Monday, October 18, 2010

New Health Care Team Leads Community Change

There is a new and different kind of health care coming to town - one that works to keep people well and unites local partners to develop healthy communities.  The Centre de santé communautaire CHIGAMIK Community Health Centre (CSC CHIGAMIK CHC) is one of 72 Community Health Centre's across Ontario that overcomes barriers to primary health care, making sure that unique community needs are met. 

Leading CSC CHIGAMIK CHC is David Jeffery, Executive Director, who is embracing his opportunity to help shape the future of an important organization.  With almost twenty years of experience in community change initiatives, Jeffery is dedicated to making CSC CHIGAMIK CHC a key determinant of community health.  "I believe in a society where prevention and education are the norm, where access to information and training is equitable, where reliance on specialists is minimized and where access to quality of life opportunities are real and available", says Jeffery.  "I have a vision for change, a tolerance for the chaos the change can bring and a desire for a vibrant, healthy community".

CHIGAMIK (CHEE gah mick) means "The Peoples' Place" where individuals and families are welcomed into a culture of caring.  The CSC CHIGAMIK CHC will deliver primary health care services within the Christian Island, Midland, Penetanguishene, Tay and Tiny geographic areas.  More impressively, it will also serve Francophone, Aboriginal, Metis and Inuit individuals and families within the broader region of North Simcoe Muskoka.

With an anticipated opening in the late fall of 2010, Jeffery has started forming the new health care team that will create this community change.  The center will be located at 845 King Street and will include physicians, nurse practitioners, a registered nurse, registered practical nurses, therapists, health promoters, a dietitian, a community health worker, a medical secretary as well as various management and administrative staff.  All professionals at CSC CHIGAMIK CHC are salaried employees, rather than fee-for-service (OHIP) providers.

Nicole Ayotte has been hired as a Nurse Practitioner and she has more than twelve years of experience to offer new clients.  "My bilingualism, my excitement with being part of a new CHC and my knowledge of our health care system is precisely what I bring to CSC CHIGAMIK CHC", says Ayotte.  As the site for the new health center is prepared, Nicole has been busy looking to develop partnerships with organizations throughout the community.

Melissa Maurice, Administrative Assistant, from a francophone heritage, shares that they want to develop strong relationships with the Francophone community.  "We are proud to create a welcoming environment for everyone by removing any potential language barriers".

With a staff that represents three cultures and speaks at least two languages, CSC CHIGAMIK CHC is well on its way of bringing the Board of Directors' dream to life.  "Our dream is to uphold every ones right to health care and break every barrier that we can.  Our dream is to have a francophone family walk into our center and hear French in the air.  Our dream is to have an aboriginal family walk into our center and feel their culture all around them", says Jeffery.

The Community Health Centre is a not-for-profit health care service funded by the Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, through the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network.  There is no charge for services and the budget is governed by the Community Health Centre's Board of Directors.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Social Squeeze

Social Media.  This seems to be idea that nonprofits think about in order to take their organization to the next level, giving them a competitive edge.  But for you to achieve your goals, you need to be strategic about what social media you use and you need to be focused on what you want to get out of it.  The idea of social media is great but it can soon turn into a billion little details to deal with; all of which add to your full plate of things to do as it is.  Some questions you might have include:

  • Do you create a Facebook page or group? 
  • Do you create a Twitter account?
  • Do you get involved with LinkedIn?
  • Who will manage your social media?
  • What do you do if you are a bilingual organization?
  • Do you involve your staff to participate in your online networking?

Of course, these questions are just the tip of the iceberg but I'm sure you get the drift. 

One exciting way to grow your forward-thinking idea into success is to consider hiring a Social Media Intern.  Qualities to look for are:

  • Good Communication Skills
  • A Passion for the Web
  • Writing Skills
  • Awesome Social Skills
  • Enthusiasm
  • Creative
  • Visionary
  • Flexible Schedule
  • Dedicated to do a Darn-Good-Job

There are definite benefits to hiring new talent to help you implement/update your social media.  Youth need to prove themselves and are hungry for the experience.  And, they are knowledgeable.  They've grown up learning this technology first-hand.  Even hiring a consultant would be a benefit for a lot of the same reasons.  The most important point is that social media needs to be strategic and focused.  Just like everything else!