 pm - 4:00 pm Lakehead U. Upper Lecture Theatre

Open to the Public - Free Admission to the Fair - Five Dollars for Panel Presentation

For information call: (807) 344-0088; (807) 344-5433; (807) 625-5918

Presented by: Thunder Bay Breast Health Coalition & Women's Studies Program Lakehead University

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2. "Show a little love for yourself, women over 50"

The Northwestern Ontario Breast Screening Program

[from Thunder Bay Post]

NWOBSP is encouraging women 50 and over to show a little love for themselves this Valentines. Women aged 50 and over are at an increased risk for breast cancer. Early detection is important to make sure it can be treated properly. The sooner the tumor is noticed, the better the survival chances.

To date, more than 21,000 women have been screened at the NWOBSP.

Only the NWOBSP provides specialized comprehensive breast screening to women 50 and over. This includes mammograms, a breast examination and how to do a breast self-examination. The vast majority of women have normal results. This service is free of charge.

To find out more, contact: Heather Woodbeck, Regional Administrator

Northwestern Ontario Breast Screening Program

68 North Algoma Street, Thunder Bay P7A 4Z3

Tel: (807) 343-1690. Fax (807) 345-6602


3. Working towards a smoke-free Thunder Bay

Dawna MacIvor, Thunder Bay Post Thurs. Feb. 5, 1998

One day, the non-smokers will have a little more clean air to breathe.

Coalition of Tobacco-Free Thunder Bay is looking at progress made over two years in helping to raise people's awareness about second-hand smoke, and plan where they will go next over the next few months.

Moderated by Lorraine Fung, community support coordinator for the Council for a Tobacco Free Ontario, the group discussed their options.

"The members of the group are very interested in going back to city council and working with city council for an improved clean air bylaw," says Simon Hoad.

Looking at the bylaws established by cities like Hamilton, Toronto and Peterborough, they are looking at concerns brought up and are working to develop a flexible bylaw they can present to council in the spring.

"What we're going to suggest is a compromise that gives a lot more choice to the facility owner, and we're looking to the model that has just passed municipal plebiscite in the city of Hamilton," says Hoad. "It has expanded areas for smokers up to a certain maximum limit if that's what the owner wants to do."

Members of the community are invited to support the coalition. Patronize the establishments that are smoke-free. Remind city council that members of the public are interested in smoke-free spaces. Having clean air to breathe is important to all of us.

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From Tobacco-Free Times:

Special Award Given to Tobacco-Free Thunder Bay

Tobacco-Free Thunder Bay was a recent recipient of the International Association of Business Communicators 1997 Silver Leaf Award of Merit in the Category: Community Relations/Investor Relations for its Getting Active About Smoking Passively aka the G.A.A.S.P. campaign. There were only two Awards granted by the judges in this important Canadian program. This 18-24 month community mobilization project focused on second-hand smoke. Congratulations on this very special honour go to: Karen Skochinski, Project Coordinator; Simon Hoad, Project Liaison and Sandy Korkola, for design work. Simon is a Community Consultant for the Program Training and Consultation Centre.

If you would like to learn more about GAASP or about applying concepts from the GAASP experience to your own community, contact the PTCC at 1-800-363-7822 and ask for an on-site consultation. The PTCC offers this service to communities at no charge to them.

by Alwyn Robertson, Executive Director CTFO

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4. How to help end child hunger

Kirsti MacDonald Thunder Bay Post Thurs. Feb. 12

A child going hungry is something no one wants to see happen, yet an area food bank is reporting an increase in just that.

The Thunder Bay Coalition Against Poverty (T-CAP) Food Bank has seen 281 more children this year than last year at the same time. In response to these startling statistics, they are asking people to Give From the Heart, a campaign running Feb. 14 to March 14.

Food security worker Christine Scheibler says they are looking for infant food due to the increase of children they are seeing. Since the beginning of the food bank, they have not purchased food special to infants, relying on donations. Scheibler says they encourage women to breastfeed, but recognizing this is not always possible, they are now looking to help feed these babies.

Contact: Thunder Bay Coalition Against Poverty

25 Front Street, Thunder Bay, ON P7A 7W7

Tel: (807) 343-4760 Fax: (807) 343-7902

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5. Community Kitchens

The local Community Kitchen Coordinator helps Thunder Bay (and district) residents in many ways - finding a kitchen to join or to start a community kitchen, finding a leader, recruiting participants and finding community partners. Through the coordinator, there is information on starting a kitchen, recipes, food safety tips and leader training workshops.

Promotion of Community Kitchens is a project of the Thunder Bay Food Action Network, with the support of the Government of Ontario through the Community Partners Program of the Canadian Living Foundation, and is sponsored locally by the Thunder Bay District Health Unit.

To find out more about Community Kitchens contact:

Community Kitchen Coordiantor

c/o Thunder Bay District Health Unit

999 Balmoral Street, Thunder Bay ON P7B 6E7

Tel: (807) 625-5968 Fax (807) 623-2369

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6. Health and safety survey

Statistics Canada will be conducting a survey on Feb. 16-18 on behalf of the Thunder Bay District Health Unit. They will be collecting information on attitudes towards a number of health related issues

including snowmobile and boating safety, sunburns and exposure to second-hand smoke.

This information will be obtained during telephone interviews of residents of the city of Thunder Bay and will assist the Health Unit in developing health and safety protection programs.

The survey is being conducted under the provisions of the Statistics Act that ensures that all individual responses remain strictly confidential.

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Men's Health in Northwestern Ontario

Men as a group die ealier than the general population. Does anyone care? A group of men in Northwestern Ontario care. During the month of February the Northwestern Health Unit is holding a series of focus groups on men's wellness. The information collected from the focus groups held in Fort Frances, Atikokan, Dryden, Kenora, Sioux Lookout, Red Lake, and on Wawatay Radio will be brought by participants to a

2 day workshop in Eagle Lake on Feb. 20/21 1998. 25 men will gather to identify men's wellness issues and develp actions to support men's wellness in the Kenora/Rainy River District.

For More information contact

Bob Jeffery , Health Planner, Northwestern Health Unit

[email protected]

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Rainy River District Receives Designation as a Safe Community

The Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition has joined the Safe Communities Foundation network. The Rainy River District joins Lambton County, Smiths Falls, Kingston, Peterborough, Waterloo and Brockville as the seventh community in Ontario to participate in the Safe Communities Foundation network.

The Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition, made up of local representatives from public health units, fire and police departments, local businesses, service clubs and health organizations, developed a

business plan that outlines the establishment of a distinct safety resource centre that will contribute to the identification, collection and distribution of injury data. The business plan also outlines innovative health and safety initiatives in areas such as small business workplaces, farms, playgrounds and support to the elderly.

The Safe Communities Foundation works in partnership with the private and public sectors to improve the health and safety of workers and people throughout the community. The goal of the Safe Communities Foundation and the Rainy River Valley Safety Coalition is to eliminate injuries, while promoting a culture of safety across the country. (see Communities)

or the Rainy River Safety Coalition web-site

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1. Withdrawal Management Services

This collaboration began as an initiative by Smooth Rock Detoxication Centre and Addiction Research Foundation with strong support from the DHC. They formed a coalition which included the Chamber of Commerce (they had the lead). They received a 3 year grant from the Trillium Foundation. It operates out of South Cochrane Addiction Services. The focus is detox services in the home. As a result, they are able to target detox services to women who can not access such services at the centre because of family responsibiliites. It has been very successful. The concept for the Withdrawal Management Services is to provide a mobile service to help people manage their detoxiification in their home environment. It relies a great deal on a strong volunteer network. Currently, they are preparing a "how to" manual for other communities who are interested in developing a similar initiative.

Contact Joanne Bezzubetz, Cochrane Detoxification Centre, 705-338-2761

2. Diabetes Information Services

There are six agencies working closely together (VON, the Health Unit, Timmins and District Hospital, Wabun Tribal Council, Timmins Chapter - Canadian Diabetes Association and Misiway Eninuk Community Health Centre. They secured funding from the Northern Diabetes Health Network.

The Diabetes Information Services provides a wide range of services out of the local mall - group classes, individual counseling, community awareness, and insulin start-ups (they have over 1,000 clients). The interesting aspect is that all of the staff are seconded from the various agencies - the nurse and receptionist from VON, the dietitian from the Health Unit, the Native Educator from the CHC. The staff work together out of the mall location but are still members of their respective organizations. This service was a "change lab" for the International Health Management Conference that McMaster organized a couple of years ago. The Diabetes Information Services is now 4 years old.

Contact either Mary Gardner, VON, 705-267-8444 or Betty Ann Horbul, Porcupine Health Unit, 705-267-1181.