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New community pediatric model launched in Vanier

The founder of community social pediatrics in Canada, Dr. Gilles Julien, and Sophie Grégoire Trudeau visited the Vanier Community Service Centre (Vanier CSC) today to celebrate the launch of the Vanier Social Pediatric Hub, a partnership of Vanier CSC, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO), Hôpital Montfort, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre (SHCHC) and numerous other community child and youth service organizations.

Over the last two decades, Dr. Julien has proven the effectiveness of his approach in Montreal, where his pediatric clinics in underserved and high-needs neighbourhoods deliver comprehensive health and social care. The goal of social pediatrics is that children and youth reach their full potential by addressing the needs and human rights of the whole child within their family and community — with children, youth and their families as active participants.

The Vanier Social Pediatric Hub is the first of its kind in Ontario to be based on Dr. Julien’s model, as well as the first outside Quebec. Its core team includes a nurse practitioner, social worker, receptionist and pediatricians who work closely with existing Vanier CSC social services, including: legal, immigration, employment and food bank services; wellness programs; and other child, youth and family supports.

Numerous partners are offering services on site, including: Centre psychosocial, Crossroads Children's Centre, Youth Services Bureau of Ottawa, Rideauwood Addiction and Family Services, First Words and Orkidstra.

The Vanier Social Pediatric Hub is supported by a three-year $679,917 grant through the Government of Ontario’s Local Poverty Reduction Fund (LPRF).

“The services offered at the Vanier Social Pediatric Hub will build on this community’s strengths to lift families up,” says Nathalie Des Rosiers, MPP for Ottawa-Vanier. “It will offer a continuum of care and supports tailored to fit families’ needs by addressing the full range of social determinants of health. Our government is proud to be investing in innovative local initiatives that will allow us to build relevant experience-based knowledge to inform best practice in poverty reduction programs.”

This investment by the Government of Ontario, which was announced earlier this year, is just one way the province is bolstering innovative local programs that support groups disproportionately affected by poverty. The Local Poverty Reduction Fund is administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Government of Ontario.

“We know that a child can’t live their best life if they are sleeping on the floor of an unheated apartment,” says Stephanie Fragman, the director of Family Services at Vanier CSC. “If a child is referred because they are away sick all the time and falling behind in school, they may well leave with any number of supports to make their life better.

“Perhaps that’s providing the support needed to get a proper bed or making arrangements for proper heating, which are not the typical outcomes from visiting a doctor,” Fragman adds.

Children and youth are also offered opportunities they might not otherwise experience, such as music and dance classes, or connecting with nature. It means providing services for the broader scope of a child’s health, well-being and development.

“We are thrilled to provide accessible, comprehensive and coordinated health and social care that addresses the needs of the whole child — in one location. This is a unique model of practice,” says CHEO pediatrician Dr. Sue Bennett, who is one of the forces behind the new pediatric program and one of its medical directors.

“By providing a broad range of health and wellness promotion services and activities closer to home, and by building on the strengths and active participation of the child, their family and community, we hope to reduce the toxic stressors in their lives, as well as the need for emergency department visits,” she adds. “We want to respect the human rights of all children and youth in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. We want to enable their talents and, indeed, their dreams.”

Families can be referred or can self-refer by calling 613-744-2892, ext. 1432. They must live or attend school in the K1L postal code.

Media contacts

Vanier CSC
Stephanie Fragman
Director of Family Services
o. 613-744-2892 ext. 1090

Paddy Moore
Media Relations
o. 613-737-7600 ext. 3536
m. 613-769-5553

Sandy Hill Community Health Centre
David Gibson
Executive Director
o. 613-789-1500 ext. 2506

Hôpital Montfort
Geneviève Picard
Communications Director
613-746-4621 ext. 2049

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