Pictured here: New learning experiences happening at the School of Global Health.
York University joins Ontario Health Team
By Elaine Smith
As a leading academic institution with a strong commitment to social justice and experiential education, York University is bringing its expertise to the Western York Region Ontario Health Team (OHT).
Ontario Health Teams are committed groups of providers and organizations established by the Ontario provincial government to deliver a full and co-ordinated continuum of care to target populations.
The Western York Region OHT serves Vaughan, Richmond Hill and King – all suburban areas close to York University’s Keele campus. These areas have a high concentration of new Canadians, racialized residents and families without a primary care doctor.
To bridge this gap in care, York is collaborating with partners on a proposal to the Ontario government to establish a family health team (FHT) to provide wraparound support to those without a family physician in the OHT’s service area. The family health team would include family physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, social workers, dietitians, and other professionals who would serve this community.
Lisa Philipps, York University’s Provost and Vice-President Academic notes that, “Canadian universities have a central role to play in re-building health care in Canada.”
“This proposal is an excellent example of how we are creating positive change by working to support underserved populations and strengthening access to care for more Ontarians,” says Philipps.
Through this partnership, students will have important new practicum opportunities and researchers will be able to collaborate. At the same time, providers can gain from the skills of students and the high-impact work of researchers from York University’s many health- and community-related programs.
Research published in Feb. 2023 shows that nearly 15 per cent of Ontario’s population – 2.2 million people – do not have a family doctor. The Family Health Team proposal would provide care and guidance to address key areas from nutrition to reproductive and mental health.
York University currently offers leading nursing and clinical nurse practitioner programs, social work, health technology, kinesiology, health policy and management, clinical psychology, disease modelling and health informatics, as well as physical therapy programming.
“Research has found that health care students are more likely to stay and work in the areas where they do their practicum. This means that it’s a big win for the people of the region to have our students gain experience in York University’s catchment, whether through this OHT or the proposed Family Health Team,” says Philipps.
As a member of the OHT, York University sits at the leadership table alongside Mackenzie Health (an acute care provider), Reena (serving individuals with developmental disabilities), Hospice Vaughan, and the Alzheimer’s Society of York Region, among others.
Through participation in this OHT and joint leadership on the Family Health Team proposal, York is demonstrating how positive change can begin through community partnerships.
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