Scarborough clinic helps address ‘health poverty’

News Jun 10, 2015 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

There will be 113 little flags in the front room of the Centre this weekend, and each flag stands for at least one story starting with feelings of fear, embarassment and desperation.

These are the country flags of thousands of newcomers who had no medical insurance in Toronto - rejected refugee claiments, immigrants so new they didn’t qualify yet, temporary workers, undocumented people.

All unwanted by a medical system that wasn’t paid to take care of them.

The volunteer clinic in Scarborough which did give them care finally has, after 15 years, a good base from which to work on a problem most of us never thought about.

“This problem found us,” said Dr. Paul Caulford, a family physician who started the clinic in a church basement with Jennifer D’Andrade, a public health nurse.

They thought governments would fix the problem, but instead the clinic got busier.

Cuts to federal care for refugee claimants in 2012 hit it like a tsunami, Caulford recalled, but the volunteers stuck by their goal: give these new Canadians health care, so they can have a fighting chance.

“What sense does it make to leave them unhealthy? It leaves Canada unhealthy,” Caulford said last week at the Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care.

The former manse of Knox Presbyterian Church at 4158 Sheppard Ave. E., the CCRIHC (www.ccrihc.ca) is the latest incarnation of the volunteer clinic, and it hosts its first open house this weekend.

It was D’Andrade who noticed it, a house on a TTC route west of Midland Avenue, visible, homey, unintimidating. The sort of place the volunteers had wanted for years.

As several people nearby used tools to assemble Ikea furniture, Caulford praised the building’s warmth, and “the dignity of it.”

Behind the clinic’s latest flag, that of Uruguay, is the story of an elderly couple from that country, here for 10 years as grandparents.

They clean offices, pay taxes, but the man has lymphoma, a treatable cancer, and recently needed an MRI scan, for which he must pay $1,000.

Diana Nelson, the clinic’s former operations manager, remembered seeing the couple walk into the clinic, which is presently on Markham Road. They just looked frightened, she said.

Sometimes another form of help - such as the infant car seats needed by a young couple from Afghanistan who arrived in Canada with no coverage, the woman pregnant with twins - is as important to the patients as any medical care.

That couple had also brought a young boy, the man’s cousin, shot multiple times in an attack that had killed his immediate family.

“You can’t help but be moved by the struggles that these families face,” said Anita Francis, a registered nurse and a clinic volunteer for four years.

Francis knows some people think the clinic’s patients are “looking for a free ride.” She’s seen how grateful they are, how eager to come back and offer help when they can.

“They’re just glad to be safe. They can’t wait to be self-sufficient.”

A group of teachers bring toys. Doctors donate pharmaceuticals and dressings. Some people bring food.

“We somehow have a mini-food bank,” said Nelson.

As the CCRIHC, which has applied for charitable status, the clinic will provide not just medical and dental care but services ranging from foot care and literacy to midwifery and a pediatric outreach program, trying to reach not just the uninsured of Toronto but what Caulford calls the underinsured.

“There’s a new poverty in Canada called health poverty,” he said. “This is a medical bank to help health poverty.”

The converted manse can open because a $100,000 planned donation from the Rotary Club of Scarborough, representing 14 years of August holiday Ribfest proceeds and legacies from former Rotarians, paid for equipment and fixtures and furnishings.

Last week, several members said the clinic is an excellent fit for the club’s “Service Above Self” motto.

One, Gene Burns, said he toured the clinic “to check’em out, see if they’re real. The more I experienced, the more impressed I became.”

The open house is from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 12, and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 and on Sunday, June 14.

Scarborough clinic helps address ‘health poverty’

New home set to open for health clinic treating refugees and the underinsured

News Jun 10, 2015 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

There will be 113 little flags in the front room of the Centre this weekend, and each flag stands for at least one story starting with feelings of fear, embarassment and desperation.

These are the country flags of thousands of newcomers who had no medical insurance in Toronto - rejected refugee claiments, immigrants so new they didn’t qualify yet, temporary workers, undocumented people.

All unwanted by a medical system that wasn’t paid to take care of them.

The volunteer clinic in Scarborough which did give them care finally has, after 15 years, a good base from which to work on a problem most of us never thought about.

“This problem found us,” said Dr. Paul Caulford, a family physician who started the clinic in a church basement with Jennifer D’Andrade, a public health nurse.

They thought governments would fix the problem, but instead the clinic got busier.

Cuts to federal care for refugee claimants in 2012 hit it like a tsunami, Caulford recalled, but the volunteers stuck by their goal: give these new Canadians health care, so they can have a fighting chance.

“What sense does it make to leave them unhealthy? It leaves Canada unhealthy,” Caulford said last week at the Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care.

The former manse of Knox Presbyterian Church at 4158 Sheppard Ave. E., the CCRIHC (www.ccrihc.ca) is the latest incarnation of the volunteer clinic, and it hosts its first open house this weekend.

It was D’Andrade who noticed it, a house on a TTC route west of Midland Avenue, visible, homey, unintimidating. The sort of place the volunteers had wanted for years.

As several people nearby used tools to assemble Ikea furniture, Caulford praised the building’s warmth, and “the dignity of it.”

Behind the clinic’s latest flag, that of Uruguay, is the story of an elderly couple from that country, here for 10 years as grandparents.

They clean offices, pay taxes, but the man has lymphoma, a treatable cancer, and recently needed an MRI scan, for which he must pay $1,000.

Diana Nelson, the clinic’s former operations manager, remembered seeing the couple walk into the clinic, which is presently on Markham Road. They just looked frightened, she said.

Sometimes another form of help - such as the infant car seats needed by a young couple from Afghanistan who arrived in Canada with no coverage, the woman pregnant with twins - is as important to the patients as any medical care.

That couple had also brought a young boy, the man’s cousin, shot multiple times in an attack that had killed his immediate family.

“You can’t help but be moved by the struggles that these families face,” said Anita Francis, a registered nurse and a clinic volunteer for four years.

Francis knows some people think the clinic’s patients are “looking for a free ride.” She’s seen how grateful they are, how eager to come back and offer help when they can.

“They’re just glad to be safe. They can’t wait to be self-sufficient.”

A group of teachers bring toys. Doctors donate pharmaceuticals and dressings. Some people bring food.

“We somehow have a mini-food bank,” said Nelson.

As the CCRIHC, which has applied for charitable status, the clinic will provide not just medical and dental care but services ranging from foot care and literacy to midwifery and a pediatric outreach program, trying to reach not just the uninsured of Toronto but what Caulford calls the underinsured.

“There’s a new poverty in Canada called health poverty,” he said. “This is a medical bank to help health poverty.”

The converted manse can open because a $100,000 planned donation from the Rotary Club of Scarborough, representing 14 years of August holiday Ribfest proceeds and legacies from former Rotarians, paid for equipment and fixtures and furnishings.

Last week, several members said the clinic is an excellent fit for the club’s “Service Above Self” motto.

One, Gene Burns, said he toured the clinic “to check’em out, see if they’re real. The more I experienced, the more impressed I became.”

The open house is from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 12, and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 and on Sunday, June 14.

Scarborough clinic helps address ‘health poverty’

New home set to open for health clinic treating refugees and the underinsured

News Jun 10, 2015 by Mike Adler Scarborough Mirror

There will be 113 little flags in the front room of the Centre this weekend, and each flag stands for at least one story starting with feelings of fear, embarassment and desperation.

These are the country flags of thousands of newcomers who had no medical insurance in Toronto - rejected refugee claiments, immigrants so new they didn’t qualify yet, temporary workers, undocumented people.

All unwanted by a medical system that wasn’t paid to take care of them.

The volunteer clinic in Scarborough which did give them care finally has, after 15 years, a good base from which to work on a problem most of us never thought about.

“This problem found us,” said Dr. Paul Caulford, a family physician who started the clinic in a church basement with Jennifer D’Andrade, a public health nurse.

They thought governments would fix the problem, but instead the clinic got busier.

Cuts to federal care for refugee claimants in 2012 hit it like a tsunami, Caulford recalled, but the volunteers stuck by their goal: give these new Canadians health care, so they can have a fighting chance.

“What sense does it make to leave them unhealthy? It leaves Canada unhealthy,” Caulford said last week at the Canadian Centre for Refugee and Immigrant Health Care.

The former manse of Knox Presbyterian Church at 4158 Sheppard Ave. E., the CCRIHC (www.ccrihc.ca) is the latest incarnation of the volunteer clinic, and it hosts its first open house this weekend.

It was D’Andrade who noticed it, a house on a TTC route west of Midland Avenue, visible, homey, unintimidating. The sort of place the volunteers had wanted for years.

As several people nearby used tools to assemble Ikea furniture, Caulford praised the building’s warmth, and “the dignity of it.”

Behind the clinic’s latest flag, that of Uruguay, is the story of an elderly couple from that country, here for 10 years as grandparents.

They clean offices, pay taxes, but the man has lymphoma, a treatable cancer, and recently needed an MRI scan, for which he must pay $1,000.

Diana Nelson, the clinic’s former operations manager, remembered seeing the couple walk into the clinic, which is presently on Markham Road. They just looked frightened, she said.

Sometimes another form of help - such as the infant car seats needed by a young couple from Afghanistan who arrived in Canada with no coverage, the woman pregnant with twins - is as important to the patients as any medical care.

That couple had also brought a young boy, the man’s cousin, shot multiple times in an attack that had killed his immediate family.

“You can’t help but be moved by the struggles that these families face,” said Anita Francis, a registered nurse and a clinic volunteer for four years.

Francis knows some people think the clinic’s patients are “looking for a free ride.” She’s seen how grateful they are, how eager to come back and offer help when they can.

“They’re just glad to be safe. They can’t wait to be self-sufficient.”

A group of teachers bring toys. Doctors donate pharmaceuticals and dressings. Some people bring food.

“We somehow have a mini-food bank,” said Nelson.

As the CCRIHC, which has applied for charitable status, the clinic will provide not just medical and dental care but services ranging from foot care and literacy to midwifery and a pediatric outreach program, trying to reach not just the uninsured of Toronto but what Caulford calls the underinsured.

“There’s a new poverty in Canada called health poverty,” he said. “This is a medical bank to help health poverty.”

The converted manse can open because a $100,000 planned donation from the Rotary Club of Scarborough, representing 14 years of August holiday Ribfest proceeds and legacies from former Rotarians, paid for equipment and fixtures and furnishings.

Last week, several members said the clinic is an excellent fit for the club’s “Service Above Self” motto.

One, Gene Burns, said he toured the clinic “to check’em out, see if they’re real. The more I experienced, the more impressed I became.”

The open house is from 5 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 12, and from 1 to 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 13 and on Sunday, June 14.