Rexdale Community Health Centre
In a nation housing an immigrant population of almost 20%, it is imperative that there exists infrastructure designed to assist newcomers with an easy transition into Canadian society. This is the case socially, economically and medically. For the city of Toronto and her environs, enter Rexdale Community Health Centre (RCHC), helping to ease that transition of its diverse clients.
The Mission Statement of RCHC says succinctly, “The Rexdale Community Health Centre supports and advocates for the physical, economic, social and mental well being of its diverse community through primary health care, community social support, health promotion, collaborations and partnership, community development and social action.” To that end, RCHC spreads its policy of diversity to not only its clients, but also its staff.
With varied programs, many designed specifically for integration into the Canadian community, RCHC caters to every age group, from infants to senior citizens. The Centre offers a wide range of critical medical services along with community programs and social work advocacy. In conjunction with its many partners and through its satellite locations in Jamestown and Kipling, RCHC continues to be a bastion of hope.
The Centre’s services include, but are not limited to: Free Dental Service, in partnership with Toronto Public Health for children, high school students and seniors; Counselling/Support Programs, in partnership with Family Services Toronto Access Unit (SAU) for individuals, couples and families living in the City of Toronto; English As A Second Language, in partnership with the Toronto District School Board, offers a variety of English classes to adults who are residents of Canada or are applying for residency status.
The program provides language instruction, orientation to the community on available services, and academic preparation for further education. Part of being a Community Health Centre is ensuring that programs and services reflect and responds to the needs of the community. Rexdale is a large ethno-culturally diverse neighbourhood within the northwest corner of Toronto that many newcomers call home. Programs offered must address clients’ socioeconomic, physical and mental health concerns. Consequently, services must remove healthcare access barriers and promote the good health of clients.
One of RCHC’s programs that try to do that on a daily basis is the Mobile Diabetes Clinic (MDC). Housed within the Centre’s Diabetes Education Program, the first MDC was established in fall 2011. MDC is conducted in the communities where clients living with Type 2 Diabetes are, e.g. their apartment building, or at a pharmacy. It is run by a registered nurse and a registered dietitian. Whether it’s Diabetes Education, Physiotherapy, Primary Care or Speech and Language services, RCHC is equipped and ready to answer the call to service its community. The Centre’s 2011 – 2012 Annual Report states in a message from the Board Chair (Sandra Dietrich) & the Executive Director (Safia Ahmed), “We expanded our capacity through increased staffing complement, changed our processes and systems to enhance efficiency and improve quality of service.”
The message goes on to say that RCHC “forged new partnerships, increasing the number of offsite programs and clinics.” When integration is needed, the community knows that it can depend on RCHC to do what is necessary to get the job done. According to the Board Chair & the Executive Director, (2011 – 2012 Annual Report), RCHC is set to “embark on a new Strategic Planning Process.” It continues, “We will continue to mobilize our resources, engage our communities, and set bold goals which are aligned with the needs of our communities.” Keeping on its current path, RCHC is on track for the continued fulfillment of its Vision Statement: “Creating a healthy and empowered community!”