Four decades of health-care innovation marked at Etobicoke's LAMP CHC

Community Jul 21, 2017 by Tamara Shephard Etobicoke Guardian

The year was 1977.

Star Wars, George Lucas’s US $9.5-million space fantasy, drew enthusiastic moviegoers by the millions, who stood in never-before-seen queues the length of city blocks that coined the term “blockbuster”.

The Toronto Blue Jays played their inaugural Major League Baseball season.

The home computer made its debut.

And Lakeshore Area Multi-Service Project Community Health Centre, known as LAMP CHC, opened its doors.

It began as a health-care delivery experiment.

The Ontario Ministry of Health launched CHCs as a one-year pilot project. Initially, LAMP offered strictly medical services with two doctors and a handful of health care staff.

LAMP was one of Ontario’s first community health centres, a model of care that emphasized consumer rights, community control and commitment to social justice.

Many CHCs closed soon after opening.

Russ Ford, LAMP's executive director since 1999, credited Patrick Lawlor, then NDP MPP of the then-Lakeshore riding, with saving the centre.

“There was a battle with the borough to save the building,” said Ford in an interview in his LAMP office on Fifth Street.

“It was the first time people questioned medical professionals. We had a board of directors. The Ontario Medical Association was not in favour of it. Because of the community, LAMP survived to live to better days.”

Previously, the more than century-old building had been a school, a welfare office, New Toronto city hall, and a police lock-up housed in the basement. Antique, ornate chairs that were once the seat of the New Toronto and Mimico mayors remain in LAMP’s auditorium.

Today, it offers and supports a wide range of integrated health-care services, community programs and advocacy initiatives.

LAMP uses a multidisciplinary approach to health and well-being. It offers primary health-care medicine, a dental clinic, a foot clinic, occupational health, counseling, food access, housing help, social groups and income support.

YMCA Child Care Centre, an Ontario Early Years Centre and Family Services Toronto are tenants.

Once again, LAMP is contemplating its future.

The Ontario government has approved $11-million in grants to build an extensive addition and to “create a modern medical facility,” said Ford, complete with upgrades to all the building’s systems, including HVAC and an existing, temperamental elevator.

“We open the windows in February. The elevator is always breaking down,” Ford said.

But first, the city must make a decision about extending LAMP’s lease.

Its lease has now moved from the city’s real estate to its social development department for a decision.

Ford said he is hopeful after two years, a city decision on LAMP’s lease is forthcoming.

“We believe from talking with city staff that it is being resolved,” he said.

Forty years on, LAMP serves communities reflective of the city’s broad diversity of backgrounds and of gender identities.

LAMP’s Mississauga satellite location is serving a “very active need” among trans people for medical services, including mental health supports, Ford said.

LAMP’s Annual General Meeting typically draws 200 residents.

“People are interested in what LAMP does,” Ford said. “People say, ‘I have this problem. Can you help me?’ I’d say LAMP is a community hub with a range of services. People might ask, ‘what does adult literacy have to do with health?’ Adult literacy is linked to employment, which is linked to poverty, which is linked to health.”

LAMP has 250 employees, and serves more than 20,000 people every year.

It runs an annual $11.5-million operating budget through grants from The United Way, the city, Ministry of Health, LHIN and the federal government.

“We see people doctors don’t see, and people without OHIP in need, most of whom don’t show up until they’re in acute need. We don’t turn anyone away,” Ford said.

Recently, LAMP offered its custom-designed software for medical services to a doctor headed to work in her native Sudan, who said: “If you give us your product, you can literally save lives,” Ford said.

“There is nothing we won’t try. Many times, it has really worked out.”

LAMP also conducts healthy-living workshops in schools, on subjects including anxiety and stress, bullying, anger management, a harm-reduction approach to drugs and alcohol, said Jasmin Dooh, LAMP’s health promoter.

Ford said the experiment that was LAMP offered a “freedom to innovate. We’ve tried to keep that fire burning.”

Dooh agreed.

“We want to advance our model of care around prevention, around building capacity, around connecting people with one another that makes people well,” she said. “We do that by giving people the resources they need to manage and better control their health.”

Four decades of health-care innovation marked at Etobicoke's LAMP CHC

Community Jul 21, 2017 by Tamara Shephard Etobicoke Guardian

The year was 1977.

Star Wars, George Lucas’s US $9.5-million space fantasy, drew enthusiastic moviegoers by the millions, who stood in never-before-seen queues the length of city blocks that coined the term “blockbuster”.

The Toronto Blue Jays played their inaugural Major League Baseball season.

The home computer made its debut.

And Lakeshore Area Multi-Service Project Community Health Centre, known as LAMP CHC, opened its doors.

It began as a health-care delivery experiment.

The Ontario Ministry of Health launched CHCs as a one-year pilot project. Initially, LAMP offered strictly medical services with two doctors and a handful of health care staff.

LAMP was one of Ontario’s first community health centres, a model of care that emphasized consumer rights, community control and commitment to social justice.

Many CHCs closed soon after opening.

Russ Ford, LAMP's executive director since 1999, credited Patrick Lawlor, then NDP MPP of the then-Lakeshore riding, with saving the centre.

“There was a battle with the borough to save the building,” said Ford in an interview in his LAMP office on Fifth Street.

“It was the first time people questioned medical professionals. We had a board of directors. The Ontario Medical Association was not in favour of it. Because of the community, LAMP survived to live to better days.”

Previously, the more than century-old building had been a school, a welfare office, New Toronto city hall, and a police lock-up housed in the basement. Antique, ornate chairs that were once the seat of the New Toronto and Mimico mayors remain in LAMP’s auditorium.

Today, it offers and supports a wide range of integrated health-care services, community programs and advocacy initiatives.

LAMP uses a multidisciplinary approach to health and well-being. It offers primary health-care medicine, a dental clinic, a foot clinic, occupational health, counseling, food access, housing help, social groups and income support.

YMCA Child Care Centre, an Ontario Early Years Centre and Family Services Toronto are tenants.

Once again, LAMP is contemplating its future.

The Ontario government has approved $11-million in grants to build an extensive addition and to “create a modern medical facility,” said Ford, complete with upgrades to all the building’s systems, including HVAC and an existing, temperamental elevator.

“We open the windows in February. The elevator is always breaking down,” Ford said.

But first, the city must make a decision about extending LAMP’s lease.

Its lease has now moved from the city’s real estate to its social development department for a decision.

Ford said he is hopeful after two years, a city decision on LAMP’s lease is forthcoming.

“We believe from talking with city staff that it is being resolved,” he said.

Forty years on, LAMP serves communities reflective of the city’s broad diversity of backgrounds and of gender identities.

LAMP’s Mississauga satellite location is serving a “very active need” among trans people for medical services, including mental health supports, Ford said.

LAMP’s Annual General Meeting typically draws 200 residents.

“People are interested in what LAMP does,” Ford said. “People say, ‘I have this problem. Can you help me?’ I’d say LAMP is a community hub with a range of services. People might ask, ‘what does adult literacy have to do with health?’ Adult literacy is linked to employment, which is linked to poverty, which is linked to health.”

LAMP has 250 employees, and serves more than 20,000 people every year.

It runs an annual $11.5-million operating budget through grants from The United Way, the city, Ministry of Health, LHIN and the federal government.

“We see people doctors don’t see, and people without OHIP in need, most of whom don’t show up until they’re in acute need. We don’t turn anyone away,” Ford said.

Recently, LAMP offered its custom-designed software for medical services to a doctor headed to work in her native Sudan, who said: “If you give us your product, you can literally save lives,” Ford said.

“There is nothing we won’t try. Many times, it has really worked out.”

LAMP also conducts healthy-living workshops in schools, on subjects including anxiety and stress, bullying, anger management, a harm-reduction approach to drugs and alcohol, said Jasmin Dooh, LAMP’s health promoter.

Ford said the experiment that was LAMP offered a “freedom to innovate. We’ve tried to keep that fire burning.”

Dooh agreed.

“We want to advance our model of care around prevention, around building capacity, around connecting people with one another that makes people well,” she said. “We do that by giving people the resources they need to manage and better control their health.”

Four decades of health-care innovation marked at Etobicoke's LAMP CHC

Community Jul 21, 2017 by Tamara Shephard Etobicoke Guardian

The year was 1977.

Star Wars, George Lucas’s US $9.5-million space fantasy, drew enthusiastic moviegoers by the millions, who stood in never-before-seen queues the length of city blocks that coined the term “blockbuster”.

The Toronto Blue Jays played their inaugural Major League Baseball season.

The home computer made its debut.

And Lakeshore Area Multi-Service Project Community Health Centre, known as LAMP CHC, opened its doors.

It began as a health-care delivery experiment.

The Ontario Ministry of Health launched CHCs as a one-year pilot project. Initially, LAMP offered strictly medical services with two doctors and a handful of health care staff.

LAMP was one of Ontario’s first community health centres, a model of care that emphasized consumer rights, community control and commitment to social justice.

Many CHCs closed soon after opening.

Russ Ford, LAMP's executive director since 1999, credited Patrick Lawlor, then NDP MPP of the then-Lakeshore riding, with saving the centre.

“There was a battle with the borough to save the building,” said Ford in an interview in his LAMP office on Fifth Street.

“It was the first time people questioned medical professionals. We had a board of directors. The Ontario Medical Association was not in favour of it. Because of the community, LAMP survived to live to better days.”

Previously, the more than century-old building had been a school, a welfare office, New Toronto city hall, and a police lock-up housed in the basement. Antique, ornate chairs that were once the seat of the New Toronto and Mimico mayors remain in LAMP’s auditorium.

Today, it offers and supports a wide range of integrated health-care services, community programs and advocacy initiatives.

LAMP uses a multidisciplinary approach to health and well-being. It offers primary health-care medicine, a dental clinic, a foot clinic, occupational health, counseling, food access, housing help, social groups and income support.

YMCA Child Care Centre, an Ontario Early Years Centre and Family Services Toronto are tenants.

Once again, LAMP is contemplating its future.

The Ontario government has approved $11-million in grants to build an extensive addition and to “create a modern medical facility,” said Ford, complete with upgrades to all the building’s systems, including HVAC and an existing, temperamental elevator.

“We open the windows in February. The elevator is always breaking down,” Ford said.

But first, the city must make a decision about extending LAMP’s lease.

Its lease has now moved from the city’s real estate to its social development department for a decision.

Ford said he is hopeful after two years, a city decision on LAMP’s lease is forthcoming.

“We believe from talking with city staff that it is being resolved,” he said.

Forty years on, LAMP serves communities reflective of the city’s broad diversity of backgrounds and of gender identities.

LAMP’s Mississauga satellite location is serving a “very active need” among trans people for medical services, including mental health supports, Ford said.

LAMP’s Annual General Meeting typically draws 200 residents.

“People are interested in what LAMP does,” Ford said. “People say, ‘I have this problem. Can you help me?’ I’d say LAMP is a community hub with a range of services. People might ask, ‘what does adult literacy have to do with health?’ Adult literacy is linked to employment, which is linked to poverty, which is linked to health.”

LAMP has 250 employees, and serves more than 20,000 people every year.

It runs an annual $11.5-million operating budget through grants from The United Way, the city, Ministry of Health, LHIN and the federal government.

“We see people doctors don’t see, and people without OHIP in need, most of whom don’t show up until they’re in acute need. We don’t turn anyone away,” Ford said.

Recently, LAMP offered its custom-designed software for medical services to a doctor headed to work in her native Sudan, who said: “If you give us your product, you can literally save lives,” Ford said.

“There is nothing we won’t try. Many times, it has really worked out.”

LAMP also conducts healthy-living workshops in schools, on subjects including anxiety and stress, bullying, anger management, a harm-reduction approach to drugs and alcohol, said Jasmin Dooh, LAMP’s health promoter.

Ford said the experiment that was LAMP offered a “freedom to innovate. We’ve tried to keep that fire burning.”

Dooh agreed.

“We want to advance our model of care around prevention, around building capacity, around connecting people with one another that makes people well,” she said. “We do that by giving people the resources they need to manage and better control their health.”