The Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre is so happy to have joined the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table. It is clear that OLIP cares about immigrants and refugees and…

Wendy Tang, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
The City of Ottawa will continue to play a lead role in the implementation of the Ottawa Immigration Strategy, just as we did in the founding of OLIP.

Steve Desroches
City Councillor and Deputy Mayor of Ottawa
The target beneficiary of the work of OLIP is the whole community. In this short period we have planted together important seeds for Ottawa’s development.   

Dick Stewart
OLIP Council Chair
Canada has been shaped by people who came from all over the world to build this country. Welcoming Ottawa Week offers a platform for Ottawa residents to celebrate both this…

Alex Munter, Chair of the OLIP Council and President and CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and Ottawa Children’s Treatment Centre
All the WOW events that I went to were great – WOW does give a sense of a community trying to improve its attraction and retention!

Caroline Andrew
Professor, University of Ottawa
Welcoming Ottawa Week is wonderful platform to demonstrate our city’s longstanding openness to immigration and commitment to supporting newcomers’ successful integration. …

Jim Watson, Mayor of Ottawa
In our city’s history, immigrants have always played an important role. They build our economic prosperity, diversify our culture, contribute to our social vitality.

Jim Watson
Mayor of Ottawa
I’m really impressed with the level of energy and commitment around the Health and Wellbeing table and look forward to continuing collaboration between OLIP and OPH.

Marcela Tapia
Ottawa Public Health
My nomination is an indication that our hard work in building Canada is recognized. All we do is to serve the community in return for embracing us when we needed it.  

Mehdi Mahdavi
Ottawa Immigrant Entrepreneurship Awards Nominee
I was happy to see integration to Algonquin territory and indigenous culture related programming in 2014 WOW. Please continue to involve local Aboriginal organisations and…

Linda Manning
WOW 2014 participant, Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa

Sector Table: Health & Wellbeing

The Health and Wellbeing Sector Table works to improve physical and mental health outcomes for immigrants and refugees in Ottawa. Current initiatives focus on innovative service provision to ensure equity in health outcomes, including preventive measures through health literacy capacity-building and capitalizing on the unique knowledge and community relationships of immigrant lay health workers. Partners also aim to counteract immigrants’ deteriorating health status after their initial arrival in Canada, a trend that is well-documented. The overarching objective is to ensure that the right person is offering the right services in the right place.

Priorities and Collaborative Initiatives

Priority #1: Improve immigrants’ and refugees’ access to health services, including those related to mental health, disease prevention, and health promotion.

Collaborative initiatives in this priority area include:

The Ottawa Newcomer Clinic

Refugees arriving in Ottawa benefit from the Ottawa Newcomer Clinic (previously called Wellness Centre), which is a medical centre funded by the Champlain Local Health Network (LHIN). The clinic receives $100,000 annually to improve the quality of specialized health services for refugees. As an ancillary benefit, the clinic is expected to reduce avoidable emergency room visits and stress on the health system. The Centre is operated in partnership with the Somerset West Health and Resource Centre and the Catholic Centre for Immigrants.

Priority #2: Enhance health literacy among immigrants, refugees, and the agencies that serve them in areas related to primary health care, disease prevention, health protection and promotion, and navigation of the health care system.

Collaborative initiatives in this priority area include:

Developing health skills and health smarts among immigrants
The Health Skills Health Smarts program addresses one of immigrants’ most pressing healthcare needs: health literacy and the ability to navigate the healthcare system. Settlement workers are trained to provide key health information to newcomers, including where and when to find community health services and medical practitioners, how and when to go to the hospital or call emergency services, as well as managing health through nutrition and physical activity. Resource materials and manuals are developed to support frontline staff in their work. Ottawa Public Health and the Catholic Centre for Immigration are the lead partners. Other partners include local settlement agencies, Community Health Centres, and Community Resource Centres.

Champlain Diabetes SCREEN Project
SCREEN is a collaborative community education and engagement initiative that provides screenings and health education to manage the risk of Type 2 diabetes in highly susceptible communities, including South Asian, Nepalese, Somali, and Ibero-American. Run through a partnership between the Centertown Community Health Centre (CCHC), Champlain Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA), and the Catholic Centre for Immigrants, this initiative provides training to representatives from each ethnic community who act as liaisons and help customize screening models to meet individual community needs. This initiative is a promising practice that could be scaled up to other cities. Click to view a video on the Champlain Diabetes SCREEN Project.  The Lead partners are the Centretown Community Health Centre and Champlain Local Health Integration Network. For more information, please contact Pierre Boulay, Lead of Diabetes-Vascular Health, Champlain LHIN: Pierre.Boulay@LHINS.ON.CA

Priority #3: Strengthen the intercultural competency of health care providers and workers and diversify human resources in the health sector.

Collaborative initiatives in this priority area include:

Health Advocacy for Refugees Program
The Health Advocacy for Refugees Program (HARP) is a collaboration between the OLIP, the Wellness Centre, and the Elisabeth Bruyère Research Institute in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Under the supervision of a family physician, medical students work with refugee clients at the Reception House and Wellness Centre and are provided with an introduction to global health and cultural competency. The aim is to train future family physicians to handle cultural issues and work with under-serviced populations in primary care. The lead partners are the Elisabeth Bruyère Research Institute in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and the Wellness Centre at the Catholic Centre for Immigrants. For more information, please contact Kevin Pottie, MD, CCFP, MCISc, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa:

OLIP Partners at the Health and Wellbeing Sector Table


Organizational Affiliation

Leslie McDiarmid Former Executive Director, Southeast Ottawa Community Health Centre, Co-chair of the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table
Elaine Medline Director of Communications, Champlain Local Health Integration Network, Co-chair of the OLIP Health and Wellbeing Sector Table
  Ben Leikin Supervisor, Mental Health, Ottawa Public Health
Dr. Denise Spitzer Canada Research Chair in Gender, Migration and Health, Department of Women’s Studies, University of Ottawa
Dr. Josephine Etowa Associate Professor, School of Nursing/École des sciences Infirmières, University of Ottawa
Dr. Kevin Pottie MD, Champlain Immigrant Health Network/Institute of Population Health, University of Ottawa
Dr. Doug Grüner MD, Department of Family Medicine, University of Ottawa
Jacinthe Desaulniers Executive Director, Réseau des Services de Santé en Français de l’Est de l’Ontario
Bonita Varga Knowledge Broker, Knowledge Exchange Centre, Mental Health Commission of Canada
Armand Kayolo Social Program Manager, Rideau Rockliffe Community Resource Centre
Ghassan Arabieh Mental Health Counsellor, Settlement Department, Catholic Centre for Immigrants
Siffan Rahman Manager, The Ottawa Newcomer Clinic, Somerset West Community Health Centre
Hodan Aden Public Health Nurse and Team lead for Multicultural and Newcomer Mental Health, Ottawa Public Health
Lucila Cabrera Manager, Catholic Centre for Immigrants
Mark Zarecki Executive Director, Jewish Family Services of Ottawa
Hector Addison Community Developer, African and Caribbean Health Initiative, Somerset West Community Health Centre
Entisar Yusuf Community Chronic Disease Coordinator, Centretown Community Health Centre
Dr. Azaad Kassam Queensway Carleton Hospital
Department of Psychiatry | Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Ottawa University
Dr. Khalid Bazaid MD, FRCPC, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Mental Health Patient Service Unit, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
Anca Kimel M.S.W, RSW, Professional Practice Leader and Co-Ordinator for the Discipline of Social Work, The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
Michelle James Job Developer, Career Transitions for International Medical Doctors and Health Professionals, Catholic Centre for Immigrants
Naini Cloutier Executive Director, Somerset West Community Health Centre
Leslie Emory Executive Director, Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization
Karen White Jones Manager and Clinical Supervisor, Ottawa Community Immigrant Services Organization
Wendy Tang Project Coordinator, Ottawa Chinese Community Service Centre
St Phard Desir Executive Director, Conseil Économique et Social d’Ottawa Carleton
Marcela Tapia Officer Program Development, Ottawa Public Health