Community Collaboration Provides Seamless Service For A Vulnerable Population

Photography: David Campion

When you are destitute or homeless, good health requires much more than medical care. It can involve a combination of housing, food, addiction, fragile mental or emotional health issues. Negotiating the maze of clinics and agencies that provide help is daunting. In Kelowna, B.C., the frontline workers made a simple decision to solve this problem. They would meet for an hour once a week and collaborate to organize coordinated plans for their clients. The idea was simple and cost-effective, and the results have been impressive. In their first year, Partners in Community Collaboration (PICC) successfully helped 123 people move off the street and into new lives.

For more information on Partners in Community Collaboration, contact:

Address: The Outreach Urban Health Unit Interior Health, Central Okanagan Primary Health Care 455 Leon Ave., Kelowna, BC V1Y 6J4

Phone: (250) 868-2239

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A Small, Rural Community Rallies Behind Its Healthcare Team

Photography: Roger Lemoyne

Caledonia, Nova Scotia is a small but determined community in the North Queens region. Like other rural towns in Canada, they faced the dual challenges of finding and keeping healthcare practitioners. They had succeeded very well at the first. They had two fulltime doctors and a nurse practitioner, all deeply committed to working and living in the area. The care they provided had become integral to the quality of life in the community, but their working conditions were far from ideal. The doctors worked out of a renovated double-wide trailer and the nurse practitioner worked in a much smaller trailer next door that laced both heat and running water. People throughout the community of Caledonia rallied behind their healthcare team and built a new, state-of-the-art community healthcare centre.

For more information on North Queens Community Health Centre, contact:

Address: North Queens Community Health Centre 1058 Albany Road RR#2 Caledonia, NS B0T 1B0 Phone: 902-682-2662

Email: rbennett@ssdha.nshealth.ca JRafferty@ssdha.nshealth.ca

Visit http://northqueens.ednet.ns.ca/pages/medctr.html to learn more about the history of the North Queens Community Health Centre.

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Northern Family Medicine Program in Goose Bay

Photography: Roger Leymone

Dr. Michael Jong is the driving force behind Memorial University’s Northern Family Medicine (NorFam) program in Happy Valley-Goose Bay. The program’s intensive, hands-on teaching program and its skill at introducing students to life in a remote location have earned it high praise from graduates and have made Labrador one of the few fully staffed remote locations in the country when it comes to doctors.

For more information visit:

Website: http://www.med.mun.ca/FamilyMed/Residency/Map-of-Teaching-Sites/Goose-Bay-NorFam.aspx

Address: Health Labrador Corporation P.O. Box 7000, Station C Goose Bay, NL A0P 3C0

Phone: 709-897-2103

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Garden Hill Renal Health Unit

Photography: David Campion

The establishment of a renal dialysis unit within a half hour journey of the four First Nations communities clustered on Island Lake in north eastern Manitoba has made a substantial improvement in their quality of life. People dependent on dialysis no longer have to uproot their families and move to Winnipeg. They are reunited with their friends, support networks and the culture of their communities. Many are even able to return to work and move on with their lives. And as the Renal Health Unit proceeds with the education and prevention work it has planned with the communities, there is hope that future generations will enjoy better health.

To learn more:

Website: http://www.umanitoba.ca/faculties/medicine/units/northern_medical_unit

Address: University of Manitoba Winnipeg, MB R3T 2N2

Phone: 204-474-8880 1-800-432-1960 (within North America)

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Doctors Of The World In Canada – Filling The Gaps In Montreal’s Inner City

Photography: Roger Lemoyne

For more than 20 years Médecins du Monde has been providing medical care to refugees, street children and displaced persons around the world: people living in the midst of armed conflicts and victims of natural disasters, famines and epidemics. Photojournalist Roger Lemoyne has been covering international issues for more than a decade and has worked alongside Médecins du Monde in such places as Kosovo and Haiti. He was very surprised to hear Médecins du Monde was also providing care in his hometown of Montreal. He spent a day on the street with one of their nurses.

For more information on Médecins du Monde Canada visit: Website: http://www.medecinsdumonde.ca

Address: 338 rue Sherbrooke Est Montreal, QB H2X 1E6

Phone: 1-514-281-8998

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Choose to have fun

By John Huynh

My name is John, and I have Neurofibromatosis – Type 1.

At an early age my mother knew there was something different about me.

My family doctor knew I had NF but did not say anything because “nothing could be done about it”. Another doctor formally diagnosed me in 1987. Neurofibromatosis was a scary and unfamiliar word at the time and my mother was devastated.

School can be an unpleasant when you are different. I remember classmates calling me names such as “shit stain” and “lumpy neck”. I hated changing clothes in gym class because of my café-au-lait spots and remember going home in tears because of the teasing.

My mother treated me like a normal kid. I was allowed to go outside to play, and grounded when I did something wrong.

In high school the teasing subsided, except for one student who called me “bee stings” all year. I no longer cried, but it still hurt. In grade 11 we moved to the suburbs, a fresh start. I made new friends and started to fit in. All was well, or so I thought.

In May 1996, I started noticing pain when I walked. I lost my balance and fell unexpectedly. My friend laughed [...] continue the story

When It Doesn’t Make Sense

May 16, 2012

As doctors in training, we learn to think in patterns of symptoms and can often use “clinical judgement” to fit a patient’s presenting symptoms into a diagnosis. This generally works well, until we are presented with an unfamiliar pattern. For example, in the early 80’s I saw a 60 year old shoe salesman with fatigue and a low grade fever. He had general malaise and some muscle weakness. His exam and initial blood work was unrevealing except he was mildly anemic and his sed rate was elevated. A search for cancer and infection unrevealing. So my next thought was polymyalgia rheumatica, an autoimmune illness associated with inflammation of medium sized arteries. I sent him to a surgeon for a temporal artery biopsy which was negative.

About this time he started to get a cough and the chest X-Ray showed a hazy pattern of change. I knew the symptoms yet had not yet encountered HIV. He was one of the first cases in our State, but likely we had all missed the boat with similar patients. Our pattern thinking generally works clinically, but it isn’t a very good way to ferret out a new or unexpected disease. I never thought [...] continue the story

Tig Notaro and Breast Cancer

A message from Louis CK: Tig is a friend of mine and she is very funny.  I love her voice on stage.   One night I was performing at a club in LA called Largo.  Tig was there.   She was about to go on stage.   I hadn’t seen Tig in about a year and I said how are you?   She replied “well I found out today that I have cancer in both breasts and that it has likely spread to my lymph nodes.  My doctor says it looks real bad. “. She wasn’t kidding.  I said “uh.  Jesus.  Tig.  Well. Do you… Have your family… Helping?”. She said “well my mom was with me but a few weeks ago she fell down, hit her head and she died”.  She still wasn’t kidding.

Now, I’m pretty stupid to begin with, and I sure didn’t know what to say now.  I opened my mouth and this came out.  “Jeez, Tig.   I.   Really value you.  Highly.”.  She said “I value you highly too, Louie.”.  Then she held up a wad of note-paper in her hand and said “I’m gonna talk about all of it on stage now.  It’s probably going [...] continue the story

The Moth Presents Anthony Griffith: The Best of Times, The Worst of Times

A comic must earn his living as a clown while suffering the ultimate heartbreak.

Anthony Griffith lives in the mountains of California at 5,000 feet elevation in an animal protected community. It’s much different from the inner city of Chicago where he used to live, but he still travels doing stand-up. He says that the overwhelming positive response of him telling his story at The Moth has prompted him to write a one man show and pen other short stories now in development.

15 Minutes of Fame

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, well here’s mine. The only thing is that I’m already dead. My name is Durwin John Cadeau, I am 26 and I have ALS, Lou Gehrig’s disease. Maybe 15 minutes from now lots of people will have read this and my story will help make more people aware of ALS. I had a funny feeling from the first time I had a cramp in my leg that it was ALS. I remember telling my mom I had cramps and when I started limping on my right leg she would always say, “It can’t be ALS you’re only 26.” You see ALS runs in my family, my grandma, one of my aunts and two of my uncles all died from ALS. I also have an aunt living with ALS right now. My mom thought I was too young and I guess she was praying that I would not have it.

After seeing several different doctors in Timmins, and running lots of different tests, almost everything but ALS has been ruled out. I am scheduled for an appointment with an ALS specialist in southern Ontario who is the head of ALS [...] continue the story