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News from the Field, Summer 2008

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I News from Community Action

Community Action distributed the last issue of its long-standing newsletter on May 22, 2008. In a message sent to all subscribers in June 2008, Community Action announced that after 23 years, its newsletter will no longer be published in print format. The decision was made due to rising costs and declining advertising revenues. Community Action continues to provide news and information on health and social services through its website, http://www.communityaction.ca.  

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II News from Health Nexus Santé

There has been much activity recently at Health Nexus! On June 30, 2008, Connie Clement, Executive Director, embarked on a much-deserved six month leave of absence. During this period, Barb Willet is serving as Acting Executive Director and Wendy Burgoyne is the Best Start Lead, taking on the management of the Best Start Resource Centre. Connie returns January 2009.            

Health Nexus is pleased to announce the addition of Ronald Dieleman as Bilingual Administrative Assistant. Ronald has a rich and varied work experience, having worked in the areas of education, administration and client services with different organizations and corporations and been involved in community based groups in Haiti.

Health Nexus has also said goodbye to several staff:

  • Eden Dagan-Labisig, Bilingual Administrative Assistant, resigned in May to join a pharmaceutical company.
  • Sue Weststrate, Health Promotion Consultant, resigned in July and is taking time for extensive travel.
  • Ritu Sharma, Intranet Facilitator, resigned in July to take on the position of IT Manager with the Association for Women's Rights in Development.
  • Pieter Huisman, General Manager, resigned in July to join the AIDS Committee of Toronto as Director of Operations.

We thank each of them for their contribution to Health Nexus and wish them all the best!

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III New Initiative from the Ontario Peer Development Initiative

The Ontario Peer Development Initiative (OPDI) will train 200 Ontarians with the lived experience of mental health issues to assist others in their recovery, thanks to a $196,200 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. This two-year project will also develop a made-in-Ontario peer support training toolkit that can be shared with consumer/survivor initiatives (CSIs) across the province. While several CSIs in the province have initiated their own peer training courses and manuals, most have no consistent processes. Through this project, OPDI will bring together the most effective practices to create a train-the-trainer program that all Ontario peer-run organizations can access.

 "In researched studies and pilot projects, peer support has saved many millions of dollars through shortened hospital stays and reduced readmissions, and has improved the lives of people with serious mental illness in many ways", says Deborrah Sherman, Executive Director of OPDI. "Peer supporters assist individuals by reducing their social isolation, by modeling their own recovery, and by sharing their own successful coping skills to reduce symptom distress, navigate the mental health system, and deal with everyday life as well as mental health crises."

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IV News from the Ontario Public Health Association

The Ontario Public Health Association (OPHA) wishes Susan Sperling a successful career as a newly appointed Senior Public Affairs Advisor for Toronto Western Hospital. Susan resigned as OPHA's Communication and Public Relations Officer this August after a year-long leave of absence from OPHA to work as Media Relations Coordinator for Toronto Public Health. Susan helped shape the communications officer portfolio at OPHA and became an important resource to the advocacy committee. She initiated OPHA's monthly E-Bulletin and took an active role in planning two OPHA Annual Conferences.

OPHA welcomes Garth Hardie as Communications, Government and Media Relations Officer. Garth has spent the last year on contract at OPHA in the Communications role. He has created Public Health Today magazine to augment OPHA's outreach to external stakeholders and is managing OPHA's current re-branding exercise and planning for OPHA's 60th anniversary celebrations in 2009.

Dayna Albert, Acting Manager of the Towards Evidence Informed Practice (TEIP) program at OPHA welcomes Christine Herrera as its new Program Coordinator. Christine started her career at OPHA as an intern with the Heart Health Resource Centre earlier this year. She will begin her new role in September 2008 after recently completing her MPH at University of Waterloo.

Pam Kinzie, Acting Manager of the Heart Health Resource Centre (HHRC) is delighted to announce Adele Parkinson's secondment with HHRC as Program Coordinator, Consultation and Coaching until December 31. Adele is "on loan" from Region of Waterloo Public Health where she is a Public Health Planner. She was recently a Heart Health Coordinator there.

In addition, Rebecca Byers will begin a full-time position with HHRC as Program Coordinator. Most recently, Rebecca also came from Region of Waterloo Public Health. Previously an independent health promotion consultant, her clients included public health departments and numerous NGO's in the health promotion sector. Prior to that, Rebecca was an Evaluation Coordinator for the Centre for Behavioural Research & Program Evaluation at the University of Waterloo.

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V Announcement from the Ontario Stroke Network

The Ontario Stroke Network (OSN) is pleased to announce that Mark Bayley, member of the OSN Provincial Coordinating Council and Champion for Evaluation, has accepted the position of Chair of the Stroke Evaluation Advisory Committee (SEAC). The current mandate of SEAC is to provide guidance and expertise in developing a system to monitor and evaluate the progress of the Ontario Stroke System at the provincial, regional, organizational and patient care levels.

Mark is the Medical Director, Neuro Rehabilitation Program at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Associate Professor, Division of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Mark has been involved in the Ontario Stroke System in many capacities including working on development of an evaluation framework for the stroke rehabilitation system that involved utilizing data from the Canadian Institute of Health Information database for Ontario stroke rehabilitation centres and involvement on the Toronto West Stroke Network Regional Steering Committee.

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VI Ontario Women's Health Network Changes Provincial Director

Tekla Hendrickson has left her role of Provincial Director of the Ontario Women's Health Network (OWHN). Tekla's contributions and leadership over the past five years has enabled women and organizations across this province to find a voice and be part of meaningful research - specifically through her facilitation of the inclusion research model. Tekla's self-initiative had her constantly seeking opportunities to explore issues affecting women, particularly marginalized women.

OWHN's new Provincial Director is Julie Maher. Julie brings over 15 years of experience in the not-for-profit sector, including work as Education Coordinator for the Asthma Society of Canada, Health Centre Administrator at Evergreen Centre for Street Youth and Coordinator of Young Parents No Fixed Address (a network of agencies working with pregnant or parenting youth who are homeless or at risk). Julie is a nurse with a real interest in helping to ensure that all women's voices are heard. The OWHN is excited to have Julie working with us, and welcomes her warmly!

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VII Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership's Practice Facilitators

The Quality Improvement and Innovation Partnership (QIIP), formerly the Quality Management Collaborative, was established and funded by the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care in January of 2007 to support Ontario's family health teams (FHTs). Between May 2008 and June 2010, QIIP is organizing three Learning Collaboratives for FHTs and community health centres. These Collaboratives bring together quality improvement teams from different FHTs to learn with and from each other in four 2-day learning sessions over a 12 to 15 month period. Visit www.qiip.ca for more details on these Learning Collaboratives.

QIIP has hired Practice Facilitators to assist FHTs with their quality improvement work. The Practice Facilitators support the FHTs and their quality improvement teams to: improve health care for people with chronic diseases; improve delivery of preventive care; improve access to care and office efficiency; and increase the effective use of interdisciplinary teams. These Practice Facilitators are:

  • Cheryl Chapman
  • Nancy Dahmer
  • Dora-Lynn Davies
  • Maria Ferguson
  • Tracy Howson
  • Liz Jackson
  • Michele Mach
  • Trish O'Brien
  • Karen Palmer
  • Tanya Spencer
  • Alice Strachan
  • Tricia Wilkerson

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VIII ThinkFirst Foundation of Canada Announces Appointment of New Executive Director
Rebecca Nesdale-Tucker joins ThinkFirst Canada as Executive Director. Rebecca brings 10 years of experience of prevention work to ThinkFirst. Her previous experience has included policy and program development with federal and provincial governments as well as health research for the Central West Health Planning Information Network.

Most recently, Rebecca managed all aspects of public policy, advocacy and government relations for Safe Kids Canada. Working with valued partners, Rebecca has spent the last six years advocating for changes to policy, standards and legislation to keep children and youth safe where they live, play, learn and as they travel. Her leadership has included advocating for municipal, provincial and federal government action and investment on proven prevention including booster seat, ATV, helmet and pool fencing laws, updates to Canada's product safety laws and upgrades to national playground standards.

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IX SMARTRISK  Welcomes New CEO

SMARTRISK is pleased to announce the appointment of Bob Baker to the position of President and CEO of SMARTRISK.  Bob started on August 5. Please visit  http://www.oninjuryresources.ca/home/smartrisk_welcomes_new_ceo.html#morebackground for more details of Bob's background.

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X People on the Move from CharityVillage

  • Larry Gemmel has been appointed Director of the Canadian Alliance for Community Service-Learning, based at Carleton University in Ottawa.
  • Dr. John Challis has been appointed President and CEO of the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. Previously, he was Vice President, research and Associate Provost at the University of Toronto.
  • Jolanta Scott-Parker has joined the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health as Executive Director.
  • Lisa Hartford, ABC, has joined the Arthritis Society as Communications Manager, Ontario division.

For more people on the move in the not-for-profit sector, visit http://charityvillage.com/cv/news/people.html.

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XI Additional News

  • Bob Walsh has been named interim Executive Director of the Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance of Canada (CDPAC).
  • Kim Hodgson is moving on from her role as Senior Community Engagement Consultant at the Waterloo-Wellington LHIN to venture into consulting.