Welcome to IMAGINE

IMAGINE (Interprofessional Medical and Allied Groups for Improving Neighbourhood Environment) is an interprofessional, student-run community health initiative aimed at promoting and providing holistic health care to the core neighborhoods of downtown Toronto.

2016-2017 Clinic Ops Applications OPEN

Posted on December 30, 2015 by admin

IMAGINE, U of T's very own interprofessional student-run clinic, is looking for new executive members! IMAGINE provides services for the marginalized populations of downtown Toronto (such as those who experience homelessness, mental health conditions, have precarious status, or new immigrants not covered by OHIP). This is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience working within your community, learn more about our healthcare system, and develop your leadership and teamwork skills.

We are currently recruiting for 5 Clinic Operations Executives.

Position Description: As a clinic operations executive, you will be responsible for the general operations and logistics associated with running a walk-in health clinic. This includes leading and managing a team of inter-professional students and preceptors, moderating clinic flow, tracking clinic data, managing clinic supplies and implementing new and innovative initiatives to improve the clinic. You will also be an integral part of the clinic executive body responsible for guiding the future direction of the clinic.

To apply, please visit: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1cuL7j4fNq8WtiynboRYHiitAB7G-4y5_X6cJHJdDYJ4/viewform?usp=send_form

Applications are due on Jan 8, 2016 at 11:59pm.

Interviews for the position will be held in the second week of school in January 2016.

University of Toronto Co-Curricular Record Eligibility: All volunteers are eligible to be recognized by University of Toronto for their involvement with IMAGINE.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at imagine.volunteers@gmail.com or operations.imagine@gmail.com
We look forward to working with you!

2015-2016 Recruitment Update!

Posted on October 1, 2015 by admin

IMAGINE is U of T’s very own interprofessional student-run clinic and we’re looking for new volunteers! IMAGINE provides services for the marginalized populations of downtown Toronto (such as those who experience homelessness, mental health conditions, have precarious status, or new immigrants not covered by OHIP). This is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience working within your community, learn more about our healthcare system, and develop your leadership and teamwork skills.

We are currently recruiting for several clinic and committee volunteer positions:

  1. Clinic Volunteer: Clinic volunteers (i.e. social work, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, medicine) work in interprofessional teams to provide healthcare services to our clients. Please note that we are also looking for preceptors to mentor and supervise our student volunteers.
  2. Community Partnerships Committee: The Community Partnerships Committee holds outreach events to better serve our target population.
  3. Health Promotion Committee: The Health Promotion Committee holds health education workshops at various local community agencies.
  4. Advocacy Committee: The Advocacy Committee promotes awareness, discussion and action about issues and policies affecting our target population.
  5. Communications & Public Relations Committee: This Committee is responsible for recruiting clients and promoting IMAGINE as a valuable resource in our community.
  6. Process & Quality Improvement Committee: This Committee is responsible for evaluating IMAGINE's current operating procedures and implementing process improvements where possible.

We are also recruiting for two executive positions:

1 Executive Co-Director
1 Finance and Fundraising Co-Chair

Interprofessional Education (IPE) Eligibility: As part of the Interprofessional Education (IPE) program, clinic volunteers are eligible for one green credit (2 credits) upon completion of a pre- and post-survey, three clinic shifts, and the group reflection session.

University of Toronto Co-Curricular Record Eligibility: All volunteers are eligible to be recognized by University of Toronto for their involvement with IMAGINE.

For more information about IMAGINE and the positions available, please visit: http://imagine.uoftmeds.com/involved/positions

For applications for clinic and committee positions, please visit: http://bit.ly/1PelXmQ

For applications for executive positions, please visit: http://bit.ly/1iN8qrY

Applications for all positions are due on Sunday October 4th, 2015 at 11:59 pm. All volunteers are required to attend a mandatory orientation and training session on Tuesday October 13th,from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at imagine.volunteers@gmail.com. We look forward to an exciting new year with new IMAGINE team members!

Get Involved!

Posted on October 1, 2015 by admin

IMAGINE is an interprofessional, collaborative effort directed by students but supported by individuals in diverse areas. Whether you are a health student, a practising professional, a policy specialist, or a financial supporter, there may be a role that you can play.

Please click here for a list of available student volunteer positions

If you are a physician, nurse, pharmacist, physical therapist, or social worker and would like to volunteer at the IMAGINE Clinic as a preceptor, please contact us at imagine.preceptors AT gmail.com. For more information, please

We are Hiring! 2015-2016 Clinic and Committee Volunteers

Posted on September 19, 2015 by admin

We are currently recruiting for several clinic and committee volunteer positions:

1. Clinic Volunteer: Clinic volunteers (i.e. social work, nursing, physical therapy, pharmacy, medicine) work in interprofessional teams to provide healthcare services to our clients. Please note that we are also looking for preceptors to mentor and supervise our student volunteers.

2. Community Partnerships Committee: The Community Partnerships Committee holds outreach events to better serve our target population.

3. Health Promotion Committee: The Health Promotion Committee holds health education workshops at various local community agencies.

4. Advocacy Committee: The Advocacy Committee promotes awareness, discussion and action about issues and policies affecting our target population.

5. Communications & Public Relations Committee: This Committee is responsible for recruiting clients and promoting IMAGINE as a valuable resource in our community.

6. Process & Quality Improvement Committee: This Committee is responsible for evaluating IMAGINE's current operating procedures and implementing process improvements where possible.

For more information about IMAGINE and the positions available, please visit: http://imagine.uoftmeds.com/involved/positions

For applications for clinic and committee positions, please visit:
http://bit.ly/1PelXmQ

Applications for all positions are due on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 at 11:59 pm. All volunteers are required to attend a mandatory orientation and training session on Tuesday October 13th,from 5:30 to 7:30 pm.

If you have any questions, please feel free to email us at imagine.volunteers@gmail.com. We look forward to an exciting new year with new IMAGINE team members!

Hala Alhasan and Daniel Yoo
IMAGINE Volunteer Recruitment Coordinators

It’s a catch-22 for healthcare providers. Because tuberculosis (TB) is a contagious disease and therefore a public health issue, an uninsured person with TB is entitled to medical care. Yet, under the current system the tests to diagnose TB are not covered. As Angela Robertson, Executive Director of the Central Toronto Community Health Centre (CTCHC) explained, “the diagnosis of TB doesn’t just walk in and present itself,” resulting in what Robertson called a “conundrum” for many providers.

This is just one example of the complexities of providing health care to marginalized populations in Ontario. Community Health Centres, including the CTCHC, are uniquely situated in their ability to serve clients who face barriers to care. For example, they are the only places in Ontario where the government provides funding to assist uninsured individuals.

The CTCHC shares a space with the IMAGINE clinic and both serve similar inner city communities in the Queen and Bathurst area. To learn more about the CTCHC, the IMAGINE advocacy team sat down with Angela Robertson, who has been leading the clinic for about two years.

A history of serving the community

The clinic has roots dating back to the late 1960s and the founding of a student health organization called SHOUT. It began as a collaborative between students in a number of health disciplines at the University of Toronto - a model similar to the IMAGINE clinic. The aim was for students to experience working within an interdisciplinary health team and to provide care to the residents of the Alexander Park Community.

Then in the 1980s, two community health centres - the Alexandra Park Community Health Centre and the nearby Niagara Community Health Centre - opened in the area. In 1982, they were amalgamated to create a larger community health centre - the West Central Community Health Centre. It was eventually renamed the Central Toronto Community Health Centre in 1997.

Although the clinic has evolved over the years, Robertson explained that it has always been targeted at low income, working poor and immigrant communities. The centre has also expanded to serve new priority populations to meet the needs of the local community.

Today, the CTCHC serves a significant number of individuals who are homeless or street involved, as well as those who are living with a mental health and/or substance abuse issue. Another priority population is the Aboriginal community.

In the earlier days of the clinic, the main newcomer groups served by the Centre were Italian and Portuguese. Nowadays, the local community includes newcomers - refugees and sponsored immigrants - from Mainland China, and Vietnam, as well as those from the African continent and Middle East.

Tailoring services to meet client needs

About 80% of people come to the clinic seeking access to primary care, and many face a language barrier in communicating with their provider. In order to address this, the clinic offers both in-person and over the phone interpretation services.

The CTCHC has a range of other services in addition to primary care. Harm reduction services include street outreach led by peers with lived experience of addictions, services offered in local shelters, safe use kit, and distraction and other programs for youth. Counselling services are also offered, including in Mandarin and Cantonese (the clinic does not currently use interpreters in mental health contexts).

Another component of the Centre’s services involves doing work related to population health. Health promoters work with different communities doing group work and community-building. For example, the clinic runs an Aboriginal diabetes program that is not simply focused on the disease but also on issues related to the trauma of residential schools, the trauma of long-term homelessness and poverty.

Health promotion work offers the clinic an opportunity to care for clients in a holistic way and “to respond to new and emerging issues,” explained Robertson. One of these issues is about workplace health and safety. A significant number of newcomer women, particularly from the Vietnamese and Chinese communities, are employed in nail salons. In order to understand the health risks and employment conditions associated with this type of employment, the CTCHC developed a collaborative program with the National Network for Environment and Women’s health. This is an example of how health promotion can be used to “identify trends, population disparities and/or challenges as a way to start small and scale up,” said Robertson.

Policy’s effect on clinical work

The CTCHC has seen the effects of changes to government policy on the way they serve clients. In 2012, changes were made to the Interim Federal Health Plan, which provides temporary health care to refugees, that reduced and eliminated elements of coverage for refugees and refugee claimants.

On the ground level this has meant that CTCHC clients who were once covered no longer are. “Resources that …we would use to cover other folks who were uninsured [now need] to be stretched to cover a new group of folks who were once insured,” explained Robertson.

Ontario has introduced a bridging plan to fill the gap between the cuts made by the federal government. However, gaps in coverage still exist because of the “complex bureaucracy” of determining which procedures are covered. Many providers are reluctant to provide care because of the complexity of the system, and thus these clients do not receive care. Some providers also question why their role should be to determine a person’s eligibility, when they have been trained to provide care, said Robertson.

Improving the quality of care for different client populations

The CTCHC recognizes that different client populations may face particular barriers to care. Recently the clinic has started to develop programming specific to trans clients. They are also improving access to primary care and have created testosterone kits (t-kits) for safe hormone injection.

Robertson explained that a huge barrier for trans clients is transphobia, both from the general public and the healthcare system. Providers may refuse to get a client’s pronouns correct, or may be uncertain how to ask. “Depending on how you respond…as a provider [that] could either be welcoming or it could be alienating and stigmatizing,” she said.

Another significant issue faced by this community is poverty. It can be difficult for trans individuals to find employment and good jobs, and thus they may not be able to afford all the medications they require. This is one of the reasons why the clinic provides free t-kits.

Improving care for trans clients is not simply about creating new programs or offering supplies, it is also about training providers and creating a welcoming atmosphere. The clinic has brought in trans access trainers to educate providers. They have also been raising awareness through the clinic’s different programs and services so that other clients understand that trans clients are welcome and that discrimination and stigma are not tolerated. The clinic uses visual clues like the rainbow flag and trans-friendly posters to create a safe(r) space for clients from the moment they walk in the door.

In terms of improving access to healthcare for trans clients, Robertson said that there is a “steady chipping away at the barriers.” Having institutions and organizations in place that serve trans clients such as the Sherbourne Health Centre, Rainbow Health Ontario and Trans Pulse are a “statement of change.” However, Robertson pointed out that organizations that are not specifically created for trans or LGBTQ clients must begin to make their services inclusive. Otherwise we will create “another kind of a ghettoization and/or a marginalization of trans clients to only areas or programs that are trans and/or LGBTQ specific,” she said.

Advocacy & the challenges associated with it

Robertson believes that advocacy is “embedded” in the work of service providers. “People who we serve in our organization come to us with needs and challenges that are the result of inequality either in income, in access to services [or] in discrimination… so therefore our work as providers is not just to respond to the symptom that clients present to us with but also respond to some of the root cause.”

The CTCHC is involved in advocacy efforts around a number of issues: cuts to the IFH, access to care for the uninsured, advancing harm reducing, income security and increasing funds for homelessness programs.

However, advocacy comes with challenges. In her 1999 book, Scratching the Surface:
Canadian Anti-Racist Feminist Thought, Robertson wrote about how anti-racist advocacy had been fragmented and bureaucratized by the state. Sixteen years later she said that it has become increasingly harder to do advocacy work, particularly in terms of public coalition building to protest government policies.

Robertson explained that the economy has put a strain on many of the people who are involved in advocacy, who simply do not have the time to mobilize. Another barrier is “advocacy chill,” a phenomenon that occurs when organizations that speak up about a certain issue have their funding threatened or cut.

However, Robertson was hopeful that today’s activists and movements are becoming more connected. “I think that the movements that are emerging and that are present today are really bringing an intersectional kind of perspective because there’s a recognition that globalization makes it so we cannot be single issue. I think there’s a great deal of promise there.”

Hopefully, this will translate to increasing health equity for clients at the CTCHC and beyond.

Successful Transition Workshop!

Posted on May 31, 2015 by admin

Last month we held a transition workshop for our outgoing and incoming IMAGINE clinic executives. Thank you to our PQI committee co-chairs, Anjum, Elaine, and Anand, for organizing and facilitating the transition workshop!


Some of the lovely outgoing and incoming IMAGINE clinic executives.

We would like to thank all members of our 2014-2015 executive team for all their hard work and dedication throughout the year. We would not have been able to do anything without you! For the new executives, welcome to the IMAGINE clinic team! We look forward to working with you all and are excited for another great year.

As part of the ongoing Community Health Series, IMAGINE Clinic's Advocacy Committee is excited to host an upcoming session on Toronto's affordable housing & it's impact on health. The event is FREE and is open to both students & community members.

We are delighted to have ...

Tara Pearcey (Occupational Therapist) & Reena Sirohi (Social Worker) from the Center of Addictions & Mental Health's Social Determinants of Health Unit

and

Hugh Lawson (Director of Strategic Planning & Stakeholder Relations) from City of Toronto's Community Housing Office come speak with us.

Complimentary pizza dinner & light refreshments will be served.

Reserve a spot & dinner at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/JJ7H772

Drop ins are welcome!

WHEN: April 8th,2015
TIME: 5:30-7:30 pm
PLACE: 500 University, Room 235



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2015-16 Recruitment Update!

Posted on March 26, 2015 by admin

If you are interested in getting involved with IMAGINE it's not too late! We have extended the deadline for the following positions:

To apply, click linked removed

Applications are due on Tuesday March 31st, 2015 at 11:59pm.


For those that have already applied, thank you for your interest in IMAGINE! We are reviewing applications and applicants should receive an email shortly from a member of the IMAGINE executive team. For any questions, feel free to contact imagine.volunteers AT gmail.com.

We're Recruiting!

Posted on March 9, 2015 by admin

IMAGINE, U of T's very own interprofessional student-run clinic is looking for new executive members and summer clinic volunteers! This is a great opportunity to gain valuable experience working within your community, learn more about our healthcare system, and develop your leadership and teamwork skills.

Learn more about IMAGINE by clicking here.

We are currently recruiting for the following positions:

  • Clinic Volunteers
  • Advocacy Co-Chairs (2)
  • Communications and Public Relations Co-Chairs (2)
  • Finance and Fundraising Co-Chair (1)
  • Health Promotion Co-Chairs (2)
  • Preceptor Recruitment Co-Chairs (2)
  • Process and Quality Improvement Co-Chair (1)
  • Volunteer Recruitment Co-Chair (1)
  • Occupational Therapy Representative (1)
  • Physiotherapy Representative (1)

For position descriptions, click here.

To apply for executive positions, click linked removed
To apply for clinic volunteer positions, click linked removed

Applications are due on Friday March 20th, 2015 at 11:59pm.
Successful clinic volunteer applicants will be notified via email.
Successful executive applicants will be contacted for interviews.

University of Toronto Co-Curricular Record Eligibility: All volunteers are eligible to be recognized by University of Toronto for their involvement with IMAGINE.

If you have any questions about the application process, please feel free to email us at imagine.volunteers AT gmail.com.

We look forward to working with you!

Angel Seganathy and Minha Lee
IMAGINE Volunteer Recruitment Coordinators

Health Lecture Series - Meet the Dream Team!

Posted on March 9, 2015 by imagine.advocacy

Come out this Thursday and meet The Dream Team! The Dream Team is a group of individuals who have personally experienced living with mental illness and homelessness. They now use their stories as a way to educate others about the challenges facing these communities, and to advocate for more supportive housing and better public services. Four members of the Dream Team will be sharing their stories with us on Thursday evening, followed by an open discussion and Q&A.

This event is FREE and open to the public. There will be punch and pie.

DATE: Thursday, March 12
TIME: 5PM-7PM
PLACE:500 University Ave, Room 235

This event is part of an ongoing Community Health Series sponsored by IMAGINE, UofT's student-led community health clinic. For more information, visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/1692107897683518/

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