Women's College Hospital - Health Care for Women, Revolutionized

Jump to body content

Women’s College Hospital partners with Sojourn House to improve healthcare access for refugees

January 27, 2014

Barriers to accessing medical care can be overwhelming for newly arrived refugees. That’s why the Crossroads Clinic at Women’s College Hospital (WCH) recently partnered with Sojourn House refugee shelter to establish a satellite clinic at the shelter and provide its clients with easy access to healthcare.

“We’re very excited about this partnership and honoured in every way to be able to provide this service to the Sojourn House residents and improve their access to healthcare,” said Marilyn Emery, president and CEO, WCH.

The satellite clinic operates one day a week. Patients book their appointment in advance and are seen by a nurse practitioner on site, in a safe and accessible environment. 

“The impetus for the development of the satellite clinic aligns with Women’s College Hospital’s strategic goals and direction to provide access to primary healthcare on site,” said Vanessa Wright, WCH nurse practitioner who sees patients at Sojourn House. “This will reduce ER visits, allow for assessment and transitioning of individuals with chronic diseases, identify issues of public health significance and address the gap of primary healthcare available to residents.”

The satellite clinic allows refugees to receive healthcare soon upon arrival, thereby preventing illnesses that may consequently impair settlement or lead to health risks and complications.

“Within the first two months of opening the clinic, I have seen approximately 50 patients and addressed a variety of urgent health concerns,” said Wright. “The opportunity for close patient followup to address ongoing mental and physical healthcare concerns has proved to be very beneficial, and the opportunity to liaise with the staff at Sojourn House has been wonderful.”

Even though the partnership was formed just a few months ago, the feedback has already been very positive. Sojourn House hopes these services can be extended to not just the current residents, but also to former residents who may require healthcare assistance on a drop-in basis.

“Our vision is that we can work with WCH and grow the program so that in the future we can hopefully bring on a second nurse practitioner and provide these services on more than just one day a week,” said Debbie Hill-Corrigan, executive director, Sojourn House.

Sojourn House presented a beautiful portrait to WCH, as a token of appreciation for the services WCH has provided and continues to provide to the residents of the shelter, and the many ways in which WCH helps to improve healthcare access for newly arrived refugees in Canada.

Sojourn House is Toronto’s largest refugee shelter. The facility offers accommodations for 150-160 residents at any given time, and is routinely at a 98 per cent occupancy rate. Approximately 400 individuals find accommodation at Sojourn House annually in both the shelter and transitional housing branches.

To read more on Sojourn House please click here.

Sojourn House
Left to right back row: Gloria Nafziger, board member, Sojourn House; Debbie Hill-Corrigan, executive director, Sojourn House; Jennifer Dockery, director of primary care, WCH; Vanessa Wright, nurse practitioner at Crossroads Clinic, WCH; Dr. Meb Rashid, medical director of Crossroads Clinic, WCH; Heather Mcpherson, vice-President of patient care & ambulatory innovation, WCH; Alex Neve, secretary general, Amnesty International Canada; Dan Rutembesa, director of shelter & housing, Sojourn House;
Left to right front row: Michele Landsberg, board member, WCH; Marilyn Emery, president and CEO, WCH.
Jump to top page

Subscribe »

Want to receive WCH Connect at home or at the office?

Register your email address by joining our mailing list.

Connect Archive »

View issues from previous years:

  • Fully affiliated with:
  • University of Toronto

  • A member of:
  • Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)