Tag Archives: Healthcare

Health Literacy

The following post was written by Kelsey Franklin, our Summer Student working in the Communications Department as a Fundraising Assistant.

I went to El Salvador a couple years ago without knowing a word of Spanish. I was terrified that the language barrier would hinder my trip, so I quickly made friends with the locals. However, I soon realized that language was the least pressing border I would face. It was the unfamiliar culture, jargon and norms that were the most difficult to grasp. Though I had an amazing experience, I can only imagine what my trip would have been without my El Salvadorian friends. From translating the menu, to attempting to explain the various cultural events we attended, I realized literacy extends much further than language. Continue reading Health Literacy


Access Alliance, Then and Now: 25 Years at a Glance

Report insert - 25th anniversary timeline1 - Copy
First clinical meeting at Access Alliance, 1989

Over 25 years ago, a group of dedicated community members, all newcomers to Canada, got together to address concerns they shared.  Here is the journey of Access Alliance from then to now; 25 years of achieving health with dignity.


1989 – Access Alliance Multicultural Community Health Centre opens

1990 – Interpreter Services begins providing interpreters

1991 – Service model is initiated to address women’s health issues

1992 – First mission statement and creation of the ED position

1993 – 32 languages served in Interpretation Services; start of mental health screening

1994 – Services begin for the non-insured

1995 – Social work added to the list of agency services

1996 – Start of multicultural service provisionReport insert - 25th anniversary timeline1 - Copy (2)

1998 – Develop an approach to food security issues and food access programming

1999 – Launch of Legal Services; Special clinic for Kosovar refugees established

2000 – Board of Directors commit to the “most disadvantaged” immigrants and refugees, causing a shift in the focus of clients served

2001 – Every Child’s Right to OHIP Coalition formed

2001 – Accredited by Building Healthy Organizations for the first time (now called the Canadian Centre for Accreditation)

2003 – The “Access Model” is developed to improve access in under serviced areas

2003 – The first Peer Outreach Worker training held, the start of one of more successful programs

greeting-card22004 – Healthcare Interpretation Network becomes incorporated, Access Alliance’s Executive Director elected president

2005 – Launch of Peer Outreach Worker Training curriculum; Best Practice Report for Mental Health Services and diverse Communities Issued

2006 – Among Friends, a 3 year program launched to support agencies becoming LGBTQ+ immigrant and refugee positiveReport insert - 25th anniversary timeline1 - Copy (3)

2007 – Access Alliance changes its name to “Access Alliance Multicultural Health and Community Services”

2008 – Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) funds Access Alliance to have a robust Settlement Services Department

2009Greenwood Youth Clinic opens

2010 – Access Alliance launches its Make Yourself At Home campaign

2010 – AccessPoint on Danforth opens at 3079 Danforth Ave

Report insert - 25th anniversary timeline1 - Copy (6)2011 – AccessPoint on Jane opens at 761 Jane St

2011 – Launch of the Green Access Program and Green roof opens at the APOD

2012 – Access Alliance Language Services becomes nationally and internationally certified for Interpretation and Translation

2012 – AALS launches RIO (Remote Interpretation Ontario Network)2013 SpiritAwards Trustmark_Winner_Vr

2013 – NIWIC opens at AccessPoint on Jane

2013 – Access Alliance is awarded the United Way Spirit Award

2014 – SHY clinic (for Sexually Healthy Youth) opens at AccessPoint on Danforth

What We Can Do To Improve Healthcare Quality: #1 Addressing Gender Inequity

Harlon DaveyBy Harlon Davey, first published in A Patient Voice, June 2,  2014

As healthcare evolves, there will be surveys to identify gaps in the system where a patient is at harm. Data will be collected to ensure that our healthcare machine marches towards patient-centric. Data will be analyzed to identify where we are not being universal in our healthcare, which by my definition is what patient-centric should be.  All inclusive.

Data will generate results which then lead to recommendations based on the collective data of healthcare consumers. In order for the data to be relevant, for healthcare to hit the target of patient-centricity, it must be accurate. Accuracy is improved when we include all.

How many times have you filled out a form while waiting to see a Doctor, Specialist, or seek any kind of therapy?  Imagine that if every time you filled out a form and one of the first questions provides only two answers and you answer to neither.  Imagine what that it must feel like to be reminded every time you access healthcare that you are not on the list.  That you are invisible. Excluded. How would that make you feel?


When any personal information is solicited from a consumer of healthcare and the individual is asked to identify their gender, we must include options for those that do not identify as male or female. We are excluding a community that does not have a place to put their check mark. That’s not a very nice thing to do. A human being’s data is not being truly captured and any analysis then becomes inaccurate and services and programs are not designed to respond to and reflect the needs of the community.

I myself do not have the answer as to what the third of fourth or however many boxes it takes to INCLUDE ALL, however, I would encourage consultation and consensus with the trans community – and I apologize if trans is not reflective of community standards – it’s what I am familiar with at this moment, but I am not an expert. Consult the community, they are the experts, and come to consensus on options for gender so that all can be included.

This is an easy thing to do.  If you, in your capacity, design, print, distribute or collate patient information which asks consumers to identify their gender or you are in the position of filling out a form and observe this discrepancy I encourage you to please speak with, make a phone call or send an e-mail to the person whose job responsibility includes designing forms so that they will follow best practices and amend the template by September 1, 2014 (chosen arbitrarily as a starting point, I always figure back to school time is a good time to start learning lessons and making change).

To be treated with dignity. It’s your right as a patient.

If you work in healthcare it is your duty to provide it.

It’s the right thing to do.


Harlon Davey blogs about gaps in our healthcare system to bring about awareness and change, and to elevate the voice of the patient. 

For more information about LGBTQ+ and Trans health, visit the Rainbow Health Ontario website.