Association of Ontario Health Centres 2013

Jun 11, 2013

Working Better Together!
Travaillons mieux, travaillons ensemble!
Ya Had to Be There

I imagine there are lots of good conferences on health care going on around this province – but it is difficult to imagine one that does such a remarkable job of mixing humour and gravitas, camaraderie and barb-exchanges, affirmation and challenge, national and local, history and future-driving cutting edge than this one.

Martha Chavez
Martha Chaves, la extraordinaria

The Association of Ontario Health Centres (AOHC) has done it again, putting Trish Hennessey (Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives’ [CCPA] ‘Income Inequality Project’) together (if on different days!) with Don Drummond (Ontario’s banker prophet of doom-without-austerity), Martha Chaves (Nicaraguan-Canadian comedian extraordinaria) with Susan Fitzpatrick (Assistant Deputy Minister [ADM] of Health and Long-Term Care [MOHLTC], responsible for staring down the Ontario Medical Association), PPT’s Teen Texting Service Award Recipients Helen Angus (ADM for the government’s admittedly health equity-weak Health Links initiative) and Angela Robertson (the sector’s newest Executive Director at Central Toronto CHCs and Health Equity guru).  Ya had to be there.

AOHC Conference Teen Texting Innovator Award

Where else do sector awards keep half a 600-strong room weepy-eyed for an hour on end?  Hersh Sehdev, Executive Director, Kingston CHCs, won the Joe Leonard Award for outstanding leadership in community health grounded in the social determinants of health.  The Health Equity award was shared between Davenport-Perth for their Surfing Tsunamis programme and Planned Parenthood Toronto’s (a CHC) Queering Sex Ed programme.  The Community Engagement award went to Pinecrest Queensway’s Safe People Project and the Innovator of the Year Award was collected by PPT’s Teen Texting Service (photo above left). The recipients of AOHC’s Media Award represented CBC’s Marketplace and its work on exposing hospital parking fees.  The award winners were, without exception, authentically moved by their win and passionate about their work.  Ya had to be there.

Board Member, Angela Recollet, Health Champion Award winner, Minister of Health & Long-Term Care, Deb Matthews, and AOHC ED, Adrianna Tetley

Workshop themes ran from the City of Guelph’s enthusiastic embrace of and development of action plans around the eight domains of the Canadian Index of Well-being to collaborative approaches to elder abuse intervention, supporting trans health access, rural health, food security, migrant worker health, a faith-based community approach to promoting awareness and prevention of diabetes and HIV-AIDS to ‘Developing Resiliency in the ‘BS-Free Zone’!

The BODY of Health Equity

My workshop focussed on the ‘BODY of Health Equity’ – the HEAD of knowledge and information, the HEART of attitude change and the FEET of capacity-building and action.  In an hour and a half 50(!) participants got a bit of each, a sampling of the three modules that make up the body map to comprehensive health equity.  The workshop was truly interactive, kinaesthetic and experiential, with participants on their feet, moving, laughing, debating and pushing one another into new ways of thinking about what it means to place oneself and one’s centre/team/clinic on a pathway towards health equity.

Together with AOHC, we will be offering these trainings across the province, one-on-one with member centres or regionally over the next year.  With the sector’s embrace of and commitment to the 2012 Health Equity Charter, these trainings (board and staff streams) provide a way to get centres up to speed and on track with health equity.

For more information about the trainings and to register your interest in hosting a training – both Staff and Streams – click here.


Muslim-Christian Trainings
Mindanao / Philippines Conflict Transformation
San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico
Sudan third party non-violence intervention